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Skeleton of the Horse Muscular System of the Horse Vision Sense of smell

Horse from within

The horse is an animal capable of being instantly ready for a high level of exertion. For this to be any use a high level of awareness and perception of threat has to be delivered by the senses, without it the cardio-vascular, digestive, and musculo-skeletal specialisation would be wasted.

Many horse owners believe that the horse is stupid but, when their behaviour is viewed as supporting their needs, they are highly intelligent animals. That their intelligence is not that of the tool-user or the manipulator is clear; no horse will ever write a symphony or study quantum mechanics, but to restrict our appreciation of intelligence to only the type that we possess seems very arrogant. For all his shortcomings, it is hard not to be impressed with the horses sensory abilities and the harmony that it achieves with its surroundings when it is allowed to fulfil its natural pre-disposition.

The danger of attack by predators would make life close to impossible were horses to be truly stupid, and the fact that they survived in spite of these and other threats would seem to prove that the horses intelligence was quite good enough for the task at hand. Low intelligence would have to be considered a negative evolutionary trait! Obviously the horse could not spend all its time running away or it would never have the chance to eat, but moving a hundred meters or so at speed and then slowing down if nothing is chasing wouldnt be a bad idea. Of course, if a horse does this while we are working with it and makes our life difficult, we might well call it stupid. (or worse!)

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© J.O.Azarenko