Horses and their human riders can develop such a close connection that the two go into a state of co-being, according to a paper published in the latest issue of the journal Social Anthropology.
The phenomenon may be unique between horses and riders, since both move as one and often physically change over the course of the relationship to conform to the other. Intense cooperation is also key.
"Cooperation means attuning to each other," lead author Anita Maurstad of the University of Tromso's Department of Cultural Sciences told Discovery News. "The rider is often in charge, expressing, through body kinetics, what he or she wants the horse to do, but unless the rider attunes to the horse's body and mind, the horse will not understand, and unless the horse attunes to the rider, the horse will not manage to perform the requirements of the rider."
"So co-being is, on the one hand, about moving together, but also about being together on the ground, communicating as individuals, and in order to communicate, a shared sense of the other must be in place," Maurstad added.