“Our aim was . . . to develop a tool to ‘ask’ horses whether or not they prefer to wear a blanket under different weather conditions,”
Twenty-two horses in Norway can tell you whether they want to wear a blanket or stick with bare backs, according to a new study.
This is, needless to say, a handy skill for anyone who resides in a northern nation that gets a lot of snow. But its discovery is also an important addition to understanding of horse smarts and learning abilities, according to researchers at the Norwegian Veterinary Institute. They taught the horses to use symbols to indicate their blanket-wearing preference — and the equines’ easy mastery of the task suggests they understood that the symbols had meanings that led to outcomes.
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