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1) Are donkeys empathetic? 2) teaching long lining

This is a discussion on 1) Are donkeys empathetic? 2) teaching long lining within the Other Equines forums, part of the Horse Breeds, Breeding, and Genetics category

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        12-19-2013, 06:20 PM
      #11
    Green Broke
    Punks--All I said was there was no empirical evidence to suggest that horses can "love" or have any other emotion. It's been proven that animals don't seem to have a notion of "self", which makes me wonder about the other emotions.
    I'd say horses are "smart" and that they can "love" but, again, I was speaking research wise.
    But, ultimately you can think whatever you want, and so can I. XD

    EDIT--Darn it, I had an extra thing written out and it just went away.

    I wanted to speak also on the complexity of "empathy". I think it is so complex that most humans don't even have the ability to express it.. or they simply choose not to. Sympathy is the acknowledgment of another's suffering. So, we would first have assume that a horse is aware of what suffering is, can recognize it in another being, and then feel some sort of sadness for that being.
    Empathy not only hinges on the recognition of that suffering, but then the observer must consciously put themselves in a place to /feel/ what that other individual is going through.
    Is that something that donkeys, horses, or any other animal can do? Who knows.

    EDITx2--This video went viral a couple of days ago. I think it is relevant ^^

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=1Evwgu369Jw
         
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        12-19-2013, 07:00 PM
      #12
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Zexious    
    Punks--All I said was there was no empirical evidence to suggest that horses can "love" or have any other emotion. It's been proven that animals don't seem to have a notion of "self", which makes me wonder about the other emotions.
    I'd say horses are "smart" and that they can "love" but, again, I was speaking research wise.
    But, ultimately you can think whatever you want, and so can I. XD

    EDIT--Darn it, I had an extra thing written out and it just went away.

    I wanted to speak also on the complexity of "empathy". I think it is so complex that most humans don't even have the ability to express it.. or they simply choose not to. Sympathy is the acknowledgment of another's suffering. So, we would first have assume that a horse is aware of what suffering is, can recognize it in another being, and then feel some sort of sadness for that being.
    Empathy not only hinges on the recognition of that suffering, but then the observer must consciously put themselves in a place to /feel/ what that other individual is going through.
    Is that something that donkeys, horses, or any other animal can do? Who knows.

    EDITx2--This video went viral a couple of days ago. I think it is relevant ^^

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=1Evwgu369Jw

    I do believe horses are more capable of empathy than humans. I love that video - it explains it perfectly.
    When I'm upset - crying and frustrated - I go down to my barn and sit in my mare's stall. She leaves her hay and puts her head on my lap and lets me hug her face. On a usual day putting my arms around her head makes her claustrophobic and she moves away. I've tried faking it - sitting in her stall and waiting for her to come over, sometimes, when I'm not sad, she'll come and touch me and sniff me, but then leave again. But when I am sad she stays with me and allows me to cry on her, I don't know if she feels sad - but I do know that she exudes kindness when I need her too. She chooses to allow me to do something she doesn't enjoy because it comforts me, in a time I need it - but chooses not to allow me at a time I don't.
    I believe horses and most animals are more capable of empathy than most people. When I tell a human friend a problem I'm having they say "at least..." When I tell an animal friend they say "I'm so sorry".

    I think anyone who spends time with horses, without asking much of them, just being, would see how self aware they are and how empathetic they can be.

    We had a blind appaloosa who was pretty lame too at our rescue. We put our equally lame pony out with him. The pony knew he was blind and would whinny until the blind one found him and the hay, he would bring the blind on to the water. It was like our blind horse would say "I'm thirsty now" and our pony would walk to the water and say "MARCO!"
    The pony helped him find water and food, at no benefit to himself, in fact he lost some food because of it!
         
        12-19-2013, 07:26 PM
      #13
    Green Broke
    ^What you are describing, in my opinion, is sympathy. Which I think a horse can totally feel. It is looking at you, and saying "I am sorry that you are sad" or "I am sorry you are at a disadvantage." They are not saying "I can see and understand why you are feeling this way, I remember a time when I felt that way, and then suffering as well".
         
        12-19-2013, 07:31 PM
      #14
    Started
    I should add, not every horse is like this or chooses to show empathy to certain people. My Belgian for example doesn't care when I'm sad, he loves to be with me when I'm happy and laughing, but doesnt like to be near me when I'm sad. My pony doesnt care less how I feel. But my mare feel bad for me and wants to help me when I'm sad. I've had her the longest and spent the most time with her. My belgian had years of abuse and pain inflicted by hamans - its no wonder he doesnt care if we're not happy.
    But when my belgian knew my friend was afraid to ride him he was awful, side stepped and wouldnt let her on. A few weeks later I had taken a fall off a lesson horse, I was afraid to get on him. He stood like a stone and waited for me to get on even though he learned he didnt have to. He was polite the entire ride, more than ever.
         
        12-19-2013, 07:50 PM
      #15
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PunksTank    
    Zexious - I strongly disagree. I live with my horses. I am with them 24/7, there's not much they can hide from me as for what they're feeling.

    About a week ago our rescue lost a member of our herd. She was a mare born with us 26 years ago. She was raised with us and knew every rescue that came and went. She developed cancer (the same thing that killed the rest of her family). The horses at our rescue have seen lots of death, their response is always the same. In this case the mare got progressively more sick for weeks on end. She lost weight and couldn't sleep. At first the herd carried on as normal, some overtaking her in leadership, she slipped to the bottom of the herd. But as her weight dwindled I watched as her friends would find food for her, they would dig up some grass under the snow and call to her, when she came they stood over her as she tried her best to eat it. Of course we offered her a buffet of food, anything she would eat she could have, but she couldn't eat and couldn't sleep. On the last day of her life we knew it was over, we brought her to her paddock and let her friends be with her. They stood around her all day, she trembled and fell to the ground (the vet was at an emergency but on her way). Her owner and I stayed with her, holding her head out of the mud. The entire herd, even the ones in other fields were at their fences watching. All of them quiet, no one asking for food or fighting with each other, just watching. Her friends in her field let us be with her. The vet arrived and euthanized her, as the life fell from her eyes there was a collective sigh among the horses. Even our 8 month old colt who had only known her for two was watching with his head low. They licked their lips submissively, they shifted their weight around uncomfortable, and but they were all quiet. When we left to get the tarp to cover her until the backhoe arrived, her friends surrounded her. They took turns touching her body and nosing at her gently. They knew she was gone and they were sad.
    Our barn is usually loud with horses demanding their next feeding and their blankets changed or to come in or go out or their friend not being where they could see them - there's always a fuss. But not this week. The week went by eerily quiet. Even our obnoxious OTTB stallion, who was her over-the fence buddy for 8 year, was quiet in his stall, not pawing or sticking his head out to moose anyone who walked by.
    No one called to her - they knew she was dead.

    NO one can tell me horses don't love, have empathy, or have sorrow. It's just not true. If you live with them every day and you really pay attention - not asking things of them, not being with them just to perform a job, not living with them on your terms - just share your existence with them, you will see what they're capable of.
    I believe people choose not to believe horses are capable of sorrow, pain and loss because it would only make us feel guilty for what we put our animals through for our own benefit. But I believe there is a balance to be mutually beneficial. I will never tell anyone not to ride or work their animal - I would only say do it kindly and Ride with Empathy.
    Gosh this brought me to tears. I've seen horses do the exact same thing. It's really heartwarming.
    And my gelding has heard many sad stories, and wiped up many tears. And I just know he understood. He always does.
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        12-19-2013, 08:01 PM
      #16
    Yearling
    GH, I got a "Tough One" brand mini surcingle for under 20$. I think I ordered it off Amazon.
         

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