|Question: Do horses like to compete? I mean many riders swear their horses love the competition and the crowds. I've heard people say "he just loves showing off in front of a "crowd", I don't believe that. I mean the horse can't really get the concept of a crowd the way we do right? That said many horses appear to like their job (e.g. jumping over a course of fences). I work with race horses. And some of them appear to love their work and excel. Many don't. They don't win many races either for that matter. What do you think?|
Answer: In reality your email would need much longer reply to cover all the points that your questions brought up, but I will do my best to present my reply in more concise manner. I also recommend that you read all four articles about instinct, which should help to answer some of your questions.
One could say that competition in life is the genetic or instinctive imprint of life, since the core of all life is self-preservation, and that not only on the individual or group bases, but also in the greater scheme of universal life, where the existence competes with nonexistence, or life competes with death, hence the philosophical concept of: "to be or not to be, that is the question"; or where the Bible, the book of life, speaks of a race and winning the crown of glory, the crown of life, by defeating death. Life is a never-ending struggle, never-ending competition. And so we find competition in all forms of life in all sorts of varieties, which then adjust to the particular environment in which the life exists. Since we train animals by manipulating their environment and their perception of it, we can then also manipulate their competition instinct, if so desired, in some more successfully than in others. This is why I say that there are no drugs that can make the animal perform better than the animal's own desire or will to win. This is often not only the matter of the heart, but also the matter of suitable training and conditioning, where we have successfully altered the competition instinct of the animal to serve our purpose, to run to win.
Regarding the question whether horses like to work or not; well, some do and some donít, as it does not differ much from people. Of course some people tend to either not understand it, which depends on their concept of work, or in most cases people misunderstand. First of all horses do not love anything, they either like or dislike, favor or resent, but that again most people will not understand because of their lack of understanding of the word love alone, hence the debates. The life is all about motion, and when not abused or in pain, most animals like to move, or better said need to move, hence motion in the animal's life is part of well-being, while the lack of motion presents the opposite, hence fit horses or people are either much happier or more aggressive than the unfit, though this is not a rule. In addition to that, the regular work gives the animal structure and predictability in its life, which in return gives the animal the sense of security and purpose. The horses that work receive food, security, repose and motion, hence most of working horses are content if not abused and not in pain. The manual work is not only good for the animals since it elevates them above the non-working ones, but it is also good for people, because in addition to that, the manual labor frees the human mind from the enslavement to the flesh, or nature if you will. And so, instead of using the term "horses love to work", the more appropriate and realistic term would be that many horses find contentment at work, or even "fulfillment", some more than others and some not.
Many horses are aware of why they are in the race, and many are not. To some it is competition and to some a "nightmare", hence we talk about horses being game or nervous or frightened, just like in people. And so in racing we talk about the heart of the horse rather than its mind, since "smart" does not win any races and often complicates the training and conditioning, as oppose the matter of the heart, which is much simpler since it is all about endurance and courage.
As far as the "showing off" by horses goes, well, that is purely the matter of humanization of animals, because animals have no concept of showing off, though it does appear to us like that. In this earthly array the "showing off" is purely human, because it has to do with pride, and mainly with beauty, which is pure vanity and the concept of it does not exist in the animal world. The nature is not vain, only humans are, hence not all natural, though there is reproductive attraction, which is another matter and has nothing to do with beauty, but in the world of human it does, because it is perverted. However, horses often want to be noticed for one reason or another, which their activities do not present when they are already noticed.
When it comes to the crowd, what they pick up from it is the energy of life that is in the crowd, which tends to energize them, hence most horses, not all, perform better in competitions than in training or run faster in races then in workouts, as much as people often do. This is why the horses that are calm and brave before the race, or any competition for that matter, often perform better than horses that are excited or nervous before the race or competition. The latter type of horse also tends to suffer from the so-called "double adrenalin shock", hence the use of drugs in cowardly horses, as well as in "heartless" people that tend to use drugs because they fear life. In racing, in addition to the presence of running horses, the energy of the crowd then energizes the calm horse to its peak performance, while the excited horse that is excited before the race often loses its mind and with it its heart during the race, figuratively speaking of course. In racing, the latter type of horse often tends to run faster in the morning workouts than in the race, or at least as fast as in the race, hence the term "The Morning Glory". For example, if such horse, when training for six furlongs race, works the half in 48 or 47 seconds it will more likely be the fastest work of the day, while if he runs that speed in the 6-furlongs race he will be more likely running at the back of the field at the top of the stretch, more likely 10 to 12 length behind the leader, depending on the quality of horses on the given racetrack. One could say that the energy of the crowd, as well as the presence of running horses, has to some point similar adrenalin effect on the individual herd animal, in this case the horse, as the stampede would have, though in much smaller magnitude.
Your observations are realistic but your wording presents miner misinterpretations, as well as humanization of animals, but not to the extremes, where the latter tends to happen once we infuse our emotions, self-interests and desires into realities and thus distort our perception of them, and with it the understanding of nature and the life within. In conclusion it would be fair to add that the humanization of animals sells to silly people, as much as sex does to the fools, where both are perversions of the world of humans, the perversions of natural realities of life, as well as spiritual, hence the world of humans is what it is, perverted. (perverted - having an intended meaning altered or misrepresented).
One should ask the question: Who would have the interest in the perversion of the truth or realities of life, and who would have the interest in the deception of human beings, especially through the so-called mandatory education so as to make them stupid, ignorant and unaware, while making them believe that they are smart and educated?
Written by Ludvik K Stanek a.k.a Lee Stanek - 02/12/2012