Are Horses Smarter Than Humans

Danielle Fletcher
• Monday, 14 December, 2020
• 18 min read

Horses are magnificent creatures, and they can develop extraordinary bonds with humans. Some horses may act so cantankerous and fearful that it makes you question how smart they really are.

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Horses are extremely intelligent, and their extra vigilance is just one of the many indicators that they are smarter than many of us realize. They are not only able to learn how to respond to commands, horses are also able to recognize familiar people just by looking at their faces.

On the contrary, horses are often studied in their own barns and familiar settings to get more accurate results. This lessens anxiety and keeps the horse in its natural atmosphere, making the studies and experiments more reliable.

Your horses will realize it is about time for you to visit long before you even walk out the door and head their way. An average-sized adult horse’s brain weighs around 1.34 pounds or 606 grams (source).

By comparison, the adult human brain is significantly larger than that of a horse, around 3.3 pounds or 1496 grams (source). A horse’s brain is rather small when compared to the size of its body, which often weighs more than 1,000 pounds (source).

They will whinny, kick, bite, run at, stomp their feet, or snort to talk to and alert other horses in their herd. It is part of how they work to establish a herd hierarchy, especially when new horses are added to the mix.

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They also communicate to warn the rest of the herd of coming storms, new horses, and even that their owner is trying to catch them (source). Horses can whinny, kick, and pin their ears back to communicate with you as well as even biting or nudging us to convey a message.

They argue that dogs can clearly learn more tricks and behave better than horses and therefore must be smarter. It is important to remember that if a horse lived in your house and spent most of their day with you, it, they would probably learn more and behave better as well.

Horses use their various senses to help them recognize their owners including visual cues, smells, and the sound of their voice (source). Horses are quick learners and get used to daily routines, so much so, they know when feeding time comes around (source).

Horses connect memories to emotions, eliciting positive or negative reactions years later (source). Horses are intelligent animals, and they understand a lot more than many people give them credit for.

Horses can recognize their owners, they can sense changes in human emotions, they have amazing memories, and they can communicate not only among themselves, but with us as well! By Pauli ck Report Staff | 12.28.2017 | 12:31pm William Simpson lives with his wife Laura in a remote area of the Soda Mountain Wilderness, which is on the Oregon-California border.

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The horses have been well documented in local papers for over 100 years, he notes in Horseback. He noted that horses have extremely powerful senses of smell and hearing, so he speaks softly when talking to them.

He began to do some investigation into how intelligent horses are and what he found was a bit surprising. Simpson chose an excerpt from The Equine Behavioral Health Resource Center in which brain weight is equated with intelligence.

Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry. Horse lovers have long believed that their trusty steeds are the smartest animals in the world, but skeptics would be doubtful.

While we most often compare them to dogs when asking ‘are horses intelligent?’ This is, in fact, not a fair comparison. Horses are prey animals who have an ingrained flight response and will react to situations differently to a dog.

Understanding just how intelligent your equine partner is may help you comprehend him in a more effective way, but it can also contribute to make your rides and training sessions more efficient. Also, most horses can recognize themselves in the mirror, understands human emotion, and learn complex tricks or commands.

smart horses humans careful simpson stallion keeps mighty laura horses3
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According to Dr. Robert M. Miller, horses have the ability to learn faster, but dogs are better problem solvers. Thoroughbreds and Arabian horses are two breeds that seem to come on top of the list in terms of intelligence.

A retired racehorse Lukas became one of the top liberty performers in the United States and attracted international acclaim for his intelligence. He understood complicated concepts such as object permanence, spatial relationships, proportion, absentees and so on.

Horses can not only learn, but also have the ability to work things out for themselves (opening stable doors, freeing themselves from a delicate situation, like when they get stuck somewhere, etc. What we must keep in mind is that horses are fast learners, especially with correct and consistent training.

The study was interested in seeing if the 30 domestic horses they worked with were more likely to approach a person with a dominant body posture or a submissive one. The people displaying a dominant body posture were standing straight with extended arms, legs, and chest.

In 2018, the Universities of Sussex and Portsmouth conducted a study demonstrating that horses can read human facial expressions and remember a person’s previous emotional state, adapting their behavior accordingly. In fact, during the study, photographs of people with different emotions (anger and happiness) were presented to 24 horses.

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The results show that horses were responding differently according to the emotion observed; their heart rates increased when presented with a photograph of an angry person, therefore showing a negative reaction to the more aggressive emotions. It is surprising that horses remembered the people and their emotional expression after being presented the pictures shortly.

In 2016, Kobe University has published a study stating that when horses are facing unsolvable problems, they will use visual and tactile signals to catch human attention and ask for help. The experiment was conducted with 8 horses and their student caretakers at the equestrian club of the Kobe University.

In the first experiment, an assistant experimenter hid carrots in a bucket that couldn’t be reached by the horse. The goal was to observe how the horse sent signals to his caretaker when he arrived, unaware of the situation.

In the second experiment, the experimenter tested if the horses behavior changed when the caretaker was aware of the hidden food. Horses, as for other animals, have learned to communicate with other individuals to receive information about predators, for instance, which is a useful survival skill.

Keeping in mind that the contribution of horses to society has evolved from transport to companionship. William Simpson lives with his wife Laura in a remote area of the Soda Mountain Wilderness, which is on the Oregon-California border.

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Simpson enthuses that these horses, though not considered “wild,” truly are: They were born free in the wilderness and must fend for themselves in regard to predators and locating food and water sources. One herd of horses the Simpsons see regularly has a stallion they have dubbed “Black” and a small band of mares he watches over.

Mutual grooming is a common occurrence in the horse world; it shows care and concern for others in the herd and it also helps scratch itches, remove debris and attend to any injury a horse may have. Laura and William began to carry curry combs with them to groom the babies and the adult horses when they will allow it.

He noted that horses have extremely powerful senses of smell and hearing, so he speaks softly when talking to them. Simpson chose an excerpt from The Equine Behavioral Health Resource Center in which brain weight is equated with intelligence.

Dogs detect illness and lead the blind, and horses memorize difficult dressage patterns and can sense incoming weather. Understanding animal intelligence requires a deeper look into the linguistic, logical, social, and emotional capabilities of each species.

How do their behaviors affect their basic quality of life, and do they make decisions that can improve their living circumstances? By assessing these capabilities, we can start to compare our equine friends to our tail-wagging canine family members.

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While most domestic dogs aren't responsible for finding their own meals, they're still considered predators in the hierarchy of the animal kingdom. It's a lot easier to munch on grass than it is to take down a rabbit, and behaviorists generally agree that predators have a kind of intelligence that prey animals lack.

As herd animals, horses are able to protect themselves from harm, and living within that tight-knit community also gives them a strong sense of emotional and social intelligence. In part thanks to the herd dynamic, horses exhibit a strong sense of emotional intelligence.

They form relationships with other horses within the herd, and studies show those connections also extend to humans. It was once believed that Hans, an Orlon Trotter horse, could do complex math and word problems.

Hans responded by tapping his hoof eleven times and delivering the correct answer. Hans responded to a person's involuntary body language to give the correct answer every time.

When Hans was blindfolded or otherwise unable to see the person who asked, he would simply keep tapping his foot with no clues to give him the right answer. Another facet of measuring animal intelligence is how quickly they can learn a new skill and remember that newfound knowledge.

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From the basic “sit” to more complex behaviors, we all know dogs are capable of learning countless skills. But while trick training is more closely related to dog than horses, you can't discount a horse's ability to learn and remember.

How quickly a dog or horse learns is related more to the trainer's skill and not the individual animal's intelligence. While horses possess strong emotional intelligence and an intuition that's hard to beat, dogs learn new skills quickly and adapt well to life with humans.

Both animals are capable of impressive cognitive abilities, and evidence shows both horses and dogs have their strengths and weaknesses. But at the same time, a dog's abilities as a predator give them natural instincts that relate to overall intelligence.

Humans are proven to be the most intelligent species of animals on Earth. Humans colors vary from almost pepper black to milky white.

There are many “dumb” humans, and many animals who are genius for their species. If we are comparing the average intelligence of each specie, humans are smarter than all.

horses dogs horse dog smart compared recommend answer continue question reading below
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I am concerned for those who say that a dolphin could invent a car or nuclear bomb. We wouldn't have made so many scientific discoveries, developed so many weapons, and eliminated so many species and ecosystems. I agree that we have many problems and act stupid in places.

Ways humans are more intelligent than any other animals; Capability to learn mathematics, language, built structures, create working systems of economies. We create innovations every day that further improve their race.

The extent of our power to modify the world around us shows how comparatively more meticulous and knowledgeable we are. I would go even farther to say more importantly, that no other animal has created systems of morality and ethics, developing philosophies based around our advanced enlightened perceptions possessed by no other.

Even if you think that humans aren't number one, there are chimps which are way smarter than dolphins. They can understand numerical systems, have better short term memory than humans, and can even be taught to use a computer.

Did you know that somebody taught a dolphin how to count and speak English (Not very well but still.) If dolphins were land animals with and legs, they would make lots of stuff.

dogs smarter horses than defines intelligence
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Billions of new car companies would be around, and humans would have roommates who are not their species. They have been known to open locks, understand numbers, have better short term memory than humans, use tools, and have the IQ of a 3-year-old human child.

DOGS are smart and the reason they are higher than many animals and not closely related to the human like chimps is because they are easy to train. People think they are so “clever” because they can learn tricks.

All the other animals on this list can learn tricks too and can do way more. A lady taught them sign language, so you could communicate with them.

5 Parrot Parrots, also known as psittacosis, are birds of the roughly 393 species in 92 genera that make up the order Psittaciformes, found in most tropical and subtropical regions. The most intelligent and smart animal in Earth is Parrot...

They are way more intelligent than Dolphins, Chimpanzees, monkeys and dogs can ever be. Parrots know how to talk not only in their way but in any language you can throw.

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I've seen a documentary where they say that cats are 10 times better in problem solving that dogs. I guess the haters going to hate.

Some random guy: Survive human attacks, poachers and our constant need to destroy their habitat... Me: Huh, sadly true, as they are endangered and poachers are still continuing to hunt it...

Guy; Uh, dogs, cats... HHH... blobfish? Elephants are the ONLY animals that can understand a human pointing without any training.

Most of the animals here can't even compare to the intelligence of an elephant. Elephants strike the top spot in all intelligence: cunning, creativity, thinking, & emotion.

Few other animals hit all these categories & even fewer, maybe none at all, beat the elephant. It has two eyes and four pairs of arms and, like other cephalopods, it is bilaterally symmetric.

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Pigs include the domestic pig and its ancestor, the common Eurasian wild boar, along with other species; related creatures outside the genus include the peccary, the babies, and the warthog. They are actually pretty smart, but with all those insults about pigs going around it's hard to think that.

Pigs are actually smarter than dogs you can just look at the top 10 smartest animals there you go Estimated Average IQ: 82Koko is an extremely smart gorilla.

Yes Dogs are good loved pets and yes parrots are definitely smart but that monkey of mine put them all to shame... Monkey is smarter than dog, cat, dolphin, parrot put together and numerous experiments, researches and just real life proved that.

12 Whale If orcas were smarter than us they would see us as a threat in the wild. Is this a joke, killer whales are by far the smartest creature in the sea, in my opinion.

Incredibly intelligent, just like dolphins, only with much more brain capacity. These birds have been found sing tools to lure out food and solving puzzles that might involve their lives and these Birds have been found to be as smart as 7-Year-old human children making them the smartest animals on earth so think about seeing the world's the smartest animal every day and admire these beauties, the Crow.

horses horse communicate learn humans paralysed opinions express independent say scientists owner animals legal facts been know equine thumbnails were
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Unbelievable smart, in science the number five most intelligent animal after Chimps, Dolphins, Elephants and Orange Outings, humans not included. Crows can remember peoples faces, and when they can't open a nut they put it on a road, wait for a car to drive over it, and break it, then they eat the nut.

They recognize and remember faces, use cars to crack open nuts, and use tools to solve puzzles! It is an odd-toed ungulate mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equine, and can be tamed, bred, and trained, as a mount.

Not only do they have an AMAZING memory, but they can understand signals when are told. Honestly, I think in some ways horses are smarterthanhumans.

If they really wanted to hurt you they would do it, but they are smart enough to get in harmony with humans. They actually decide a leader in the herd by who is the smartest and wisest.

Ra coons are very smart they even use sticks and twigs as tools 16 Fox Foxes are small to medium-sized animals and belong to the Candidate family along with other animals such as jackals, wolves, and domestic dogs.

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There are 37 species of fox but only 12 are considered true Rules. A foxes main prey are birds, fish, berries, insects, and rabbits.

Their super smart even in real life not just books Estimated Average IQ: 70A fox is known to be a smart and cunning animal.

Rats are in almost every scientific top 10 about intelligence, so they are really among smartest animals. But scientists know they are way smarter than cats and dogs.

Estimated Average IQ: 65Is somewhat smart, and tends to be in the Top 20 smartest animals The two main groups are the Cervical, including the mental, the fallow deer and the coital, and the Carolina, including the elk, reindeer, the Western roe deer, and the Eurasian elk.

Estimated Average IQ: 15Dumbest animal on the list They live almost exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere, with only one species, the Galápagos penguin, found north of the equator.

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There is a growing number of researchers who are starting to rethink intelligence, even the single-cell organism slime mold is being looked at in new light. Octopuses can learn to open pill bottles protected by childproof caps, which many humans can't figure out on their own.

Dogs and horses, among many species that spend time around humans, are able to recognize body language cues that are lost on us. Many species can do stuff we can't even imagine: bats that map out space with echolocation; birds that figure out the complex mechanics of flight and landing; and ticks that identify passing mammals by the smell of satyric acid.

DE Wall suggests that we are indeed embarking on a new collective frame of mind when it comes to the gifts of animal cognition. “We hear that rats may regret their own decisions, that crows manufacture tools, that octopuses recognize human faces, and that special neurons allow monkeys to learn from each other’s mistakes.

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