A Question About Memory in Horses - The Horse Forum
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  • 1 Post By Lunakpalara
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-05-2020, 05:38 AM Thread Starter
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A Question About Memory in Horses

Hey there, good morning/afternoon/evening/night/whatever else it is for you (are you living in another dimension?)
I have a question.

On the 11th of March, I got an adorable new filly named Chamomile. On her first week with us, I would come to the stables every day to take care of her and work with her. We managed to get tons of work done! Fixed her little problem with turning to the back of the stall when I approach with a halter (she would do that at her old home too) within the first couple of days, now she comes up to me and lets me put on the halter. Fixed her biting problem. Fixed her fear of water and brushing. Even had a couple of good lunge sessions with her. Things were going great, we were bonding, she went from not paying any type of attention to me when I arrive to immediately getting her head out of her breakfast and coming over for a pet.

Until a complete lock-down was announced at the military base where I live (oh, the struggles of having a commander dad), and now I can't go see her at all. I got to see her a couple of times in the past few weeks, the first time she looked happy to see me, but after some more time passed and I arrived to visit the second time, for the first ten minutes she acted like we'd never met before.

I know it's a stupid question, and maybe she never remembered me to begin with, but is there any chance that she does remember me even after I've been absence for so long? I'm currently missing such a crucial year in her life; not only her first year with us, but her third year with anything (this is getting stupid haha). I'm supposed to be teaching and disciplining her, not leaving her to be fed and turned out by strangers only to visit once in a few weeks and give her a quick lunge session or some pets.

Sorry this is so long, oh my god. If you're reading this, hi, thank you for bearing with me throughout this whole thing!
And here's a cute emoji because I have been dying to use it this entire time and couldn't find the right place.
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post #2 of 7 Old 04-05-2020, 08:23 AM
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She remembers you, but there are any number of reasons why she would act differently.
Horses form habits, and they can get out of the habit of greeting you, and get back into the habit later.

I am sure animals have all sorts of reasons for behaving the way they do. For example, one of my horses never seemed to care about whether I showed up or not, but I was told that when I went on vacation, after I didn't show up for a couple of days the horse started standing at the end of the field and looking down the road for my car.

We also have a cat who seems to "pout" if we go away on a trip and come home again. She normally greets us at the door and wants to be held, but if we are away for a few days she turns her back and walks away from us. After an hour or two she is back to normal.

Some actors have observed horses remembering them for a long time if they gave them treats or attention on set.
https://www.theguardian.com/film/201...h-animal-stars
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post #3 of 7 Old 04-05-2020, 08:43 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the help :)
(Also, I just realised I said "absence" instead of "absent" and I'm dying xD)
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post #4 of 7 Old 04-05-2020, 10:24 AM
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She's probably just distressed at her routine being thrown out of whack. I'm sure your relationship will return once things go back to normal! Some things will just need tuning up. :)
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post #5 of 7 Old 04-05-2020, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you :)
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post #6 of 7 Old 04-05-2020, 11:33 AM
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They never forget. gottatrot explained it well

I had a big Hunter who was very nappy (barn sour) when he came to me. I got him out of that and for a couple,e of,seasons he didn't try it hardly at all.

I had to move stables and ended up near where this horse's owner / breeder lived. I rode him out and about and one day went to go down amcertain Lane and he really switched off and refused to go forward.

I later learned that the girl who had been riding him originally would attempt and fai
.
It must have been seven + years since he had been exercised down that lane but he remembered he didn't go down there!

Just to add - he DID go down that lane and back again time and time again until he got the naughty thoughts out of his head!
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post #7 of 7 Old 04-05-2020, 12:12 PM Thread Starter
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That's interesting! Thanks for sharing, I feel a little better about this now. :)
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