If you met Liam Neeson, would you ever forget him? No? Neither did a horse.
While at the New York Film Festival recently, Neeson marvelled at how the animal who pulls his character's wagon in the upcoming Coen brothers Western, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, remembered the actor from a previous project. The horse pawed the ground on seeing Neeson. And whinnied.
"You won't believe it," the actor was quoted by Page Six. "I'm saying this horse knew me.
"He actually remembered me from another Western we made a while back. I love animals.
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"When we worked together before I took special care of him. I fed him treats. Gave him apples."
Neeson's touching tale is just one of several recently shared by famous actors who bonded with their neighing co-stars. Horses remember humans by their body language and the emotions they elicit, according to equine science journalist Christa Lesté-Lasserre. Positive encounters lead to positive memories, and negative ones lead to a grudge-holding horse.
"If you're talking about Liam Neeson, and he says there's a horse from a previous set that remembers him, I'm sure that's absolutely true," Lesté-Lasserre told the Washington Post.
"If you have a peaceful, gentle person who just evokes a kindness through the body language he or she gives, the horse is going to read that."
That certainly sounds like Neeson, a dulcet-toned man once described by Vanity Fair as "a mighty tree in the autumn of life". He cared for horses on his aunt's farm in Northern Ireland as a young man, according to Men's Journal, so it all kind of makes sense.
Russell Crowe wants you to know he is also chummy with horses. After writer Anne T. Donahue quote-tweeted the Page Six story about Neeson — "this is the love story our generation deserves", she wrote — Crowe then quote-tweeted that and deemed her comment "absolutely true".
"There's a horse, George, who I gave the speech in the forest in Gladiator on," he continued. "Years later he was on the set of Robin Hood and we would have a chat every day. Same with the white horse, Rusty, in Robin Hood, we chatted again on Les Mis. Lifelong friends."
Jeff Daniels was less lucky, breaking a wrist when thrown from a horse in filming Godless.
He admitted he wasn't an experienced rider.