This week raised a thought provoking article that gained a great deal of media attention.

Although the results of the research would not necessarily have come as a surprise to those involved with horses on a daily basis, it certainly generated a topic of conversation among the wider public.

Facial Displeasure

It reported that similar to humans, equines raise the inner brow of their eyes when endangered or surpised.  Altogether their faces could communicate 17 feelings, as well as recognising the expressions on their fellow equines.

Can they recognise our facial signs? Researchers tested 28 equines (mix of geldings and mares) from stables across the UK. Each horse was led to a stable, then provided with a life-size colour photograph of the face of a male. The man was either smiling or frowning angrily.

The researchers recorded the animals reactions, as well as measuring their heart rates. Various other studies have revealed that stressed horses heart rates vary, when the horses looked at the upset man, their hearts got to a maximum heart rate faster compared to when they looked out the happy image.

When shown the upset face, 20 of the horses likewise turned their heads to view the image with their left eye – an action that illustrates they understood the expression.

The researchers reported online in Biology Letters, because the best hemisphere of the human brain is specialized for handling unfavorable emotions.

Dogs also have this “left-gaze predisposition” when confronting angry faces. Like canines, the equines revealed no such bias, such as moving their heads to look with the right eye, when viewing the happy faces – perhaps considering that the pets don’t require to respond to nonthreatening cues. An angry expression brings a warning – the person might be about to strike.

The discovery that horses along with dogs – just two of the animals this type of research has been carried out on – can review our faces spontaneously as well as without training suggests a couple of points: Either these domesticated animals devote a bunch of time to learning our face signs, or the capability is natural and more extensive in the pet kingdom compared to what we previously thought.