This indicates that horses both had an understanding of the consequence of their choice on own thermal comfort, and that they successfully had learned to communicate their preference by using the symbols.

Horses Use Symbols to Communicate Preferences

Horse Blanket On or Off?

Wish your horse could tell you if they want a horse blanket on or off on a cold, but sunny day, so they don’t end up a sweaty mess? A study finds horses can use symbols to communicate their preferences with their human counterparts.

The study published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science explores the training of 23 horses in Norway to use three neutral symbols so the animals can communicate their blanketing preferences with their handlers.

The study states positive reinforcement training increases horses’ interest in humans and their motivation to participate in training. When the horses realized they could communicate regarding their blankets, many of the horses became eager and focused during their sessions.