I hear humans asking all the time if horses grieve when we lose a friend. Well, of course we do! But it might be different than how you humans grieve. When we are sad about a friend dying or leaving us, we notice that something important is missing. Sometimes we feel less safe because they aren’t with us or a little lost because they were always with us and now they are gone. This can last a few minutes to a few weeks until we figure out how to operate without them.
Horses don’t worry, though. I’m not even sure what worry is. I don’t like being alone. And I have friends that make me feel safe and cared for and who help me make decisions. If one of those friends is suddenly gone, I feel vulnerable. And I, horseinally, don’t like making decisions most of the time. So when I have to, it makes me anxious. But we do adjust and once we have figured out what our world looks and feels like now, we are able to just live our new life without thinking about what it was like before.
However, we do remember. So if I’ve been separated from a herd mate, even for years, and then we are reunited, we remember each other. We might test our boundaries with each other and see if we are both the same as before or if we’ve changed, but we remember. We do this with humans, too. And then we are really good at picking right back up where we left off.