Horses have great memories. They remember places, people, training, where the food is kept, you name it. And they remember for a whole lot longer than we do -- or so it seems.
Years ago I owned a gelding and a mare who were stabled together until a significant injury had me move the gelding to a barn where he could rehab and possibly retire. Two years of pasture rest seemed to do the trick -- he recovered. I moved him to the new stable I was working out of to put him back to work. The first day I led him out to his new paddock we passed one of my students leading my mare to the barn. Both horses stopped and did a double take. Disney couldn't have done a better job. It was not only obvious they recognized each other, but that they were pleased to see each other, too.
In his younger days, Eddie proved to me multiple times that once he figured out how to work a latch, he'd do it again -- immediately. He kept me on my toes trying to come up with stall and pasture latches he couldn't undo.
When not being entertained by it, I use this great memory of theirs in training. It's part of the communication ground rules: when I do this, you do that. The trick is to be consistent. I know I'm muddling things up when I'm not getting the same response from the horse.
I'm actually envious of that great memory. I could use it sometimes…like when I misplace my keys. Hmm…maybe if I was more consistent with my own habits….