Horses are considered to be skittish animals that are not particularly smart by most people. However, studies prove the opposite: horses have a very fine perception and can correctly interpret the body language of humans.
The popular belief that horses are not particularly intelligent has already been debunked by several studies. Equine scientist Vivian Gabor even goes one step further and says: “Horses are highly developed animals that can also learn abstract things and have a very fine perception.”
Horses see differently than humans
The reason for this false assumption is the misconception that animals are frightened for no reason by things that do not seem to exist. However, horses are flight animals and have a much larger range of vision than humans, due to the arrangement of their eyes. Therefore, horses can see things that humans may not even perceive.
Nevertheless, horses can hardly see in three dimensions. This means that they have difficulty judging distances and take flight as soon as they see something that could be dangerous. Especially movements from diagonally behind have a threatening effect on the flight animals.
Horses can overcome their fear
Vivian Gabor advises riders and horse owners to train frightening situations in the riding arena. This should start with a low stimulus, which can be increased in stages. In addition, it helps to let horses be accompanied by a kind comrade, says horse researcher Professor Kathrin contactor. It is important that the lead horse is higher-ranking so that it can act as a role model and the youngsters can learn from it.
Body language and energy of humans influence horses
Horses communicate mainly through body language and are therefore also capable of correctly interpreting that of humans. Therefore, the interaction with horses should be based on body language and energy.
In an experiment conducted by researchers, it was found that when the pulse of a human riding a horse goes up, the animal’s pulse also goes up. Another study proved that horses can understand the meaning of symbols by choosing the appropriate symbol for “blanket on,” “blanket off” and “no change” depending on the weather.
Horses learn through praise
If you want to teach a horse something, the best way to do it is through praise by voice, by rubbing, or by giving treats, for example. However, horses do not like being patted at all.