How many people really know the horse as he is?
A lot of people think that in nature horses are reactive animals always in an emotive inner state, searching for their leader to have guidance. This is false. Horses are sentient beings (meaning they can perceive and feel things) and become highly reactive and emotive due to human breeding, management, and activities.
In nature horses are cognitive and emotional animals, always thinking and reasoning. Each their own balanced individual, capable of belonging to something bigger as a herd.
What does “cognition” really mean?
Cognition is defined as “the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses”.
Cognition usually refers to the cognitive mechanisms involved in learning, memory, perception, decision-making and other mental functions. Cognitive ethology starts from the animal as sentient being (meaning they are able to feel and/or perceive things).
Equitation, modern or classical, more or less “natural”, using negative or positive reinforcement, has often seen the horse as a machine incapable of thinking. An object to condition and to control, this way depriving this animal of its natural cognitive abilities. This is mainly due to the early history of western philosophy that reflects a tendency to see animals as living beings lacking rationality.