Re: Thoughts on "Origins of human thought"

Lionell Griffith (
23 Oct 1995 14:44:31 GMT

Griffin <> wrote:
>Just a layman who reads a lot, responding to the discussion about the
>African grey that learned to recognize shapes etc.:
>Animals who live in close proximity to humans do indeed give one to
>think, and it's almost impossible not to anthropomorphize them.

Snip .... snip.

>Just wondering.

I have lived with and trained horses for fifteen years. I do hold
"conversations" with my horses. I read their body language and
they read mine. The conversations are simple and direct. Such
topics as "the weather", "the internet", "life, universe, and
everything" are not possible. But, it is about attention, respect,
trust, safety, comfort, I want, will you, ... The communication
is so subtle that even the spread of my fingers modulates the
behavior of a horse. Hidden cues all over the place. Thats in
fact the object of advanced dressage training: to be able to
cue the horse without visable motion.

I find that horses perceve, remember, and react. I do not find
the ability to "think" in the human sense. However, I do find
that a lot of people who have trouble with horses expect them
to understand the spoken word and to be able to reason as a human.
Anthropomorphizing is a common activity of humans. Especially
when they don't take the time to study the nature of the interaction
between themselves and an animal.