As humans, we communicate through a variety of means, but none more important than our voices. Hearing someone’s voice can lift up your day or it can throw it to the ground. You can tell through someone’s voice how they’re feeling, whether they’re happy, sad, or angry. When an author hits it out of the park with a book, people often say that the author has found his or her voice. The same can be said about musicians.
The idea of someone’s voice, literally and figuratively, is very important in human relationships, how we treat our fellow man. In short, it’s how we convey emotions. Does the same logic apply to animals? Would you say that horses have voices? They certainly neigh, but according to a new study conducted by researchers in Switzerland, horses also have voices and it’s how they reflect emotions.
In the article, “How horses express emotion,” Inken De Wit writes, “Horse whinnies are made of two different fundamental frequencies. This particularly allows horses to express both positive and negative emotions, and at the same convey the strength of these emotions.” This may not come as a surprise to people who have worked closely with horses, but for those people not too familiar with these beautiful animals, it’s certainly a bit of a lightbulb moment.
The goal of the experiment was to explore horse expressions and to accomplish this, “researchers tested 20 groups of horses by exposing them to various positive and negative situations.” This allowed the researchers to test individual groups, individual horses, and to gauge certain effects like the horses’ physiological responses, including heart rate, breathing, skin temperature, and more.
The experiment is certainly a fascinating look at the inner workings of horses and at Deer Creek Structures, we encourage any horse lover to check out the article full and let us know your thoughts.