Horses Can Use Symbols To Talk To Us

Submitted by: littlemissqt 11 months ago in Science

I'm good with being able to communicate with horses -- it's better than cats.

An excerpt from Science magazine:

Scientists taught 23 riding horses of various breeds to look at a display board with three icons, representing wearing or not wearing a blanket. Horses could choose between a “no change” symbol or symbols for “blanket on” or “blanket off.” Previously, their owners made this decision for them.

Horses are adept at learning and following signals people give them, and it took these equines an average of 10 days to learn to approach and touch the board and to understand the meaning of the symbols. All 23 horses learned the entire task within 14 days. They were then tested in various weather conditions to see whether they could use the board to tell their trainers about their blanket preferences.

The scientists report online in Applied Animal Behavior Science that the horses did not touch the symbols randomly, but made their choices based on the weather. If it was wet, cold, and windy, they touched the “blanket on” icon; horses that were already wearing a blanket nosed the “no change” image. But when the weather was sunny, the animals touched the “blanket off” symbol; those that weren’t blanketed pressed the “no change” icon. The study’s strong results show that the horses understood the consequences of their choices, say the scientists, who hope that other researchers will use their method to ask horses more questions. 
There are 7 comments:
Male 46,065
Of course they can talk... didn't any of you watch Mr Ed ?
Male 10,055
Let's see how this works.

~Squrlz sets up a two-foot tall signboard with three symbols, one indicating "Acorns, please!", one indicating "Pistachios, please!", and one indicating "A glass of Cabernet Sauvignon would be nice, thanks."~

*ahem* ~places both paws on first symbol~  O.O

...  ~time passes~

...  ~and passes~

... You know I'm not touching these symbols randomly here!
Male 682
Not surprised really.  Many animals have various personalities and can understand basic reasoning of events.  Humans on the other hand...
Male 5,337
They're pretty sharp.