In a recent study, horses from Norway have been trained to communicate with human beings on whether they’re hot or cold.
The study, which was published in the journal Applied Animal Behavior Science, revealed that horses are smart enough to carry out basic forms of communication with humans, even if it isn’t a complex vocal conversation.
So how did the horses learn to communicate? According to the study, they were presented with three special boards, each of which had a different pattern on it. The first had vertical lines, the second had horizontal lines, and the last had no lines at all.
The different patterns had a different meaning that could be used to express to their owner whether or not they wanted a blanket put on them.
The vertical line meant the horse was too hot and wanted the blanket taken off, the horizontal line meant the horse was too cold and wanted the blanket put on, and the blank board meant the horse was comfortable and needed no adjustment at all.
The horses were capable of pointing to the board the pertained to them with their noses based on their feelings, and were reportedly capable of this ability within just two weeks of training. All 23 horses that were involved in the study were reportedly able to learn the boards and their meanings.
In terms of the results, they seemed to pick the blanket when the outdoor conditions were cold and picked no blanket when the outdoor conditions were warmer, suggesting that they were recognizing the symbols and making a conscious decision to either keep or remove the blanket for comfort.
Although they can’t come right out and say “I want my blanket,” the horses certainly show enough intelligence to communicate their temperature problems in other ways. You can chalk this up for another bit of evidence that animals are smarter than we give them credit for.
Source: Tree Hugger