When it comes to animals, we often underestimate their memory and their ability to experience emotions. So when one horse lover repurchased a horse that she’d been forced to sell four years prior, she had no idea how her other two ponies would react. And as she nervously led the estranged equine toward the others, something extraordinary happened.
Sue Blagburn had been around horses her entire life. In fact, she had felt an affinity with equines since she was a child. And even though as an adult Blagburn ran a successful design and marketing company, her heart was always with horses.
So Blagburn began to rear horses on her land in Dorset, England. For her, the hobby provided an escape from the pressures of running a business. “I began to realize how being around horses was (and still is) helping support me and learn skills transferable to running a successful business, building relationships, and keeping me grounded, mindful and in my body,” the entrepreneur explained on her website.
Among the horses Blagburn had reared were Arthur, William and Harry. Arthur and William had been born just months apart in 2004, while Blagburn acquired Harry as a young horse just one year later. Of the three foals, Arthur and William were particularly close, having been born and brought up together.
So for a while Blagburn and her horses lived a happy life together. Indeed, the colts roamed the land on Mustons Field, while their owner lived in a house on the site. But things suddenly changed.
In 2008 Blagburn made the difficult decision to sell Arthur and most of her other horses as well. After all, the U.K. economic recession had hit, and since rearing and looking after horses can be expensive, the businesswoman decided that giving her beloved animals up was the best thing to do.
However, Blagburn’s life soon began to feel empty without her horses. She therefore made the life-changing decision to quit her marketing business and work with equines full time. In fact, her dream was to set up a social enterprise that would allow others to enjoy the same therapeutic benefits she had experienced interacting with her herd.
So, while Blagburn retrained for a new career, she sent Harry and William off to live with other horses for the time being. Eventually, though, they were brought to a field in the town of Firle in East Sussex, nearby where their owner was training. Then something amazing happened.
In December 2012 Blagburn had the opportunity to repurchase Arthur, and naturally she leapt at the chance. However, Blagburn was particularly curious about his reunion with her other horses. After all, how would Harry and William react to seeing their old playmate four years after saying goodbye?
“Would Arthur, now aged eight and a half, a thoroughbred sports horse that has spent the last four and a half years in a high-class private competition yard [British eventing], have any memory at all of the two hairy New Forest pony playmates he once shared his youth with?” she pondered in the caption of a YouTube video in 2013. “And likewise would William and Harry recognize that little thoroughbred guy who was once their best mate?”
So when Blagburn led Arthur down to the field where Harry and William had been staying, she had no idea what would happen. Naturally, she was excited to have the threesome together again. And the moment the horses saw one another was truly extraordinary.
Blagburn’s video of the reunion showed unsuspecting Harry and William chewing down on some grass as Arthur entered the field. And as Arthur slowly made his way toward his old friends, Harry lifted his head from the ground. Immediately, the pair made a beeline for each other.
Yes, as the pair galloped across the field to greet, it became clear that they had recognized each other. And when they finally got close, they nuzzled noses. Soon William also came over to join the reunion.
In the emotional scene, the beautiful horses gently touched noses and rubbed their heads together in an extraordinary display of affection. In fact, their reaction was not dissimilar to the way humans greet each other after being apart for a long while.
The three musketeers then proceeded to frolic around the field, their new home. Yes, they cantered and rolled around in glee as a delighted Blagburn watched. Describing the adorable scene, Blagburn said, “I just see horses. Horses that love each other and remember each other.”
“I knew they would recognize each other, but this is so much more deep than I thought possible,” she continued in the video. “Stomping and squealing are all forms of celebrating their reunion,” she observed. “It’s so extraordinary.”
Of course, the amazing video has been warmly received online. In fact, since Blagburn posted the footage on YouTube, it has been watched over eight million times. It has also attracted hundreds of kind comments from awestruck viewers.
“I have watched this video many times, and still it’s incredible to see the joy of this reunion,” one well wisher wrote. “Just watching them rolling, nuzzling and stomping was pure happiness. I hope their new life on Dartmoor is happy, I am sure it is. Thank you so much for sharing this Sue, a lovely lady and amazing horsewoman.”
Writing three months later, in May 2015, Blagburn said, “This magical horse reunion was the beginning of a new adventure for Arthur, William, Harry and myself. We now have a wonderful home in South Dartmoor where we run Adventures with Horses, Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning.”
So now Arthur, Harry and William share their amazing friendship with a number of people every day. And if their emotional reunion video is anything to go by, they can teach us humans a lot. After all, these beautiful animals have proved beyond doubt that they are able to feel love and emotions just like us, and there’s nothing more heartwarming than that.