New research: horses smarter than we thought

15 04 2007

Come on Nemo bring the ball…., originally uploaded by syl_armony.

Groundbreaking studies into advanced learning abilities show that horses are capable of much more than many people believe, according to a leading expert on equine intelligence.

Dr Evelyn Hanggi, president and co-founder of the US-based Equine Research Foundation, says cognition and perception in horses has often been misunderstood.

She says that while public and scientific interest in the field has been growing, it is astounding how little research into advanced equine learning has been completed, considering the importance of horses to humans.

The foundation has been working to change that for the last 15 years.

Dr Hanggi says a comprehensive understanding of the learning abilities of horses is necessary to ensure that this species receives proper training, handling, management, and care.

“Traditionally,” she says, “horses have rarely been classified as intelligent, and even today, gaps in knowledge, myths and misconceptions, and limited research affect how horses are understood or misunderstood by the public, the horse industry, and even the scientific community.

“If the cognitive abilities of horses are misunderstood, underrated, or overrated, their treatment may also be inappropriate. Equine welfare is dependent on not only physical comfort but mental comfort as well.

“Confining a thinking animal in a dark, dusty stable with little or no social interaction and no mental stimulation is as harmful as providing inadequate nutrition or using abusive training methods.

“Therefore, it is in the interest of both horses and humans to understand more fully the scope of equine thinking.” Link

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Just over a week left!

15 04 2007


The next Blog Carnival will be hosted here on April 25th; that means I’ll need your submissions by April 24th, 10 p.m. EDT. I was thinking it might be fun to do a “five things” theme; what say you? Here are some examples of what I’m thinking of: Five famous black horses, Five breeds you’ve (probably) never heard of, and Five competitive equine world records. Some suggestions: five studs you’d love to breed your mare to, five people who taught you the most, five horse show classes you’d love to see (my best friend and I once came up with “Working horse show mother over fences”, to be judged on both jumping form and how well they packed the picnic cooler), five books you couldn’t do without, five movie horses you’d love to take home…you get the idea. 😉

Of course, submissions are welcome for any equine-related topic, and it needn’t just be horses! Donkeys, mules etc. are great too. Submit up to two posts here.

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UKers: tell your horse story on TV

15 04 2007

To celebrate the independent launch of Horse & Country TV on Sky from July 2, 12 people have the chance to produce and tell their story in their own television programme. Horse & Country TV is for people who are passionate about horses and also those who love, live and work in the countryside.

The team at Horse & Country TV want to hear from people of all ages, from all walks of life, and covering a full range of topics.

Your passion may be your horse’s rise to fame or it could be a celebration of a real local hero, a video diary of a day at your local show, or fantastic countryside initiatives happening in your neighbourhood.

So get your thinking caps on and send your ideas to Horse & Country, including information about yourself, your story and the reason you would like them to help you tell it.

Horse & Country will be running this competition during the course of the year and will choose 12 stories from the entries received. Their viewers will then be asked to vote at the end of the series, and the overall winner will receive a fantastic prize of a £3,500 Camcorder or cash equivalent. Read more

Related posts:

I want my HorseTV

Heroines & Horses

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Sabotage attempt on Spirit of the Horse show

15 04 2007


A Cossack rider practises before the Spirit Of The Horse event in York in 2005

Animal rights activists could be behind an attempt to sabotage a show featuring performing horses, organisers fear.

Spirit Of The Horse is described as a theatre show which features attractions including Mongolian stunt riders, Spanish dancing horses and “dance, singers and hilarious equine antics.”

The organisers of the extravaganza, which comes to York at the end of April, have been displaying posters advertising the show in shops and businesses in York and the surrounding area.

Free children’s tickets have also been delivered to areas so that those who may not normally be able to afford to go and see the show can do so.

But two unknown women have been visiting those places which are displaying the posters and telling the proprietors that the show has been cancelled and the animals impounded by the RSPCA. But the organisers say nothing could be further from the truth. Link

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