Most people believe that horses live in the moment. To a certain extent I feel this is a true statement. One only has to watch them interacting with each other, grazing, waiting for their feed or going with the program they’re used to each day to believe they do. However, I’m of the opinion that this is a somewhat misleading statement. I’m thinking they live in the moment but they never forget what has happened in the past. The events of their previous years shape them into the horses they are today just as our childhood shaped us into the adults we’ve become.
Case in point today is Grady. The other day he sustained an injury to his face below his eye. We don’t know how he did this but he came in bleeding with a decent sized cut. When my daughter went to treat it with medication he was terrified. She stood by his shoulder with her back to his chest and reached for his nose to hold his head. My daughter is a very calm and gentle person and there was no need for him to have a reaction that backed him into a corner with his head up and fearful eyes rolling in his head. Obviously, Grady was panicked by his rough treatment by persons in his past.
To remedy this situation she simply stood there quietly and spoke to him until he came over with enough trust to let her treat his injury. We know Grady was on the show circuit and ridden incorrectly. By that I mean he was yanked into an unnatural frame and pounded into the ground. He’s still dealing with leg and mental issues but he’s getting much better with proper training and respectful handling.
So the point of my disjointed thinking process is: yes, I believe horses do live in the moment but they remember things that don’t pertain to the moment they are currently experiencing. Which makes them thinking creatures and not simply livestock as uninformed horse people have told me over the years.
The question remains, are we being presumptuous and doing them a disservice to assign them personality traits that we know nothing about? How do we know whether a horse is thinking or not thinking while they’re grazing or living day to day with their herd? Without the ability to think/remember past experiences or using their instincts for survival I don’t think they would still be around after all these millions of years.
Until next time
Quote for Today
There is one respect in which beasts show real wisdom... their quiet, placid enjoyment of the present moment. - Schopenhauer