Researchers from the Norwegian Veterinary Institute developed and tested a system for horses and people to communicate using a symbolic language. From the Daily Grail:
...Twenty three horses learned to tell trainers if they wanted to wear a blanket or not. Subjects were shown three symbols: a horizontal bar to say "I want a blanket", a blank square for "No change", and a vertical bar for "I don't need a blanket". They learned the meanings in a day or two and using them to convey if they were too warm or too cold, building the case for self-awareness...
(In the scientific paper, the researchers write that,) "When horses realized that they were able to communicate with the trainers, i.e. to signal their wishes regarding blanketing, many became very eager in the training or testing situation. Some even tried to attract the attention of the trainers prior to the test sit- uation, by vocalizing and running towards the trainers, and follow their movements. On a number of such occasions the horses were taken out and allowed to make a choice before its regular turn, and signalled that they wanted the blanket to be removed. It turned out that the horses were sweaty underneath the blanket."
"Horses can learn to use symbols to communicate their preferences" (Applied Animal Behaviour Science)
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Even if you don't ride horses or skimboard, this gorgeous location makes this amazing feat worth watching. Read the rest
This horse showed great restraint and, hopefully, taught this child something about not punching horses.
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Scientists at the University of Sussex have published a directory of horse facial expressions. The Equine Facial Action Coding System catalogs "17 discrete facial movements in horses that may indicate mood or intention or just bafflement," reports The Guardian.
Boing Boing created this chart that shows each facial expression identified by the scientists. We hope you find it helpful.
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You Are A Horse is a Twine game where you are a horse. Who robs a bank.
Behold! An ASCII horse without end. This is straight-up the best thing put on the internet so far this decade. It's by Colleen Josephson and emerged from The Stupid Hackathon. Read the rest
Stephen and Pat raise horses in New Brunswick. One of them, however, knows how to raise itself.
"They think it's not real," Stephen said. "They think you've Photoshopped it, but it's real and it really happened." [CTV via Arbroath.] Read the rest
Scientists at the University of Copenhagen sequenced the oldest genome yet — 700,000-year-old DNA from an ancient ancestor of the horse. The Nature Podcast explains why doing this is valuable (and, no, it's not about creating a cloned ancient horse park) and how you go about sequencing such elderly, and thus degraded, DNA. Read the rest