Does your horse know your voice? Studies suggest yes.

Adobe Stock/Nigel Baker

Equine behaviorists recently determined that horses are not only able recognize the people they know, but they can match a voice to a face. In a study done at the University of Sussex, UK, mares outperformed geldings when performing the task of matching a voice to a face, but all the horses did better when the familiar person was standing to their right side. Scientists say this suggests the process of voice recognition is taking place in the left hemisphere of the horse’s brain.

For those of us who work around horses all the time, this may come as no surprise. For example, one horse owner we know had a horse that always used to come in from the field when she called him, even if he was over the hill in the pre-dawn morning before a show. If someone else called him, he would ignore them. Does your horse recognize your voice?


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