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The neuroscience of horsemanship.
Janet L. Jones Ph.D.
When watching horses perform in an event, most people assume that their behavior is largely natural. It's easy to underestimate just how much a horse has to learn.
Last week, a horse named Saint Boy refused to jump for an unfamiliar rider and an abusive trainer. Now PETA wants to ban all Olympic horse sports.
Everybody's been talking about the Olympic show jumping course, starring a statue that scared the horses. How do equine brains process experiences like this?
What are you seeing when horses and riders compete in the Olympics? Some very impressive communication between the brain of a prey animal and the brain of a predator.
Ever watch a horse and rider leap over a jump, spin a hole in the sand, or turn a cow away from its herd? You saw a detailed exchange between prey and predator brains.
Most people assume dogs or cats are involved in our clearest cross-species communication. But our interactions with horses are stronger and more direct.
Janet Jones, Ph.D., applies brain research to the training of horses and riders. She is the author of Horse Brain, Human Brain.