Toast and strawberry jam

In the past, a lot more people grew up in an agricultural environment than these days. You were introduced in a playful way to life on the land and the behaviour of animals. It was a life of hard work, with little or no time to play with your animals. They were mainly functional and the work with the animals had to be practical. 


Owning a horse is a precious asset that we cherish. In some situations this love for the horse is taken a bit too far. Many horses get into trouble because we start attributing human qualities to them, for example. Let it be known beyond any doubt: a horse is not a human. It is very important that we realize this every time. The fact that we are predators and they are flight animals does not make it any easier to understand each other. We call this anthropomorphism: attributing human qualities to animals. How often do horse owners try to convince me that their horse reacts jealous when they pet another horse in the stable. That their bond is so strong. Can they please show me, they ask. And there we go, on the way to the stable with an apple in hand. When they enter the stable, they first walk to another horse and give them a bite of the apple. And yes, their own horse enthusiastically starts pawing the stable door. “Look, you see!” The owner says, “He loves me so much.” Of course, or could it be the apple that the horse would really like? 


The pinnacle of this phenomenon was a dressage horse named Tygo. After talking to the owner, she said that she knew exactly how to optimally prepare her horse for a competition: “An hour before the competition I give him two pieces of toast with strawberry jam. Then he goes great! If I don’t, it really won’t work. Tygo just needs it.” When I asked if she had ever tried a cherry jam sandwich, her answer was: “Yes, I have, but this really didn’t have the same result as the strawberry jam!” 


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