Horses Communicate Blanketing Needs

Horse Pointing at Sign
Horse Pointing at Sign, indicating it wants its blanket off.

Norway – Researchers at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences studied 23 horses of various breeds to determine if horses could communicate their blanketing wants to their trainer.  The horses were taught to nuzzle a sign hanging on the fence to indicate whether they wanted their blanket on or off.  The sign with the vertical bar indicated they wanted their blanket taken off, the sign with a horizontal bar indicated the horse wanted a blanket put on, and the blank sign indicated no change.

After the horses were taught the meaning and action of the signs, they were allowed to point to the signs at will.  Surprisingly, when cooler weather hit, most of the horses pointed to the sign for “Blanket on.”   During sunny days, they pointed to the sign for “Blanket off.”

Dr Cecilie Mejdell of the Norwegian Veterinary Institute, who led the research, told reporters with BBC News “I think our study adds to the knowledge on horse cognition – about what horses are able to learn and how they think.  Horses are often considered to be not very intelligent but this shows that using the right methods they can actually communicate and express their opinions and they can take choices that seem sensible to us even.”

Results of the test.
Results of the test.
Author: Dale Williams <-- Become my friend on Facebook! - Phone: 724-964-6773

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