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[RC] Advice on mountain liions - k s swigart

Ed said:

Then the bear may look like a brown person,
?the cougar a deer to them so no problem, but
?if you go into a damp valley, where the air
?is still, a bear passing through 25 minutes
?ago is a threat.
My horses don't have any way of knowing what a bear smells like to be able to 
recognize the smell as?a threat.
They have had no negative experience with a bear so have no way of making any 
kind of connection between any unique sesual stimulus associated with a bear 
(whether it be signt or smell) and a threat.
Maybe horses have some "instinctual" fear of any unrecognizable smell, but if 
they do, mine have been sufficiently odiferously desensitized (their 
environments are RIFE with unrecognizable smells) such that they have learned 
to ignore as many smells as they have learned to ignore sight.
They DO have experience with coyotes and bob cats, so they do perceive anything 
that resembles a coyote or a bob cat (like a dog or a domestic cat) to be a 
threat...and they chase them. And I didn't even have to teach them that, they 
learned that from their other herd mates; although I HAVE reinforced the 
People with horses that have negative experiences with large predators may have 
horses that can connect them with a threat, but I don't believe that horses 
have an instinctual ability to be afraid of the smell of a bear.
I know that it is very popular to talk about horses' "fight or flight" 
instincts and that it is key to understanding the behaviour of horses and 
working with them; however, I disagree.? The fact that man has domesticated 
horses at all can, I contend, be attributed almost entirely to the fact that 
neither the fight nor the flight instinct in horses is very well developed.? 
Anybody who has ever startled both a deer and a mustang in the wild can attest 
to that.
Startle a mustang in the wild it will dash off about 30 yards and stop and look 
at you.? Startle a deer and it will disappear into the brush or over the 
Corral and corner a wild mustang and it will pretty easily give in and let you 
handle it.? Corral and corner a deer and it will break itself or attack you 
(btw: there are more reports of people in the wilderness being attacked by deer 
than being attacked by mountain lions).
In most cases, what little fear or aggression that your horse has instinctually 
can fairly easily be trained away.? Good thing too, because a truly fearful or 
aggressive 1000 pound animal would be virtually unmanageable.
Orange County, Calif.

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