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Sweet Pea...

Sweet Pea is our giant donkey. One day she taught my husband, Chris, our friend Guillermo and myself that animals are truly aware and thinking. This story talks about how this remarkable donkey helped us put a very nervous 7 month old filly back into her paddock with no direction from us. This experience left us speechless because it was something we had never experienced before with a equine.

This was my first true introduction to equine cognition. 

 Metacognition can take many forms; it includes knowledge about when and how to use particular strategies for learning or problem-solving. 

Sweet Pea and the Little Filly

Thinking and Awareness

The word cognition dates back to the 15th century. It means "thinking and awareness". 

The Cognitive processes use existing knowledge to understand a new situation and devise a plan of action.

Feral filly from Warm Springs Reservation

We did not give this little filly a name because she was only at our place for a month or so for gentling. So we just called her "Little Filly".

PLease wait for the video to start it takes a little bit. Thank you and enjoy.

Animal intelligence and cognition....

Before Ethology... 

Based on a humans world view

This dog is looking at a human made game of chess and the dog has no idea what it is to do with pieces. 

Before the 1930's the study and testing of animals intelligence was based on the human world view, so animals where thought to be unintelligent and dimwitted and could only learn tricks.

After Ethology…..

Ethology -Study of animal behavior based on their world view.

This crow wanted the water in the tube but the water level was too low. So he started adding pebbles to bring the water level up. He figured out how to use the tools available to him. If he had been given a straw he might have gone thirsty.

Ethology is a rapidly growing field. Since the dawn of the 21st century, many aspects of animal communication, emotions, culture, learning and sexuality that the scientific community long thought it understood have been re-examined, and new conclusions reached. New fields, such as neuroethology, have developed.

Horses' world view vs. Humans' world view.

Different species have developed many different complex ways to communicate, whether acoustic, visual, chemical or tactile. Each animals choice of communication method relies on its strongest and most sensitive neural receptors.


Nation Geographic, Your Brain

Depending on philosophical perspectives regarding the definition of language and meaning, when used as a general concept, "language" may refer to the cognitive ability to learn and use systems of complex communication, or to describe the set of rules that makes up these systems, or the set of utterances that can be produced from those rules.

Each of these languages have a set of rules they follow. This allows all living beings to transfer information to each other.

Like Human to Horse.

Or Horse to Human.

When the understanding of the rules gets confused the communication breaks down.

Or the communication becomes one sided.

Horse Speak gives us a set of rules to follow in order to have a rudimentary conversation with the horse.

There are nuances to any communication and these nuances can be subtle from one individual to the other. Learning a language takes extremely close observation of what the other is saying.

The Horse will Thank You......

Noticing the little things

Notice when your horse is concerned about their environment.

Take a moment and acknowledge that concern and each time they are concerned then go back to work. Pay attention to the little things they are doing.

Looking through their eyes will open your eyes.