I saw this and had to repost for us all. I especially like #16.
From Holly McLain
Here are 15 interesting facts about a horse’s brain:
1. A horse’s brain is relatively small compared to its body size, making up only about 0.1% of its total weight.
2. Despite their small size, horses have very complex brains, with a highly developed cerebral cortex, the part of the brain responsible for conscious thought, decision-making, and memory.
3. Horses are able to learn and remember complex tasks, such as navigating a jumping course or performing a dressage routine, through a process called associative learning.
4. Like humans, horses have a left and a right hemisphere in their brain, each with specialized functions. The left hemisphere is responsible for processing logical and analytical information, while the right hemisphere is more involved in emotional processing and creative thinking.
5. Horses have a strong memory and are able to remember specific people, places, and experiences for many years.
6. Horses are able to learn by observation and are often able to pick up new behaviors and skills simply by watching other horses or humans.
7. Horses have a very sensitive sense of touch and can detect even the slightest pressure or movement on their skin. This helps them to respond to subtle cues from their rider or handler.
8. Horses are able to process visual information very quickly and accurately, allowing them to avoid potential dangers and navigate their environment with ease.
9. Horses are social animals and rely on non-verbal communication to interact with other horses in their herd. This communication is facilitated by the horse’s brain, which is able to interpret subtle changes in body language, facial expressions, and vocalizations.
10. Finally, like all animals, horses have a unique personality and individual characteristics that are shaped by their experiences, genetics, and environment, all of which are reflected in their brain function and behavior.
11. Horses have a very strong sense of smell, and their olfactory bulb, which processes smells, is relatively large compared to other parts of their brain.
12. The cerebellum, which is responsible for coordinating movement and balance, is also relatively large in horses. This is because horses need to be able to move quickly and efficiently to escape predators or navigate difficult terrain.
13. Horses have a very high pain threshold, which is thought to be related to the way their brains process pain signals. While this can be beneficial in some situations, it can also mean that horses may not show obvious signs of pain, making it difficult for their caretakers to detect and treat underlying health problems.
14. The hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in learning and memory, is particularly well-developed in horses. This allows them to remember not just specific experiences, but also general concepts and patterns that they can apply to new situations.
15. Finally, studies have shown that horses, like other animals, are capable of experiencing emotions such as fear, happiness, and anger. These emotions are thought to be mediated by the limbic system, a group of interconnected brain structures that play a key role in regulating mood and behavior.
16. Hearts –
Horses have incredible hearing, with the ability to hear the heartbeat of a human from four feet away. In the wild, horses will synchronize their heartbeats to the other horses in the herd in order to sense danger more quickly, and recent studies have shown that they use those tactics in domesticated life as well. When our horses interact with us, they tend to synchronize to our heartbeats as well, meaning they can sense slight adjustments in our mood. This means when riders get nervous about something, we inadvertently translate our fears and anxieties onto our horses.