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Horses are able to answer yes or no to questions through symbols

Updated: Mar 15, 2020

Now that it is getting colder and colder, everyone has to make the decision of whether or not to blanket up our horses, or let them be out in the wind, rain and cold. But new research shows that horses by themselves are able to decide whether they want to get dressed or not.

Many people are for this -it is easier to keep our horses clean dry, and warm. Just as many people are against it -A horse is a horse and it is given fur, for a reason, and therefore it is not necessary to cover up the horses. (Worst case scenareo horses can get stuck in the blanket or it can be bitten to pieces).

However, the big question is, what would our horses choose, if they could choose?

New research supports the training method WhenHorsesChoose

Throughout all my years, I have experienced that horses can choose whether they want to do something, or say no to specific training elements. The WHC method is based on the horse’s own prerogative to freely say yes or no and supports them in appropriate ways. “The horse has the freedom to choose if it wants to cooperate or not; if they choose to cooperate, the resistance is broken and leadership is achieved.

New studies support my experience with the horse’s power to say yes or no. Cecilie M. Mejdell, PhD, at the Norwegian Veterans Institute, and colleagues have made a communication system with horses that allows them to understand the animal’s expression of its wish to be covered or not.

Horses agree

No matter how great it sounds, the horses that participated, choose from printed images and symbols. One representing yes, and another representing no…. Horses seem to agree on when they want to be covered, and when they don’t. They especially agreed that they wanted to be covered up on rainy days.

The fact that horses can say yes or no is nothing new to me, but the fact that they can say yes or no based on pictures or symbols is new, and gives me a lot of new ideas. The options of communicating between horses and humans gives a lot of new possibilities for interactions amongst the two.


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