Let Me Hear Your Body Talk: Closing The Human-To-Horse Communication Divide

A famous Gary Larson cartoon depicted all too familiar communication difficulties between an owner and his dog Ginger: One on side of a split frame titled “What we say to dogs,” the owner is engaged in a lengthy diatribe outlining Ginger’s shortcomings: “Now Ginger, I told you before, Ginger. You must not jump on the furniture, Ginger,” etc. On the other half of the frame titled “What dogs hear,” the dog’s balloon reads, “Blah, blah, blah, Ginger; blah, blah, Ginger, blah, blah, blah.” Larson’s insight is as apt when looking at the human-to-horse communication divide. Language is so woven into our human experiences and manner of thinking that the word “communication” is synonymous with “words” – speaking, reading or writing. Horses, on the other hand, evolved an effective visual system of communication, where vocalizations were rarely necessary. David Myers, a prominent research psychologist, notes that even though we share a…

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