It turns out that elephants aren’t the only large animals with exceptional memory. Panda, a Palomino Paint horse, not only has a propensity for escaping but continues to disappear and dash off to see the same group of friends he made at a dementia care unit.
If anything, it’s proof that horses, or at least this one, have an amazing memory and an ample appetite for carrots.
It was during the pandemic that Maija, Panda’s mom, took him to spend some time visiting residents at a long-term care facility. The entire dementia unit absolutely adored him, and they were sure to feed him tons of carrots. But his new friends must have made quite the impression on him. Or, at least they had gotten their hands on some super tasty carrots.
Interestingly, horses are extremely aware and have an excellent long-term memory. They can recognize faces, even after a lengthy separation, and pick-up on our emotional cues. They will even recognize places they’ve previously been, even if they were trailered while traveling to get there. And, they will become anxious if they’re in an area where something traumatic has happened to them in the past.
So it should come as no surprise that seven-year-old Panda remembered exactly where his new friends lived, and figured-out a way to get there. The escape artist has taken two unsupervised trips back to see them. And his mom had to wrangle him up and ride him back home again. As you can imagine, the gorgeous, goofy horse became the talk of the town, after that.
“The very first time, he opened his own gate that went into my backyard, down the driveway out onto the road. He follows the footpath, which is quite polite,” said his Mom.
Maija posted a video to her Instagram of her riding Panda back home after his second escape, and her followers were extremely amused. Many commenters even suggested that he may be interested in becoming a therapy horse. Everyone was wondering why he wanted to escape, when it dawned on them. He was chasing more than just camaraderie. Panda was in pursuit of crunchy carrots.
I guess dogs and cats aren’t our only four-legged friends who can be extremely food-motivated. Or perhaps he was attempting to answer a divine calling. Either way, his mischief is pretty adorable. Well, if you aren’t the one having to wrangle him home.
If you want to keep-up with Panda and see if he gets into any more shenanigans, you can follow him on his and his mom’s Instagram page.
Featured image: Instagram