One of the incredible things about horses is their ability to learn. Dressage is, of course, a great testament to a horse’s ability to understand, remember and perform with a trainer.
But what most people (especially non-horse people) often don’t realise is just how intelligent horses are. Not only can they learn by interacting with a trainer, but they can also learn by watching another horse interact with a trainer.
That means that horses can teach themselves how to do something just by watching another horse do it. Pretty incredible, right?
A lot of you reading this might already know about this, and it’s certainly common knowledge amongst some horse people that allowing a horse to observe training is a great way of easing them into the arena themselves.
But here is where it gets more interesting:
A horse will only learn through observation if they are observing a horse that they respect. If the horse that is in the arena (the demonstrator) is of a higher social status than the horse that is watching (the observer), then the behaviour will be learnt. But if the demonstrator is of lower social status, or it is from a different social group, the observer will not learn the behaviour it watches.
The social lives and minds of horses are much more complex than people often give them credit for.
- Horses can learn from watching other horses, but only under some situations.
WILL LEARN: The horse they are watching has a high social status than them.
WON’T LEARN: The horse they are watching has a lower social status.
The horse they are watching is from a different social group.
To see out horse arenas, download our brochure.
Shed Foundation – Concrete Slab Cost Calculator
|Use the calculator below to get a rough estimate of the cost to lay a concrete slab for your shed project.
8 Fictional Horses You Wish You Owned
How many times have you been watching a movie or reading a book and thought “that’s a horse I would love to own”?
It doesn’t matter how fictional or unrealistic they are, you can’t help but fantasise about owning one of these amazing creatures. Often, they’re the characters your childhood dreams were built on.
Let’s take a look at the top 8 fictional horse characters.
1. Mr Ed.
Horse riding is all about communication. But don’t you just wish you could actually speak to your horse. It would make things so much easier.
The famous Mr Ed could talk – in fact, he could barely stop talking!
Gandalf’s noble horse from The Lord of The Rings. Shadowfax is perhaps the most noble and dignified of any fictional horse character.
Shadowfax was ‘foaled in the morning of the world,’ the original and perfect horse.
In fact, he’s almost the most dignified character ever written, animal or human. It’s not so much that you’d like to own Shadowfax, but that you’d like to know him.
A thoroughbred with too much spirit for ploughing fields, Joey is the storied character of War Horse, the wildly successful book, film and stage play.
The best-natured of all the horses on the list is Bullseye, from the Toy Story films.
More like a puppy, Bullseye is full of enthusiasm and friendliness.
The colourful, beautiful flying horse from RainbowBrite, the 80s cartoon series.
Starlite was able to fly on rainbows, and her colourful mane and tail made her an excellent horse to fantasise about.
The horse from The Neverending Story who, in the novel, is actually a speaking character.
A complicated character, Artax’s death was a difficult one for most readers, but reminds us of the emotional complexity of the horses we love.
A horse capable of talking, but hiding his gift from his war-mongering owners, Bree is another complex character from the Chronicles of Narnia.
8. Black Beauty.
For some of us, this might have been our first horse love.
The novel does an excellent job of stokes the fires for a horse lover, reminding us of the need to treat every animal with love and respect.
READ MORE: The 10 Best Horse Movies of All Time