By Michel-Antoine Leblanc
Horses have been first domesticated approximately 6,000 years in the past at the titanic Eurasian steppe extending from Mongolia to the Carpathian Mountains. but merely within the final twenty years have scientists began to discover the categorical psychological capacities of those animals. Responding to a surge of curiosity in fields from ethology to comparative psychology and evolutionary biology, Michel-Antoine Leblanc offers an encyclopedic synthesis of medical wisdom approximately equine habit and cognition. The brain of the pony provides specialists and fans alike with an up to date realizing of ways horses understand, take into consideration, and adapt to their actual and social worlds.
Much of what we know--or imagine we know--about "the intelligence of the pony" derives from fragmentary studies and anecdotal facts. placing this accrued knowledge to the try out, Leblanc introduces readers to rigorous experimental investigations into how horses make feel in their international lower than various stipulations. He describes the anatomical and neurophysiological features of the horse's mind, and provides an evolutionary standpoint by means of evaluating those good points with these of different species. A horseman himself, Leblanc additionally considers the critiques of popular using masters, in addition to controversies surrounding the intense powers of the horse's brain that experience stirred in equestrian and medical circles.
Although scientists comprehend extra this day approximately how horses imagine than at any time in our species' lengthy acquaintance with those animals, a lot continues to be at the hours of darkness. The brain of the Horse brings jointly the present nation of equine examine and should most likely stimulate impressive new discoveries.
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Extra info for The Mind of the Horse: An Introduction to Equine Cognition
A Rash of Clever Horses As Paul Heuzé3 once wrote (1928), “Clowns and clever animals have always been with us” (26). Nonetheless, the most frequently cited case of a “clever horse” is surely that of Clever Hans,4 which I will describe briefly and which I will come back to regarding perception of movement. Hans was special. The talents of previous clever animals were generally acknowledged by their masters themselves as being the product of particular training and not evidence of an unusual mental capacity.
The extraordinary fact is that, after having once felt this, the spirit or emotional life of the animal undergoes a complete and sudden change, so that from having been ‘wild’ it becomes ‘tame’” (328–29). Continuing in this vein, he notes: “Another curious emotional feature in the horse is the liability of all the other mental faculties of the animal to become abandoned to that of terror. For I think I am right in saying that the horse is the only animal which, under the influence of fear, loses the possession of every other sense in one mad and mastering desire to run.
As Clément concludes: “An immense amount of work remains to be done on well-being, temperature, human relations, and breeding conditions” (110), although some progress has been made since then. Finally, the four thematic categories leave out one significant line of inquiry: cognitive ethology. The Emergence of a New Field of Research: The Cognitive Ethology of the Horse Cognitive ethology straddles the perspectives of animal or comparative psychology and ethology. In the words of Jacques Vauclair and Michel Kreutzer (2004): “The question is to understand how, based on its mental states and representations, an individual develops its behavior” (11).