Question about horses - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 12-04-2007, 10:51 PM Thread Starter
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Question about horses


Some friends and I got into a discussion the other day about what a horse experiences during war. Obviously, they're not used for these purposes so much anymore, but how 'aware' were horses during battles of what was going on around them?

Were they simply the 'instruments' of the rider, simply obeying specific commands and not really understanding what is going on? Or did they actually 'know,' perhaps through training, something about human organized-battles, that there are friends, and enemies, and strategies and tactics to be followed and so on.

Dogs, for example, can be trained to recognize friend from foe, and can be trained to perform some pretty sophisticated (and sometimes improvised) behaviours in battle-environments with what resembles a kind of battlefield awareness.

Are horses similar? Thanks, we Iook forward to your responses...
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post #2 of 3 Old 12-05-2007, 02:12 AM
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I think the horses have to know whats happening around them but may not understand who or what or why the battle is taking place. I doubt that they can tell who the enemy is.....I doubt I could tell who the enemy is if I were in a battle like that.

Interesting question. Never taken thought before.
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post #3 of 3 Old 12-05-2007, 10:38 AM
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Interesting concept. There is a really good (fiction) book called Traveler I don't recall the author, I think Richard Adams, but its about Gen. Lees horse in the civil war, written from the horses perspective. Its great I highly recommend it. I know some horses were bred as war horses for centurys, you would think they would get some idea of what was what. I think that all creatures prey or preditor have the survival instinct. In a battle situation where survival is the ulimate goal horse and man will fight back.

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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