Many horses find clever ways to get what they want, but only a few are smart enough to use tools to get it, new research has revealed.
Whether opening the gate, breaking into the feed room, or finding ways to steal their friends’ food, some horses appear to find their own, often very creative, ways to solve their day-to-day problems.
But can they all do this, and what kind of motivation do they need to start thinking “outside the box”?
The team at Equine Science Talk International has looked into the types of horses that are most likely to show innovative behaviour, and the types of behaviour they show.
They found more than 700 such behaviours, including dozens who opened gates or doors and even got past safety latches.
In their latest video, Professor Konstanze Krüger and Dr Laureen Esch show examples of horses finding their own solutions to everyday problems, including using tools. This ability was previously thought to be exclusive to humans and apes. While many horses find clever ways to get what they want, only a few are smart enough to use tools, they found.
The Equine Science Talk International has been created by a group of scientists and horse trainers and researchers who debunk horse behaviour myths and answer some of the most common questions asked by horse owners.
Professor Konstanze Krüger is Germany’s first professor of equine science and specialist in horse behaviour and cognition; Dr Isabell Marr is a horse trainer and instructor; Dr Laureen Esch is a veterinarian and equine dentist; and Kate Farmer is a horse trainer and independent researcher based in Austria.
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