You really can’t neighsay him
At the New York film festival, Liam Neeson recounted how on the set of his latest movie, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, a horse recognised him and began pawing the ground and whinnying. At first, I thought Mr Neeson was making a comment about his general level of celebrity and might be under the impression that all horses recognised him. But then I saw that he had worked with the horse before.
Animal psychologists confirmed that horses can remember and react fondly to people they associate with positive memories, especially where they have been given food. Neeson said he had talked to the horse and fed it apples.
I like this story on many levels. I like it when other species are revealed to have more sophisticated cognitive processes than originally believed. Cows can recognise friends in the herd, for example. Plus, in this fast-paced world, it is nice if any freelance colleague remembers you in between jobs, irrespective of species.
But, still, the real experiment is yet to be conducted: if Liam Neeson was disguised as Tilda Swinton, would the horse still recognise him?
Liam Neeson on a tour of a New York stables in 2014.