Horses communicate with people through symbols

September 27, 2016

The scientists revealed that horses are able to communicate with people through the signs. During the training 23 horses with using of three kinds of signs, the researchers concluded that horses are very smart animals. The study published in the scientific journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

The scientists trained 23 race horses to point their muzzles towards one of three written symbols: i) a black horizontal line on a white background (means ‘they wanted a blanket’), ii) a vertical black line on a white sign (the blanket to be taken off’), and iii) a blank (meaning no change).

A few weeks of training demonstrated to the scientists that all the 23 horses had learnt to point to the correct symbol in order to receive a blanket. Surprisingly, but horses preferred different signs under different weather conditions. And if the animal feels all right, it simply chooses the sign that meant ‘no change’.

According to the Karina Bech Gleerup, Assistant professor from the Department of Large Animal Sciences, University of Copenhagen, the results indicate that the horses understood the consequences of their choice. Her colleague from Aarhus University highly appreciated the results too:

“Horses are really good at learning signals from people and connecting signals with consequences. Horses can easily distinguish between visual contrasts,”

said Janne Winther Christensen from the Department of Animal Science, Behaviour and stress biology.