Smart horse keeps ‘breaking out’ of stall to visit dementia patients that fed him snacks

Meet Panda, a horse with a penchant for adventure and a love for carrots.
This isn’t Panda’s first escapade, but it’s certainly the first time he’s attempted to break free for a very specific purpose.

His human companion, Maija, once took him to a local dementia unit where he was showered with affection and fed carrots by the patients.

This experience left an indelible mark on Panda, creating a memory he would never forget.

However, Maija hadn’t taken him back to the dementia unit since that visit, much to Panda’s disappointment. This prompted Panda to take matters into his own hooves.

He decided to devise a plan to escape and return to the dementia unit.
Horses, known for their excellent memory, often remember experiences that elicit strong emotions. For Panda, the memory of his visit to the dementia unit was one such experience.

“Horses learn through a system of repetition, reward, and correction. They tend to repeat behavior that brings a favorable response and avoid behavior that evokes a response from the rider or handler,” The Vet Expert reported.


Panda’s desire to revisit the dementia unit is an example of this learning mechanism.

This wasn’t Panda’s first attempt to return to the dementia unit.

According to Maija, Panda had previously escaped to visit his “friends” at the unit and enjoy some carrots.

It was joked that while Panda might have forgotten some of his training, he certainly hadn’t forgotten the carrots.

On one occasion, Maija found Panda in the parking lot of a building.
It’s unclear whether this was the dementia unit they had visited or just a random location where Maija managed to catch up with him.

Panda seemed torn between continuing his journey or returning with Maija. However, his training prevailed, and he decided to return with Maija.

The video of Panda’s adventure was well-received by viewers who found the story unbelievable.


Some speculated that Panda might have returned because the dementia patients had forgotten his visit.

Others suggested that Panda might be aspiring to become a therapy horse, starting with the dementia unit.

Imagine the joy of the elderly patients riding Panda!
In a delightful turn of events, Panda and Maija were featured on New Zealand’s Prime News.

The news crew decided to film them at the dementia unit, allowing Panda to relive his cherished memories. And guess what? Panda was treated to carrots again, much to his delight!

Panda’s escapade certainly brightened his day.
When asked if Panda had jumped out to visit his friends, Maija clarified that Panda had sneakily slipped out of the gate.

This clever horse knew exactly what he was doing. Perhaps a constant supply of carrots at the stables might deter Panda from his adventurous escapades.

Or could it be the companionship of his friends at the dementia unit that Panda craves? Only time will tell.

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