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Leading on from Revenge…Do horses' have Memory?

Home Forums Lounge Leading on from Revenge…Do horses' have Memory?

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    A couple of years’ ago there was a discussion on The Morning Line around the issue as to whether a horse can "remember" falling at a certain fence on a certain course.<br>I clearly remember [as I am not a horse, :) ], Francome laughing at the fact that a horse would remember falling at, say, Bechers Brook, and on it’s return would refuse when faced with the same obstacle.<br>In fact, Francome looked on smiling whilst the discussion took place as if to say,

    "These guys haven’t a clue!"

    I have been led to believe that horses’ are basically stupid, ,  and enjoy jumping.<br> But surely if it hurt itself at a certain course, if returning to the scene of the pain, it would remember, and try and avoid reliving it’s nightmare??<br>To date I personally haven’t seen any evidence they do act this way, but do they? or are they able to?



    • Total Posts 1008

    I read a book last year which gave a list of the top 20 animals in terms of intelligence. The horse came about 9th which was below pigs and dolphins……but above Millwall supporters:biggrin: . Horses can remember individual people and places so it would not surprise me if they can remember certain fences that they have fallen at but I’m no expert in animal behaviour.

    • Total Posts 5146

    I see no reason why horses don’t have a memory of ‘place’ and in particular one at which an unpleasant experience befell them; or conversely a pleasant one. Is it simply course conformation suiting an individual horse that leads to so many course specialists or is it in some degree due to the horse being more willing to repeat an experience it enjoyed back at that particular track rather than elsewhere?

    There’s plenty of quantifiable evidence that horses remember falls and perform with caution and/or trepidation for a number of races afterwards and in some cases this is only cured by a lengthy rest from competition and a patient ‘re-schooling’ until confidence is regained. So if it remembers falls why not where they happened as well.

    Another interesting question concerns horses’ recognition of the passage of time. Spring horses and all that. Though I suspect it has more to do with hormone cycles than ‘I like this time of year’ particularly in Entires and Mares.

    I’ve long been of the opinion that trying to evaluate ‘intelligence’ and ‘sense’ in our fellow animals, and how it displays itself, is futile as we of necessity can only judge it by equating it to how ours manifest themselves. For what it’s worth I believe what sets us apart is our phenomenally well developed ‘higher intelligence’ (emotion, intuition, creativity etc) but at the expense of the more base ‘senses’ most of which, with the exception of eyesight, are poorly developed in us compared to those in our ‘companion’ animals viz dogs, cats, horses and I daresay pigs and dolphins.

    If only they could talk.

    • Total Posts 2067

    On the subject of memory and revenge, do horses’ recognise each other?

    Kauto Star deals L’Ami a beating last time out. L’Ami cruises up to Kauto Star in the Gold Cup (dream on) and recognises its Kauto Star. Would it then think it can’t beat it and not go past?

    Does Shirocco think: "bloody hell that’s Hurricane Run! He always beats me in training I can’t beat him!" Or might he think "Right I’ve got you this time ya git".

    Can horses recognise, remember each other and does it affect the race therefore?

    • Total Posts 3901

    LOL @ FSL

    I don’t see why horses don’t remember a place just as much as they remember a person.

    I reckon Beefy s**t
    s a brick when he sees Cheltenham.

    • Total Posts 384

    I’m convinced some horses are very intelligent. As Drone said, they can’t speak so therefore are  considered stupid. Shame.<br>As for recognition of each other, yes. When horses run together in the wild, they have a leader whom they follow (until losing prowess).<br>In racing, a front runner from the same stable serves a similar purpose, besides making sure it’s a truly run race. When a trainer does not understand why their world beater at home does not perform on the track, try running a near equal stablemate in the same race.

    • Total Posts 529

    <br>David Brady,

    Yeah, Beef Or Salmon wouldn’t even parade before the Gold Cup last year as he was so wound up. He was a 10yo with about 30 runs under his belt so I think that he remembered where he was and what had happened there in the past rather than just being unsettled by the big-race atmosphere.

    • Total Posts 455

    Horses definitely have memory – I once called Mighty Moose "a ropey old dog who’d never win a race" – backed him to win plenty each-way at 9-1, 8-1, and 15-2, topped up in running at 9-2 – he was clear approaching the last (4.40 Taunton today) whereupon he made a rick, turned towards me and said "up yours you fat b*****d
    ", stopped to a walk and came fourth. The swine!

    • Total Posts 567


    Yep, Mighty Moose must know quite a few of the horses’ I have backed :) <br> They exhibit the same disposition and attributes as good ole Mighty, except they fail to finish a race or even start one !!:) <br>..and as they trot back to the stable whilst the race is on in earnest, they appear to be glancing at me humming,

    "Always Look on The Bright Side of Life!"  :(

    They no longer refer to me as a fat, lazy, good for nothing B******, because I am….:(



    • Total Posts 4838

    I remember watching an experienced old campaigner, I think it was Carriage Way, win an apprentice handicap at Ayr. His rider didn’t need to touch him in the straight and he knew exactly when to make his forward move. He remembered just fine!


    • Total Posts 472

    horses for courses? it works doesn’t it. surely there must be some memory involved

    non vintage
    • Total Posts 1268

    Horses for courses is a real ‘phenomenon’, but the key question is why…

    I can see five main options, although I expect there are more than these:

    (1) The horse is physically suited to the course, i.e. flatness, turns, orientation, length of straight, underlying pace tendencies, etc.

    (2) The horse has an inexplicable affinity for the location – "Gosh, this is a nice place, isn’t it!"

    (3) The horse doesn’t travel well or enjoy travelling and the course is close to home

    (4) The horse has pleasant memories of performing well at the track and feels so happy when recalling these that it runs really well

    (5) The trainer and/or owner (and/or jockey, no doubt) like winning money at the course, probably either because it is close to home, or they are confident of their horses performing well there, or because their favourite bookie is there…

    I expect that it is probable that when horses display very clear or prolonged and exaggerated course preferences, there are a number of these factors at play.

    What I also want to know is why some jumps trainers’ charges seem to do much better at right-handed tracks. Possibly this is me just imagining it, but, for example, Kim Bailey and Henry Daly fit this bill for me. There are, I know, a considerable number of r/h courses in the midlands, but I’m not convinced this is the only factor…

    • Total Posts 4491

    Quote: from Zorro on 1:36 pm on Feb. 21, 2007[br]horses for courses? it works doesn’t it. surely there must be some memory involved<br>

    I’ve always been of the opinion that horses with good course records have them because the races there provide a certain test that allows them to excel there moreso than at another track where the emphasis is on something else.

    I certainly prefer this idea than Dobbin seeing the sign for Haydock 10 miles and perking up at he remebers he likes the Merseyside air.

    • Total Posts 3118

    <br>Surely if horses had good memories, a gelding would savagely attack anyone carrying a vet’s bag.


    • Total Posts 567


    The happiest memoirs would be by a stallion at stud ??

    What a Life……:)

    Very similar to mine…Not! :( <br>



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