"Only recently have we begun to understand that animals really do have intelligence. Gradually, new perceptions of animals are coming to the fore. Newsweek Magazine in a May 1988 cover story entitled "How Smart Are Animals?" reported that:
'Creatures as different as pigeons and primates are dazzling scientists with their capacity for thought. Comparative psychologists have gone from wondering whether apes can comprehend symbols to detailing the ways in which they acquire and use them. Others scientists are documenting similar abilities in sea mammals. Still others are finding that birds can form abstract concepts. The news isn't just that animals can master many of the tasks experimenters design for them, however. There's a growing sense that many creatures - from free ranging monkeys to domestic dogs - know things on their own that are as interesting as anything we can teach them.'
Recognizing that horses are individual personalities with individual mental and emotional responses to the world opens us to a new way of perceiving animal intelligence and therefore of influencing behavior. For instance, knowing whether a horse is a slow or a fast learner allows the trainer to choose the most appropriate teaching method. Not only does an intelligent horse need less repetition than a duller one, too much repetition often bores the clever horse, and he will think up ways of 'amusing' himself (sometimes by resistance) that his trainer will probably not find equally entertaining.
Understanding our horses doesn't mean we become 'permissive' or that we don't use firmness and discipline when required. It means rather that we open the door to cooperation rather than confrontation, an attitude that leads to successful performance so much more quickly, easily and joyfully than does domination through fear or submission. Such a humane viewpoint often has the unexpected side effect of enriching our whole lives."
"Getting in TTouch" by Linda Tellington-Jones