Your Guide to Equine Health Care

Horses Can Learn to Open Doors, Gates

Researchers found that horses can teach themselves to open a variety of locks and latches.

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Ensuring these lock-breakers stay safely in their enclosures requires first studying their motivations and meeting their welfare needs, said Krueger. | Photo: iStock

If you’ve ever seen videos of horses opening locked gates and doors, sometimes even to let their friends out with them, you’ve seen scientific history in the making.

Compiling hundreds of anecdotes and reliable video clips, German researchers have recently provided a scientific stamp of approval on what we’ve been watching for years: Yes, horses can figure out how to open doors.

“We can’t say it’s common, but it definitely does happen, and they definitely do seem to just figure out how to do it on their own,” said Konstanze Krueger, PhD, of the University of Regensburg, in

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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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