Belly rubs. hehe
Well, I've been fasting my Siberian Husky (Suka), a 6 year old female. I've been feeding her Primally (meat, bones and organs) from clean/wild sources, for years now, but in the past 10 months or so, I was over doing it. On zero carb, but in huge abundance, a Husky can certainly get fat!
So in the most recent couple months, I've been paying attention to portion, and forcing some fasts on her. I join in on the fasts as well. It's been good for both of us. She's lean, mean and chipper as all get out.
In that short time frame, I've realized how my dog, cats and myself have pretty much the same needs:
animal based nutrition
naps in full sun
Belly rubs. hehe
That's pretty cool.
I know that certain animal trainers(Specifical Birds of Prey) intentionally underfeed and effectively FAST their birds. This allows the birds to "Stay Hungry" in more sense than one. They keep their predator instinct.
They then give the birds a little taste of blood to get their predator instincts boiling.
I always though this was a good idea. Both humans and animals need to periodically be "Hungry" both for food or life's adventures. That is what keeps us in tip top shape.
I think you're probably right that fasting benefits carnivores and omnivores -- but as a horseman, I can tell you it is not appropriate for herbivores (at least, not for equines). Horses can develop serious problems, such as gastric ulcers, from regularly spending hours at a time without food in their systems.
Just more evidence for the file that we humans are more like carnivores than herbivores.
A buddy that ran some sled dogs, claims dogs don't use the food he gave them for fuel as we typically think of "fuel". He said they eat the meat, bones, fish, guts, organs, connective tissue to build, maintain, repair, replace their own bones, organs, muscles, brains, etc. Then they can draw on this "structure" for fuel when needed. So feeding was seldom a dire need, only when on long term, long distance, high capacity efforts (racing). But under normal free living conditions, the dogs would always be in repair/fasted/conservation mode, yet always vigilant for food to rebuild.
I suppose that makes some sort of gut sense in regards to carnivorous or carnivorous leaning creatures (raptors, canines, cats, humans, etc). It could explain how frequent feeding made my Husky fat over the fall and winter! She just didn't need the "fuel" no matter how appropriate (game meat, bones, organs, wild whole fish) it was.
Belly rubs seem universal..... how about among horses?
Hmm, belly rubs for horses...actually, most horses only tolerate belly-grooming because they've been intentionally desensitized to it, for the handler's safety. (Though they do love a good scratch on the chest or between the front legs, especially during shedding season!)
If you think about it, the underbelly of a prey animal is a very tender spot, both physically and mentally. It's not in a horse's nature to appreciate a lot of contact there.
I'm constantly fascinated by the differences between predators and prey animals and what motivates and "de-motivates" them.
I don't understand horses well, though heaven knows I've tried and tried, and THEY know it--from about a hundred yards away--and are all teeth and ears back.
You couldn't PAY me to rub a horse's belly--it would either be a death sentence for me, or a panicked runaway horse!
It is fascinating, gottaluvalab. Successful horse training depends on one's ability to see the world through a prey animal's eyes. Survival above all. Run or defend first, ask questions later.
I'm always amazed at how many people assume that horses are essentially big dogs with hooves, presumably because they've only seen trained horses working in concert with humans. In reality, as you've noticed, their way of thinking couldn't be more different!
And what's REALLY interesting, to me at least, is that when it comes to retriever training (my own passion)--which requires a lot of fine control and precision and near-telepathy (actually, subtle body language and lots of cues)--there are a lot of similarities.
I know a couple really good pro and amateur trainers that have horse-training shows programmed into their DVR's.
Speaking of retriever training... what a great day. I'm leaving the computer now, hopefully until dark!