My Arab Legend being possessive of my group of students and pining his ears at another one of my horses, and teacher, Smokey. While all my horses are altruistic, Legend and Smokey were by far the most intelligent, wise, and willing to attune to the needs of others.
The Truth of Your Relationship
Species with complex social structures, such as monkeys, elephants, equines, dogs, and dolphins provide great examples of biological altruism.
If we stop and reflect on our personal experiences with our pets, I think we all can remember a time or two where our pet protected us, in one form or another.
Research shows that altruism in animals is both cognitive and emotional and is found when animals forge deep and meaningful relationships.
An example of this level of altruism can be found in the following video of a wild herd coming to the rescue of a mare and her newborn foal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4hY2EcAhjY.
I’ve experienced this type of behavior with all my animals, especially my herd of horses. Whether it’s jealousy over me paying attention to another horse; coveting me under their belly while we sit quietly or shielding me from a kick, bite and running horse, I know what it’s like to feel loved and taken care of by a horse.
Understanding this complex behavior is important if we want to achieve true partnership, where both horse and human desire two-way connection, communication, relationship, protection, and feelings of safety.