Do Horses Have Precognition?

I talk a lot about “being in the moment” with horses, but I have not said much about something I’ve been noticing with my own horses over the years – precognition.

jazzie_buddhaIt may not actually be precognition, but rather, a heightened sense of the surrounding world and the universe. A sort of universal knowledge that few people tap into.

Horses know when things are going to happen. This is not to suggest that horses can predict the future, but they can know of impending dangers or events in the very near future. Perhaps this occurs in the horse world about the way it does in the human world, where not every horse is keyed in to this knowledge. I’d be interested to know what people think, those who are around horses on a daily basis and who have had them in their lives for a long time.

DSC_0276Horses can make their presences known to people through images and also just a sense of just being there, in a room with you, or occupying your head. I had been involved with horses for many years before this became clear to me. I think it required a certain openness on my part that wasn’t there in the beginning.

Like with all things, it takes time to develop. I expect some people also might be born with this ability – or clear pathway, it might be called, because it’s not an ability quite like knowing or learning fluent French.

The clear pathway, and the patience to listen to what might be coming my way from the horse, has begun to grow in me. In this way, horses can teach me more than I can ever learn from books.

Here is an example: my horses looked forward to my friend and colleague Ruella Yates’s visit. It became clear that my mare Zuzka wanted Ruella to visit with her first. But Zuzka made sure she took up the lion’s share of Ruella’s time.

First meeting
First meeting

Zuzka is generally a very aloof mare, and has never been particularly friendly with guests. She has become friendlier in the years I’ve had her but she is still not the one who comes over to the fence first. She maintains relationships with very few humans. I think it’s because she spent her early years before she came to me on a big ranch with many horses, and with very little human contact.

In the past two years I have noticed that Zuzka will pick out particular guests she wants to interact with. Then she makes herself very available to them when they come, confirming what I sense from her.

Zuzka and Ruella sharing breath, a special ritual not engaged in with everybody.
Zuzka and Ruella sharing breath, a special ritual not engaged in with everybody.

In the same way Zuzka picks up some sort of vibrations about who she wants to interact with, horses know when things are going to change for them. They will know when their owner is considering selling them, for instance. Years ago, when I was considering selling my gelding, he became ill so that he was not saleable. I spent the next year working on restoring him to health. By the time he was well, I realized he wasn’t going anywhere.

Jazzmine used to hide when people would come to look specifically at her as a potential purchase. When I came to look at her, she came right up to me and wanted to be seen and interact with me.

What do horses know about us that we don’t know about ourselves? Do they really know sometimes if someone might be better for them than someone else?

Horse people have stories of how horses know things. I love hearing them. Horses also feel things through the ground. When a horse shies at something that we can’t see, very often we laugh and say he’s spooking at monsters or at nothing. But that “nothing” can be a message he received through the air, the ground, the trees. Or, the awareness of an animal that we don’t know of.zuzka3_ruella

Once I was riding alone in an arroyo on my mare Opal. She suddenly began to jig and snort. I could see nothing, but I knew whatever it was was really troubling to her. We rode on a little ways and then on the edge embankment of the arroyo, behind IMG_0876some junipers, I saw a bear! Opal’s anxiety heightened (in response to mine but also in response to the sight of the bear!) but I urged her on, not wanting to be left in the sand as lunch. The bear shuffled away in the opposite direction, away from the arroyo, and we kept on going. Opal knew about that bear long before I did – felt his footfalls, smelled his distinctive scent. So perhaps it is not a precognition, but heightened senses that brought her that information and the warning to be cautious.

People have to make some tough decisions surrounding finances, so sometimes listening to horses can feel at cross-purposes with real life.

If we make room in our lives for the voices of horses, then hopefully horse and human – with their intuition and intellect – can bring their individual strengths to the relationship. This helps the horse to come halfway – or even further – in their understanding of what the human may need from them, closing the communication gap between species.

Related links:

Picked by a Horse

(copyright: Susan Smith, OrthoHorse)


Services: Bodywork: (Ortho-Bionomy for people, Equine Ortho-Bionomy): private sessions,  tutorials, phone consultations, Horse & Rider sessions, distance healing communication and gift certificates

Liberty Coaching: clinics, mini-clinics, workshops, private and semi-private sessions, tutorials, consultations: by appointment:  505.501.2478 or emailing  Scheduling now. Contact me for details.

I’m now putting together the 2015 Clinic Calendar. Let me know if you want to do a clinic at your location. Prices will vary according to location.


January 27-March 4 or 18, 2015Horses at Liberty Online Advanced will continue the instruction for those students who have taken an introductory online or in-person clinic from me.

The work builds on what has been taught in the introductory course with refining movements, body language, knowing what and when to ask for change, celebrating the horse’s gifts of engagement. Cost: $311

Payment for the Advanced Online can be made by check, PayPal or credit card. A PayPal button for each of those events is available on the home page of my website,

March/April Clinic in Santa Fe: Stay tuned for dates!

April 10-12 – Spring Liberty Weekend in Oklahoma Susan Smith and Ruella Yates, co-instructors. Contact either of us: or ruella@libertyfoundations for further details.

Who will benefit from this work?

All horses and humans, but specifically:

  • Horses who have not responded to traditional natural horsesmanship
  • Horses who have been frightened, abused and in other ways traumatized
  • Horses who may be aggressive or too passive in their herd situations
  • Horses who have problems with humans
  • All humans who may be puzzled about relationship with horses and want to deepen their connection.

Susan is a member of the Independent Liberty Trainers Network.


5 thoughts on “Do Horses Have Precognition?

  1. This subject is very important to me, Susan, as I’ve had experience with precognition in horses, as we’ve discussed. I hope your readers will share their experiences with this too. The results would make a beautiful book!
    For the Free Horse,
    Ruella Yates
    Liberty Foundations @ Spirit Horse Ranch

  2. My horse, Peabody, sent me a powerful “dream” about his death.
    I suddenly became tired one afternoon and laid down for a quick nap. I immediately opened into a dream of a giant homeless person laying down in the horse shelter. He insisted that he go across the street and sleep in the neighbor’s barn. I tried to persuade him to camp out in an abandoned house next door. When he stood up to move, I felt overwhelming fear, not that he would hurt me, but something scary was going to happen. He went across the street after refusing food and I went into the house to get blankets for clothing to keep him comfortable. I awoke then still feeling a deep foreboding and fear.
    two weeks later I noticed Peabody laying down and Phineas striking at him to get him up. I hurried out and brought an arsenal of healing tools. nothing worked and after a few hours of trying remedies and such, he laid down again. I urged him to get up and as he arose, I understood at that point what the dream was about. Phin and I looked at each other with a fear and knowing. Peabody went straight to the gate and struck it until I opened it. He calmly walked across the street and entered the neighbor’s barn. Fast forward a few more hours, after the vet came and went Peabody went into shock and I had him covered in blankets as he was sweating profusely. I took a nap as it was now 5 o’clock in the morning and frigid cold. when I awoke he was breathing directly into my face and thanking me for our relationship and honoring our time together,.i noticed he was soaked through the blankets and came back home to get dry ones from my bed. When I returned he had laid down and passed.
    he had always known I dreaded the thought of him dying and tried to prepare me while making his desire to pass in the neighbors barn known. He was aware of his upcoming passing and believe the neighbor’s barn was where the veil was the thinnest for him to cross through. The Vet told me it was colic, but I know it was the way he was suppose to go.

    1. If I’d had a story this extraordinary, Deb, I would have written about it instead! Thank you so much for sharing it! Perhaps not extraordinary, for those of us who listen to what horses are telling us, in waking or dream life. Your story is also very powerful in that your horse Peabody wanted to comfort and prepare you for his death. I also truly love the stories of horses extending themselves to us in empathy, as your story demonstrates. Your comment about him going to the neighbor’s barn “where the veil was the thinnest for him to cross through” is really interesting. I have wondered about that in the past, with people who can verbalize where they would like to be, or please open all the windows, to make the passing so much easier.

  3. Thanks for this wonderful post! So interesting—and great to hear of others’ experiences with this kind of thing.

    I have an experience that relates to this topic: A couple of years ago I needed to move my three horses to a new boarding facility where they would receive better care than they were getting. The place where they were living was at the bottom of a very long driveway. Cars, trucks, and trailers coming down that hill were not at all uncommon, so they were quite used to the sound and never reacted to any of it.

    While we were grazing near the barn, where we often spent time together, I had explained to my gelding Galahad that we would be moving him that day, and that a trailer would be coming for him and the other two later on. We stood there grazing for probably an hour, and I was not paying much attention to anything, but just enjoying the day.

    Suddenly, Galahad spooked and reared—something he almost never does. I couldn’t figure out what was going on until I turned around to see what he was looking at—and sure enough, there was the trailer coming down the hill.

    Not precognition, exactly, but certainly an unusual awareness of change coming. It was pretty impressive!

    Thanks for sharing your experiences!

    1. Thank you for writing. I think it’s important to do as you did, letting your horses know when a change is coming. It is a type of prescience that horses have, that your horse demonstrated with the trailer coming, knowing it was for him and his herd. I’m always interested in what they sense coming and what comes as a surprise to them!

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