Horses Remember You, Even When You’re On-Screen

This study might support using your new Zoom skills with your horse next time you’re away from the barn.
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Horses Remember You, Even On-Screen
In a new study, researchers confirmed not only that horses remember caretakers they hadn’t seen in months, but that they even recognized photos of them. | Photo: iStock
When Liam Neeson claimed that a horse remembered him from a previous movie set, The Washington Post contacted me to ask me if it could be true.

You don’t have to be a science person to know that that horse could have remembered Neeson, even years later. Especially since Neeson loved giving him yummy treats. You just have to be a horse person.

Still, science clears up the doubts about this question and gives it a firm stamp of “fact.” Yes, horses do recognize people, as we’ve seen in this article and this behaviorist commentary, for example. And they can remember things for a long time, including each other, as we’ve reported here and here.

French scientist Léa Lansade, PhD, of the French Horse and Riding Institute and the National Institute for Agricultural Research’s behavior science department, in Tours, and her team have just taken this research one step further. In a new study, they’ve confirmed not only that horses remember caretakers they hadn’t seen in months, but that they even recognized photos of them

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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