Horses learn from each other, research finds

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Horses can learn to perform complex tasks by watching them carried out by other equines, according to new research.

A study undertaken by Professor Konstanze Krüger at the University of Nürtingen in Germany tested 25 horses in groups of five to see if they could follow the example of another animal.

The demonstrator horse opened a food box containing a treat by pulling a rope and ten out of 14 horses younger than the one giving the example were able to copy its actions, reports Horse & Country.

Of the 11 animals slightly older than the model horse, just two managed to complete the task after seeing it done effectively.

Professor Krüger told the news provider: "Social learning is usually considered to be a sign of higher intelligence, and therefore horses were put low on the 'intelligence' scale. However, maybe that was because of the task, and not because of the horses’ ability to learn."

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