Not All Horses Think Alike in Spatial Reasoning Tasks

Understanding how individual horses think and reason could help handlers be aware of their individual needs and strengths, researchers say.
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Researchers created a U-shaped wall out of bedding bags that was high enough to block the horse from walking over it, but low enough for the horse to see over it. They moved a bucket of food from the inside of the U to the outside of the U throughout the experiment. | Photo: Courtesy Dr. Paolo Baragli

Three horses. Four fences. One gate from the paddock to the pasture. And that gate isn’t in the same place it used to be.

Are they going to find the new exit? Are they going to take their time and study it? Go back and forth trying different things? Start out moving fast to check all the options and then slow down to better investigate those options?

The answers are yes, yes, and yes

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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