A study of 24 horses from a Sussex stable has found that all were capable of recognising other members of the herd by their voices, providing the strongest evidence yet for vocal identification in animals.
The results suggest that the equine brain is capable of complex recognition skills that are important for negotiating the pecking order of the paddock.
Uh-huh. Still, the article is worth a read, if for no other reason than to follow it with this brief commentary from the Times chief sportswriter and lifelong horseman Simon Barnes.
But the fact that horses can recognise each other’s voices is as thrilling a revelation to me as the fact that the sun rose this morning.
I like that line best from Simon's commentary
Mine seems to recognize the car no matter which one I drive...I pulled up in my grandmother's car the other day and he came to the gate and stared me down until I got out. Explain that one...LOL
But in all seriousness, I've seen it written that horses can tell people apart from their footfall pattern too.
Last edited by HiddenStars826; Dec. 16, 2008 at 10:48 AM.
Reason: I think my keyboard's broken- it doesn't spell properly
When in FL showing, mine would hear my car door slam (she could not see me) and then would neigh at me - she knew it was me the second I got out of my car. Perhaps it was the way I slammed the door (I was in a rental) or perhaps the way I walked. Strange, but she always knew it was me and not by sight.
Oh, I figured this one out the time I took great pains to make sure two mares (one of which considered herself joined at the hip to the other and went loony when separated) got to a show SEPARATELY, would be stalled at opposite ends of the barn, and woudn't get anywhere near each other. Took all of about five minutes for both of them to figure out the other was on the premisis. One whinnied, her buddy whinnied back, and all my effort was for naught. Tah-dah!! Instant loon.
My horse definitely knows my voice. If my trainer rides her, I have to be quiet and hide behind the wall. If she hears my voice or sees me--she starts trying to look in my direction and will blow off my trainers aids. It's really obvious, and part of the reason I loff her so much.
I remember back when I had my goat at the racetrack she was making all sorts of racket when I walked into the barn. One day I asked the trainer stabled next to me if my goat was driving her nuts with all that noise. Thats when I found out she didn't make a peep until I got out of the car. I don't know if she knew the sound of my car (the parking lot is all the way over on the other side of the barn next to mine) or if she heard/smelled me but apparently she heralded my arrival. She is still just a dumb goat though.
Then there was the time I was in the racing office and turned around to see her standing at the door! She apparently followed me all the way across the parking lot, up the steps and through the grandstand.
This reminds me -- one day I was talking to a friend who I hadn't seen in a while. I told him I got a horse that spring. He asked me, "Does he know you? Does he recognize you?"
Um, yeah. Would he have asked that if the animal I had gotten was a dog or cat?
"Uh, if you're going to try that, shouldn't you unplug it first?"
My horse not only know the sound of my voice they know the sound of my truck and the sound of my footsteps. They also know what time I'm supposed to be at the barn. I've heard many reports that they start making whinny noises if I'm late.