Meidell Cecile (Cecilie Mejdell and her colleagues from the Veterinary Institute of Norway decided to test whether it is possible to teach horses the understanding and use of symbols.
For two weeks during short sessions of 10-15 minutes the researchers with the help of the sweet carrots were taught 23 race horses of different breeds to indicate the face on one of the three characters: the black horizontal line, a blank white square and a black vertical line.
Characters meant the following: cover me with a blanket, don’t change a thing and take off the blanket. Informed decision about this at their discretion taken by the people who care for animals. Now the choice was given to the horses.
In the next few months with different weather conditions researchers offered animal all the same signs and watched for their reactions. (Horses were evaluated by the weather, having spent before entering the stall for two hours on the air).
In the end it turned out that they can make it clear to their coaches what they want. The experiment showed that the animals touched the symbols are not random, but focused on the external environment.
If it was wet, cold and windy, some pointed the muzzle to the symbol cover me with a blanket, if the horse was already laid, she turned her head to the sign don’t change a thing. When it was Sunny and warm, sheltered animals points to the symbol take off the blanket and stripped asked to coach, nothing changed. That is, the horse was well aware of the consequences of their choice.
In the future, the group Meidell plans to use the developed method to specify the animals and other issues.