As people we need a broader view or a perhaps more arcane view of the animals around us. As people we view things, including animals through the glass of a microscope to magnify them, when instead need to step back and see the whole picture not just the small, hard to view details. We must come to understand that animals cannot be measured by man for their world is older and more complete than our own.
So if we attempt to judge the intelligence of horses by our own standards, we are most likely going to find ourselves misjudging them. Some believe horses to be less intelligent than most animals others believe they are even smarter than man. So how smart are horses?
Most everyone will agree that horses have a superior awareness of their surroundings and immediate attention to the present moment, especially danger. One must wonder how often does your horse see or sense something before you do?
Horse intelligence trumps ours in several ways. Horses have a highly developed ability to read emotions and moods.This intuitive ability protects them from being attacked or eaten by a predator, but also allows them to live side by side with predators.
Because as humans we have the great ability to conceptualize we can be lead to think that horses are stupid.Horses have very little ability to conceptualize, but this does not make them stupid, far from it. If we train a horse to do something from the left side, we should not expect him to get the "concept" and then be able to do the same thing from the right side. Their brain does not work that way.
You've heard the old saying "To err is human, and to forgive is equine." That saying came about because horses don't let past failures in relationships prevent them from starting over in the present. Hoeses may be sceptical at first, but are usually easily convinced with the right kind of leadership.
If we do not measure a horse's intelligence by his or her ability to conceptualize, what are we left with? Let's see...clearly an intelligent animal who is in touch with our every move, that is aware of it's surroundings and senses danger long before we do. Horses posses these qualities; they can't think abstractly, they don't "plan" or "hold a grudge" (living in the moment") and they have understanding. These are qualities a lot of humans lack. So the question remains, how smart are horses. The answer seems clear, much smarter than we humans give them credit for.