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The Equine Play System

By Kathie Gregory

© Can Stock Photo/mariait

Play enables an animal to practice and project emotional states in safety, without intent. We have all seen play get out of hand, and that would seem to be the result of play turning into actual emotional states that take the mind out of the play circuit and into other emotional systems. These actual emotions then need to be processed and addressed, hence the change from play to seriousness. Play deprivation results in intense bouts of play when the opportunity arises. Panksepp (2014) states that the urge to play is “an intrinsic function of the mammalian nervous system.” In other words, it is a necessary part of a healthy psyche. Read more.

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