The Information Is In The Energy

Perhaps on a drive through prime horse country you’ve found yourself taken by the view of gleaming, magnificently muscled horses grazing contentedly within fenced in fields presided over by stately barns and manor. Some of these horses are worth many hundreds of thousands of dollars as would of course befit such multi-million dollar equestrian complexes.  And some of these horses are so prized because due to the finest breeding and the finest training they are capable of clearing five and six foot rails, with a rider on their back to boot. Now there’s so much about animals we take for granted that except for the grandeur of the vista before us, we might not give such a scene a second’s thought.  But nevertheless it might prove fruitful to ask, since the fences are only five and sometimes even only four feet tall, and if our current theories of animal cognition are true (i.e. animals can think as in compare relative points of view so as to problem solve and improve their lot in life), then why don’t these superb equine athletes simply jump out? After all the grass is always greener and they regularly see other horses ride by and which prompts them to run excitedly to the fence line as they are of course herd animals. And then no doubt they’ve seen deer regularly hop in and out of the field in order to get the grain they miss, yet they always stop short. In fact, even were the field to be cribbed to the nub and the place deserted, I expect we would find horses starving to death with the green, green grass of life standing undisturbed just out of muzzle range. In other words, if our current theories of the animal mind and learning are correct, one would have to suppose that a trainer must have trained them not to jump out, as for example most trainers and behaviorists advise puppy owners that they have to train their little cubs not to bite. (Curiously, every day I work with highly aggressive dogs that were trained from day one not to bite, yet I’ve raised many shepherds from bloodlines selected for the capacity for biting and never trained them as pups not to bite human flesh, and as adults in police/protection programs actually encouraged it, and now that I think about it, I also never taught my children not to rob banks or bop people over the head and take their wallets when they run out of money.)

About ten years ago we adopted two horses, “Maggie” and “Guinness” and we kept them for another five years. Guinness was a retired hunter/jumper and was a really big gelding at 16 & ½ hands. He was trained to leap six foot rails. Living at the end of a dead end road, we used to let Guinness and Maggie roam the property at will as it seemed wasteful to mow the thick grass on our front and back lawns without giving them first dibs. And to prevent them from leaving our property which was otherwise surrounded by low walls and dense thickets on a steep hillside, I laid a skinny pole across the two low stone walls on either side of the dirt road that turns into our driveway. The rail was about three feet off the ground and Guinness would walk up to the rail and leaning as far as he could stretch, munch the grass on the other side of the rail. Even though he could have easily stepped over the obstacle without even having to jump, he never took it upon himself to walk over that rail and be on his way to an excellent grazing adventure. Now bear in mind that Agi had ridden him up and down that road on many occasions, and he and Maggie once got out at night when Guinness “picked” the latch on the stall door and then in abject panic they ran up and down the road before their thundering hooves woke the dogs and alerted me to what was going on. But when he was out in the yard, as long as I had the pole securely wedged into some rocks so that his weight wouldn’t knock it down, I never feared he would step over and be on his way.  It truly was an incongruent sight, a huge horse trained to jump high fences, stymied by a rail that only reached to his knees.

The reason my toll gate worked is that Guinness did not “know” how to jump a fence, no matter how many thousands of fences he may have cleared, and even though it would seem he understood how to pick a stall gate latch in order to let himself out so that he could then get out and do what he wanted to do. And it couldn’t be that he was “smart” about gate latches but “stupid” about low fence rails, a self-contradicting logic loop especially because there are probably a million horses just like him that are kept securely behind fences and yet are stabled each night with a chain guard or snap to lock their stall gate tight. Rather, no matter how high a horse can jump or how many jumping exercises and competitions a horse has mastered, a horse has no IDEA, no self-contained knowledge IN ITS BRAIN to which it can autonomously and independently access in order to solve problems. The animal mind is an energy circuit that literally and physically plugs its body into its surroundings. The external environment IS part of its mind because it is essential to a feeling. Therefore, a horse knows by FEEL—not by reason, concept or thought—How, When, Where, What and Why to jump.

This feeling is a state of rapport with its rider and if we consider more closely what composes a feeling of rapport, we find that it is made of a state of attraction, alignment and amplification. In other words, the information on how to jump a fence is not in Guinness’ brain, it’s in the feeling, the other half of which is in the rider on its back.

One of the key components of a feeling is a degree-of-intensity (like the amount of energy an engine supplies to a drive train) so that unless that specific degree of intensity is recapitulated BY EXTERNAL INPUTS (such as the weight of rider, the tight bit in mouth, the squeeze of rider’s leg on chest, a sense of compressed space before the fence, etc, etc.) and then AMPLIFIED to a level of energy  that can surmount the degree of resistance of a six foot fence it is confronted with, then the physical memory of what jumping a fence feels like remains unavailable to its mind and the horse doesn’t know how to jump a fence. A horse has no idea, it has a feeling. In short, the information is in the energy.

So the reason we don’t have to teach dogs not to bite human beings or kids not to rob banks (or horses not to jump over pasture fences) is because over the course of their emotional development we have allowed them to learn what to do with their energy in the direction that we can align with and then amplify to full intensity. This cultivated expression of innate talent then becomes the How, What, When, Where and Why of how they focus their energy. Anything else just wouldn’t feel right.

Published March 21, 2011 by Kevin Behan
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47 responses to “The Information Is In The Energy”

  1. Alwynne says:

    Ha! My dog Pundit loves most in all the world jumping off a dock after a ball, stick, or person jumping in. But he can not– CAN NOT –jump in without one of these triggers. He has figured out how to throw his own ball into the water with his mouth so he can jump in after it but he needs that feeling of following the movement of something else to get in the water. Once some friends on a boat dropped a floating bumper into the water and we tried to get Pundit, who was on the dock with us, to retrieve it to no avail (since it was already in the water it did not give him the feeling of wanting to jump in) — until our old dog Ubi, who had mostly retired from jumping and swimming at that point, gave him an annoyed look, jumped in, and swam out to retrieve it for us.

  2. Christine says:

    So then, how is it that Duncan has figured out that he can jump the 5 ft fence surrounding the yard when there is a snow bank on the other side? He doesn’t jump it in the summer time. The other two don’t follow him. Granted, the fence is reduced to 3-4 ft with a good snow pack but still the other two don’t follow him. He doesn’t jump the fence on the back side, though I’m sure he would if he could think about it. He only jumps out on the side facing the street and, if I’m quick enough, I can get him back just by opening the door to the house. He even caught his foot in it at one point and that discouraged him for awhile but he’s back jumping the fence again. The snow bank has diminished in size and I’ve shoveled it down and away from the fence a bit but I still don’t leave him out in the yard when I’m gone; I put him in the kennel. What’s up with that anyway?

  3. kbehan says:

    The elements of the answer are in your question as the only possible explanation is that it takes a certain degree of stimulation, i.e. that which is provided by the street vista and nowhere else, relative to a degree of resistance, i.e. the lowered height of the fence due to the snow pack, for Duncan to be able to FEEL that the access channel is open. If a dog could think, then he should be able to climb the fence at any place in the snow bound yard, and the other dogs should automatically follow suit through the powers of simple deduction that are typically accorded to dogs the way canine cognition is currently being entertained. (I should also note that it’s typical that dogs that learn to climb out of things were inadequately contained as pups in that a barrier was incrementally increased as their level of enthusiasm relative to an inadequate barrier, overwhelmed the containment and then the barrier is gradually increased which is inadvertently strengthening the feeling to escape so that eventually the dog no longer recognizes any fence as a barrier. Another example of this is that my neighbor’s dog “Cousy” will climb or squeeze her way into my fenced yard, but then won’t be able to get out, even for many hours. She barks until I open the gate.) One year we had four feet of snow in the yard and I should have taken a picture of my dogs sitting on the snow looking out over the five foot fence as I was moving dogs around in front of them. Like Guinness they had no idea they could have easily stepped over the one foot “riser.” I’m working on another article which might please the scientifically minded as I will offer a statistical verification of this observation.

  4. Milo says:

    Kevin, we used to groom for a show jumper on the east side of the USA and we used to leave the stable door hooked back and just put a lead rope tied across their stable door way, and they never once went through the rope, even when they knew their feed was on the way.

    Our own dogs have never jumped out of our garden, but we took on a foster Siberian Husky, who was a notorious escape artist, for a while and he escaped twice just by jumping straight out over the solid fence or gate having not even knowing what was on the other side. So is this a learned condition? Is he happy to jump any solid fence (6 foot high) because he has done it in the past, bearing in mind that he had never been to our house before so did not know what was around. The only factor that is consistent between our house and his own was that they are within 1/2 a mile of each other, so is he actually still feeling the local environment and the draw of its energy? He has moved to a home 30 miles away to near the coast and has not escaped once! (and the fences are still only 6 foot tall!)

    Milo

  5. Christine says:

    I knew that he was “feeling” open access in some way; thanks for clarifying that. My next question would be: how do I discourage this? I want to feel safe knowing that he’s contained in my yard while I’m at work. Right now I watch him when I let him out in the a.m. and, when he looks like he’s heading for the fence, I knock on the window. That interrupts his feeling of access and then I call them inside through the back door. Is there something else I should be doing? I prefer to not contain him in the kennel if I can avoid it.

  6. kbehan says:

    There is the mechanics of training, and your management device may in the long haul prove adequate, but the real issue is that you “feel” (as in sense/think as this is not a true feeling) “contained” when Duncan is in the kennel. Our dog is how our heart works. So for example, when a dog feels free, he could care less when he is kenneled because he still feels that that current state of denial is in reality an access channel to the release from compression. It’s the prelude to something good happening. Every time I call my dogs to come indoors away from a new dog I’m going to work with that’s just arrived, they race to be first to the door because in their minds getting locked up is the necessary prelude to getting back out and connecting with that dog. The organism can’t experience a state of release without first being in a state of tension/compression so this is a natural cycle in the learning process. The state of compression when on the continuum of a feeling is energizing not containing, like a sprinter getting all psyched up to explode from the starting blocks. The sprinter feels that incredible state of body tension as empowering, not limiting because he’s successfully channeled his body/mind into the race. So the real problem is that Duncan is holding back energy, and overcoming the resistance of the fence is how he seeks relief from that, that’s what he knows and this also connects him to you since it garners all your attention. If Duncan were to give you all his energy when you want it in the “hunt,” then the fence won’t be construed as limiting but empowering. But for now don’t concentrate on fixing the dog, do the management thing, and then just trace down the sensations related to being contained so that you reconnect with the state of vulnerability which is the root of emotion, the seed of all true feelings.

  7. Jenya says:

    Makes me wonder how many metaphorical fences we humans don’t jump because we don’t “know” how! 🙂

  8. Cliff says:

    Our previous dog would never leave the yard– even though the “fence” was only about 18 inches high, mostly made out of old vinyl garden netting and full of holes. Occasionally a neighbor’s dog would get loose, jump into the yard to play with her, and jump out again when he got tired. She never followed. Except when she jumped out to get to a raccoon– that turned out to be rabid. No wonder she thought it needed tending to, but then she couldn’t figure out how to get back in until i showed up and opened the gate.

    By the way, the idea that the Pasteur series of rabies shots for humans are wicked painful is a myth. They hurt no more than any small-needle shot on the upper hip. The only real pain was the expense.

  9. Annie says:

    I have been wondering about an observation I have had; Kevin’s remark on an animal feeling “contained” and in a state of

    tension/compression made me think of the times I”m walking my dog in the rain or severely cold weather, and I have a coat that wraps

    snugly around his body, with a velcro strap under the belly….he’s a big, powerful dog, Pit-Mix and has a tendency to pull and strain when I

    walk him. Unless he is wearing the coat, which seems to calm him down and keep him close to me. Having taught autistic and special needs

    children, this reminds me of the “hug vest”, a weighted vest that some of the children wear to help them feel grounded….am I off-base? Is

    there a similar principle at work here?

  10. kbehan says:

    That’s a good observation. Any displacement of an animal’s consciousness, creates a “force” of ATTRACTION, so one takes their dog outside and the stimulation of all the sensory input makes him strain for the horizon. Such a dog is “in his head” (because output has to equal input, i.e. maintain balance). But in order to feel “grounded”—– i.e. feeling physically connected to what it has projected its “self” into—-it must be in its body. When feeling physically connected as an emotional counterbalance, induces a state of emotional suspension, and which can only arise from the body. The body turns ATTRACTION into ALIGNMENT and then AMPLIFICATION (which leads to synchronized action which is the essence of sociability). In this state, energy is moving smoothly in the dog’s perception (feeling of flow in the heart) of what’s going on and now; output (action) doesn’t have to equal input (sensory stimulation). The disparity of having to hold back is merely perceived as more flow because the dog now integrates the movement of that to which it feels connected (i.e. the handler) as adding more energy to its system and so holding back to maintain alignment, is energizing rather than unsettling. So yes, the vest must be putting him in his body and then he can feel how to align and synchronize with you to amplify the feeling of flow so that it becomes the strongest aspect of his perception and experience, rather than the condition of output not equaling input, i.e. he isn’t able to run as fast as he would like to off/lead given the excitement of going for a walk. Hope this clarifies despite the jargon, just want to lay it out schematically.
    (Also, while we’re on the subject of dog negotiating busy city streets with their handler, in today’s NY Times –> http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/23/how-sports-may-focus-the-brain/ a report on an intriguing study which in my mind speaks to the difference between someone having cultivated the habit of “being in their body” versus someone with the habit of “being in their head” and their relative capacity to synchronize with the moving elements of their surroundings.)

  11. Christine says:

    I always wondered why I was more energized and focused when my son would have a seizure; this helps in my understanding of that phenomena. Also, Bodie and I participated in a 2-day seminar on T-Touch a while back . I was amazed at how clearly effected he was behaviorally just by having an ace bandage wrapped strategically around him. He was noticeably calmer and better able to contain himself as opposed to me having to impose composure on him by commands, etc. I’m a believer!

  12. Annie says:

    Thanks for the explanation, Kevin…and for your comment, Christine…I always like a little jargon to sizzle my brain! It makes sense, and I

    think I will experiment with a lighter vest in the summer. I read through the NY Times article and it’s good food for thought….the doorman in

    my building just described a car accident that he was in, as he was driving to work; luckily, he was not hurt, nor was anyone else involved.

    He thinks he may have dozed off and hit a wall,going over a bridge. He stressed to me that he didn’t feel tired, and can’t really remember

    nodding off. I suspect he was “in his head”, to use your phrase. In such a state, driving a familiar route, one can go on

    Autopilot and lose track of surroundings. I am becoming more aware of this and alternating my dog’s route when we are going to go to the

    dogrun. He crowds behind me and nudges my hand or leg to try to turn me, but eventually settles in to his detour in a cooperative, if

    resigned way!

  13. Christine says:

    You are such a dear man sensai…I must say Thank You!! I’m connecting so many dots these days and feeling so empowered; I’m convinced that you have been a major contributing factor in my rebirth and reconnection. I am beginning to feel that sensation of being “in my body” instead of living always “in my head”. I can now see/feel resistance and it’s energizing and so I am better able to understand the fence issue with Duncan (and other human relationships). I would not have overcome my current state of impasse (or, more accurately, my current progress in overcoming) without your input along with your very valuable and insightful book “Your Dog is Your Mirror”. I want you to know what a powerful and positive impact you have on, not just dogs, but people as well. Thank you from the deepest, darkest places in me!

  14. PowerRanger says:

    The animal mind is actually a product of the brain and the environment is not part of the mind. It’s just the environment, why are you imbuing magical properties onto thing when a naturalistic explanation suffices? The external is not essential to a feeling. That’s just ridiculous, endogenously generated ‘feelings’ are part of every animal’s existence. And the knowledge comes from training – maybe you should look up Cavalettis which is one way to train horses.

  15. kbehan says:

    Thanks for weighing in and so please offer the “naturalistic explanation” for why a horse that can clear six foot fences in a show ring and pick the latch on its stall gate, will run up to a pasture fence as for example when another horse rides past (not to mention that the grass is greener compared to the nubbed down chaff that passes for grass in its paddock), and not jump said fence even though it is significantly lower than six feet. Also, I’m interested in understanding why a feeling-as-part-of-the-environment is a magical explanation. For example, try talking to someone about something that is placed somewhere in the vicinity without turning your head in its direction the more strongly you emote about said something? This is the animal mind as a function of feeling and as a projection into the environment that then exerts an unconscious influence on the intellectual frame of reference. In short, a feeling IS a place. So for example if I lose something, I go to the last place I can remember having it, and this often triggers the memory of exactly what I did with it. Sometimes I will have dropped the thing and I remember a sound that sure enough was the thing hitting the floor but which at the time I didn’t pay any attention to. The environment as bracketing frame for a feeling is also why athletes experience a home field advantage which doesn’t make any sense since they can think, they are highly trained, and they are rewarded with millions of dollars to perform on command no matter where they play. Finally, this is also why a dog will come to its name indoors, but not outdoors. It can’t feel the owner outdoors when at a higher level of intensity.

  16. Annie says:

    I’m not a behaviorist or trainer, however, I can’t understand the statement that the “external is not essential to feeling”; are not all beings associative,

    basing behaviors/actions on the synthesis of the internal and external? How can they be separated? Btw, try explaining to my dog each time he

    goes to the vets and sits in the office, that it’s actually only his first time. It’s all in his mind, right? In this case, the place would be the feeling, would it

    not?

  17. Cliff says:

    “…this is also why a dog will come to its name indoors, but not outdoors. It can’t feel the owner outdoors when at a higher level of intensity.” Actually, Lenny has started to recall more reliably outdoors since we’ve been “working”. Sometimes, I just need to only look at him, and he comes trotting up. If he’s distracted, then I use his name. Will this be 100% reliable? In the face of Big Distractions? We’ll see. Wax on/wax off…

  18. Rick Delgado says:

    With regards to teaching or not teaching dogs not to bite humans, we do train puppies not to bite. When they are puppies and they use their little puppy teeth on us, we tell them “NO,” or give them a sound like “Ahh Ahh.” We go through their puppyhood reinforcing this to them until they get it. With that said, puppies grow into adult dogs, and even though they have grown up to know that they shouldn’t bite people, they still could. There is no reason why they couldn’t, and in some instances, they do bite people. This is very rare, even though when it does happen, the media lets everyone know about it and it may seem like it happens way too often.

    So, what is it that makes a dog bite? Like you have said, it’s the energy. In normal day to day interactions, your dog’s energy is such that there is no trigger for a dog to bite. The reasons dogs do bite is fear, or escalating aggression. The words fear and aggression are enough to raise your energy right now. These triggers change the energy in a dog, which can cause that dog to bite.

    So, for the same reason a horse does not have the trigger in its energy to jump a fence when they do it in competition all the time, dogs normally don’t bite because they don’t get the energetic trigger to do it, even though they could at any time.

  19. kbehan says:

    Good points but I would argue that it’s not necessary to teach a puppy not to bite and by this I mean that if one doesn’t put the pup in the position where he will be stimulated to bite, then as the pup matures and gets to make prey on that which we want him to make prey on, that automatically takes care of the issue (and most importantly, without any negative side effects0. For example, young kids run at full speed into their parents and wrap them in a full body hug, but then they naturally outgrow this joyous urge without training and so we don’t see twenty year olds running and slamming into their parents. When children learn what to do with their energy, then it doesn’t feel right to act in ways that don’t feel right to others. I find it compelling that so many owners these days are specifically training their pups not to bite in a prescribed and organized way, and yet aggression is far worse today than years ago. So I would argue that training puppies not to bite increases fear and aggression. To elaborate on this point further, in my model aggression (like any problem behavior) is “ungrounded energy” and the chief and prime organ of grounding, is the oral urge. So if this is allowed its full expression in appropriate contexts, then over the course of maturation it evolves into a whole body sensuality which then serves as a more advanced grounding mechanism so that the mature dog doesn’t feel an urge to use its jaws. It can feel grounded on sight and just by being near someone. A dog that has this deep faculty of grounding cultivated through its development, can be highly energized and provoked by all kinds of what might be triggering agents, and yet, still not bite because it doesn’t feel right.
    And in regards to the term trigger, that is in effect saying that the information is in the energy. The trigger has no energy with out the neurochemical activity of the nervous system accompanied by subsequent bodily reactions, but the neurochemical energy has no value without the trigger as the organizing principle of its activity (I would also add that the bodily responses add value to the trigger as well as in whether or not the animal feels in counterbalance with another being relative to the trigger). Thus the mind and the environment are inseparable. The horse has no “idea” how to jump a fence, no matter how many fences it has jumped, just as a cat has no “idea” how to catch a mouse no matter how many mice it catches.

  20. Milo says:

    If you put a horse who show jumps in a coral made up using show jumps it will not jump out of the coral. Hunters who jump natural fences, even post and rail paddock fences into and out of their own field with a rider on, will not then jump out of their own field when turned out in that same field a half hour later.

    We had a mare who used to bring her self in when left out in the fields after other horses had been brought in, but that was because she got over-excited one time running into the corner of her field. She slid into the fence and it collapsed allowing her through. Even though the fence was replaced she then would just jump the new fence, but only to bring herself in when the others were brought in and not at any other time. Her attraction was to the other horses and not the need to jump the fence.

    Milo

  21. kbehan says:

    It’s amazing. Millions of dollars are being spent on building animal cognition labs and designing complex experiments in order to plumb the depths of animal consciousness and in the hope of answering a central question at the core of all others, what is an animal’s sense of its “self?” And yet every day horses, cats and dogs do things with which we’re all familiar and which make perfect sense once one sees that an animal’s sense of a self isn’t in its brain, but is a function of how Temperament focuses its energy in terms of its surroundings in service to a network agenda. Animal learning is an Auto-Tuning/Feedback Dynamic that self-organizes according to emotional capacity in conformance to the principle of emotional conductivity. And so each day these everyday behaviors in horses, cats and dogs plainly contradict the complex intellectual interpretations of these behavioral experiments (not to mention the science on learning) that will then be heralded in major media outlets around the world and which will prompt researchers to design new experiments that will no doubt demonstrate that animals think just like we do. In the meantime as we laypeople wait for the next intellectual breakthrough from the Oracle, my hope is that every time you drive past the sight of a 1,000 pound animal capable of stupendous feats of acrobatic mastery grazing contentedly within the confines of its measly little pasture, you can now smile at the wonder of this. Thinking Is The Box. Keep On Pushing!

  22. PowerRanger says:

    No, you have it wrong. A lack an explanation won’t make your premise correct. A naturalistic explanation has stand on it’s own, it is not dependent on what I or anybody else can come up with. I think you need to research what it means to have a naturalistic explanation.

    “Feeling-as-part-of-the-environment” is semantic gobeldygook, it a projection of your faith, not a naturalistic explanation. Your little tale is not universal, and it doesn’t illustrate anything other than our facility when it comes to pointing, a trait shared by other apes. And everything humans do is the animal mind. A feeling is not a place, a feeling is just a feeling, that’s it. No more. You can dissect it more into a biochemical or describe the region of the brain – that’s a naturalistic explanation. Your ideas fall closer on the side of mysticism and metaphysics.

    Your example of lost items is really far removed from reality. Rather than have me explain it to you (and possibly mess it up) read up on the research. While cog sci is still new, it has a good explanation for this. A TESTABLE, VERIFIABLE, & FALSIFIABLE explanation. IOW a naturalistic and scientific explanation.

    A horse can and will jump over a fence. Most won’t. It is an individual trait that cannot be ascribed to emotional magic powers that fly from one animal (human) to another. The fact that most are stymied by vertical obstacles only shows that there was no evolutionary pressure to select for cognitive modules to solve such a problem. Given that they evolved in grasslands it is not surprising. It’s one of those self-contradicting logic loop that you are fond of projecting onto everyone else that respects science.

    That animals think is a experimentally proven fact. Human animals think and every other animal is part of the same evolutionary family. All sharing the same basic cognitive framework. The only difference is how much, what kind and what specialties we posses.

    Why don’t dogs climb ladders? Or walk on tight-wire? For the same reason horses don’t do vertical jumps. It is not a natural behavior. You are confusing physical ability with cognitive ability and motivational impetus. In both cases they have to be taught.

    Finally, this is not true “this is also why a dog will come to its name indoors, but not outdoors.” So this means that this conclusion is also not true “It can’t feel the owner outdoors when at a higher level of intensity.”

  23. kbehan says:

    No, I feel I have it right. ALL trained jumpers ARE taught to jump vertical objects (unlike dogs that haven’t been trained to climb ladders or walk tight wires so I don’t see what adding that element contributes to the dissection of the matter) and yet NONE jump out of paddock/pasture/field. It has nothing to do with individual traits. Also, why isn’t the “cognitive module” I-Can-Jump-High-Fence available for problem solving if horse is capable of thought, i.e. comparing one moment or point of view to another as in Greener-Grass-relative-to-Lower-Fence? A cognitive module isn’t available for a green-grass-low-hurdle problem?
    Next, how is thinking part of the part of the same evolutionary family? To make such a statement you (or someone somewhere has published the breakthrough) must be able to articulate the first thought and then can trace its developing complexity to full blown intellectual cognition, which should be easy to do given that “the only difference is how much, what kind and what specialties” are in the possession of any given individual.
    < >

  24. Milo says:

    Surely if a horse used thought it would not starve to death in a field with no grass, when there is a field it can see next to it with grass in it and the only thing between it and the life giving food is a 4 foot high post and rail fence? There have been several high profile cases in the UK of horses starving to death due too negligence, where there is either grass in another field that the horses can see or even stacks of hay protected by a single tape fence in the corner of the horse’s own field, but in all cases the horse has not crossed the fence. They have not been taught to stay where they are put, they just do it. If they are capable of thought why would they not save them selves?

  25. Christine says:

    PowerRanger…you give a great deal of credence to TESTABLE, VERIFIABLE, & FALSIFIABLE notions. Please, then, elucidate further and provide the evidence for your arguments. Just sayin’…

  26. PowerRanger says:

    You don’t have it right. While rare, there are natural escape artists that won’t be contained by a fence. That kills any argument that you have about ’emotion’

    Again, the evidence is that they do think and they can problem solve – it doesn’t mean they can solve all problems. Any claim to the contrary is ludicrous. I could easily claim that you (general you) can’t think because because you can’t solve the Goldbach conjecture.

  27. kbehan says:

    But you’re not addressing the core point. No horse trained to jump, jumps out of fence, yet many of these pick stall gate locks. An emotional model can easily accommodate this phenomenon whereas the current science on animal behavior cannot.

  28. PowerRanger says:

    That’s false, as I replied there are some natural born escape artists that do jump out their enclosure without being trained to do so. Some also learn they can escape once they are taught to jump. Your white swan hypothesis is destroyed by the existence of black swans. Since you didn’t grow up on horse country, you should refrain from making claims about stuff you don’t know about. Go to any horse forum and you will find many stories of such escapes

    Also the retort to evolution doesn’t make sense unless you don’t understand evolution.

    ===

    http://www.horse-sense.org/archives/2000012.php

    From: Sherry

    Hi! I’m a brand new subscriber & I’ve searched your archives, but didn’t find the answer to my question.

    We bought a 2-yr old filly 3 weeks ago. She’s in a paddock with other yearlings & 2-yr-olds and is gradually becoming accepted as one of the group. She appears relaxed & confident in the herd. BUT, yesterday she jumped a 4.5 foot high board fence to get in with a mare & foal. No-one saw her do it, but there isn’t a mark on her or the fence. And the gate was untampered with. I don’t think that the other horses ‘forced’ her over – I think it was her own ‘idea’. The day after we got her, she was in a paddock with our other horse, but wanted to be with the youngsters, so she jumped the fence (only about 3.5 feet high). Luckily, the area she jumped into did not get her to where she wanted to be (thus, no gratification), so I thought it was just a one-time occurance. Ha!

    The farm we bought her from also had a weanling that looked very much like the youngster she jumped in with. We board her & can’t take the chance that she’ll jump in with the stallion or worse, out into the road. How, other than putting up a much higher fence, can we keep her from doing this? I don’t believe that a horse should be stalled all the time – she needs to be outside where she can play & socialize. But she also can’t be supervised every minute of the day where we currently board. I can’t believe that she’s doing this – and she’s so little; only about 13.2 HH. What can we do?

    Thanks, in advance, for your advice!

    Sherry

    Hi Sherry, welcome to HORSE-SENSE! You’re right that you can’t take the chance of her jumping in with the stallion or out into the road; you may also be right that she jumped in with a horse that looked familiar to her. And you are absolutely right about her needing to be outside to play and socialize. That’s the good news. 😉

    The bad news is that most horses never even think of jumping out of a paddock or field, which is why we can get away with keeping most horses behind low fences. SOME horses think of it, and try it, and do it — and these horses are best off behind higher fences that aren’t so easy to pop over. I do understand what you are going through; I have two such horses, one of which jumped a low fence (4 or 4.5 feet) to join another weanling when she was just six months old! The only solution that worked for these horses was the five-and-a-half foot woven V-mesh fence with a board on top.

    The day came, however, when I had to move both mares to another farm, and at the new farm the fences were only four and a half feet high. The old mare jumped in and out a few times; the younger one didn’t even bother to try, and they’ve both stayed in the field for the last several years. I think that what changed their attitude wwas that it’s a very NICE field, large enough to move around in, and with a good deal of grass to eat — they simply don’t have any REASON to jump out. However, I also know that both mares know perfectly well that they can pop over the fence whenever they are inspired to do so, and someday, something may inspire them again. Because of the way this farm is set up, I’m willing to exchange the nice field for the risk of them jumping out of it. If they were still jumping in and out, though, I would need to put them behind a fence that would make the jumping option less appealing.

    What I’m saying is that you are going to have to weigh your options. Your filly may settle in with her new companions and become a douce citizen, staying in her field until someone comes to take her out of it — or she may NOT. If the field borders the road, or if the stallion is behind an equally low fence, you might have to board her somewhere else, where the fencing is more suitable to your needs. If this particular facility is the best one available, and you’ll be trading better fencing for not-as-good management, you’ll have to think very hard indeed.

    Sometimes people in your situation try to deal with this problem by adding a single strand of electric wire (“hot-wire”) above and inside the top of the existing fence, and this — once the horse has “met” the wire — can sometimes discourage jumping.

    It’s a real problem, and I don’t have a definitive answer for you. Hobbling a young horse isn’t a valid option; neither is confining her to a stall. You may be able to keep her outdoors and active if there is an extra stallion paddock with stallion fencing, but she would be alone unless you put another youngster in with her, and that may not be practical even if an extra stallion enclosure IS available.

    She’s probably best off in her current surroundings: turned out in a large field with a few companions of her own age. But having said that, you WILL need to be careful now that you know how easily she jumps out. You may need to turn her out for half-days while she is still adjusting to her new surroundings, and keep an eye on her until you are reasonably certain that she’s settling in and making friends; at that point, she may lose interest in jumping out of her field. But it’s a possibility that will always exist, and that you’ll have to keep in mind for as long as you own her. Being little and young just means that she’ll get bigger and stronger as she grows older — she won’t forget how to jump, although she may not choose to exercise that option. 🙁

    This will have one good effect for YOU: just in case you ever start your own farm, you’ll know precisely why it’s wise to put up fences that are stallion-safe, foal-safe, and silly-jumping-horse safe; just as it’s wise to buy a trailer that will accomodate the largest horse you might ever have occasion to haul in it. If you begin with low fences and small trailers, you can’t ADD to their height a few years later when you see a reason for it — instead, you have to do it all over again, which is much more expensive (and very annoying).

    Jessica

  29. kbehan says:

    This is a good exchange, I hope it can continue in the spirit of two lawyers arguing the finer points of the law. My minor point is that it’s amazing that ALL horses don’t jump out of paddocks, pastures and fields given that they are physically capable of doing so. My major point is that even a horse trained to jump will NOT jump over the pasture fence, and in fact I predict is less likely to be a fence jumper than an untrained horse. Meanwhile, I’m well aware that there are escape artists (although the few hundred horses I’ve known personally have never manifested this trait) but I’ve known my share of dogs that can tunnel out of or scale over absolutely any fence. Surely there are wild mustangs that will leap over a blow down that traps them in a canyon. So the question is not whether a horse can somehow learn how to get over a fence, I’m arguing that this “knowledge” is only available as a function of an intensity value. (Even in the examples you’re citing, there had to be a strong attraction for the horse to jump out, the question remains will it ever generalize to just getting out for the grass, or just for the sake of curiosity which is what an intellectually driven mind would demand?) The question then is how does this learning typically occur with dogs? Many puppy owners put a flimsy gate up to contain their pet, and in its exuberance it knocks over the gate, at which point they reinforce it, but not nearly enough to be absolutely durable, just enough so that sure enough in a few weeks the now bigger dog’s exuberance knocks that barrier over as well. After just a few of these incidents, if the dog perceives any give in an obstacle, it will persevere to the point that it will pull its own teeth out. I’ve known one dog that chewed through the walls of its house. (I would bet that something analogous happened with Sherry’s horse, it became overstimulated by a weak barrier and its weight carried it through, or it hopped over a low bar, and then it became uncontainable.) So what’s amazing is that horses TRAINED to jump, are not able to transfer that simple lesson to a related problem which they should be able to do if rudimentary linear reasoning, as in comparing one moment or point of view to another, were a part of their intellectual capacity. If horses used intellectual acuity to navigate their way through the world, then all trained jumpers should have to be confined behind insurmountable fences.
    Another example of the point I’m making. My father kept cows and we used electric fencing to contain them in the unfenced areas. The young calves would grow up going under the lower strand of wire that had to be high enough so that it wouldn’t be grounded out by weeds and the high growth every other week. As they grew larger and started to brush against the charged wire, they simply attuned to the shock and kept getting out when they apparently got hungry enough for the greener grass. The adults never did, but the calves that grew up in this way, were notorious for “monitoring” the electric fence. When the intensity of their hunger outweighed the intensity of the shock, they went through the electric fence which slid over their backs but they could care less and didn’t even react. The other cows could never learn by their example and yet amazingly however, even so, 99% of the time the calves once adult, left it alone. They had to recapitulate that intensity value of feeling attracted to the green forage strongly enough, for that “lesson” to become available in their mind.

  30. kbehan says:

    To put a sharper point on it, the behavior of animals is intelligent, but reveals the distinction between emotional and intellectual intelligence. The human intellect compares one thing to another thing and this allows it to generate billions of concepts, all of which operates under the umbrella of Time: thus it is a “relativity machine.” Whereas emotional intelligence is a function of “capacity” with an internal structure organized around the perception of a push/pull toward the direction of flow. Thus we don’t see horses testing their weight against the resistance of the fence, a flimsy restraint they could easily walk through. They need to acquire an imprint of fence (either by happenstance or via organized training) as part of the flow dynamic in order to surmount it, otherwise it remains as an immutable object which is why it is so easy to restrain horses behind flimsy fencing. On the other hand, we see children at a very young age constantly comparing the force they are able to generate, as well as taking the measure of their weight relative to other objects. So kids stand on rocks seeing if they can tip them by their weight, or they try to pick things up to test how strong they are, and this can be strictly out of an intellectual curiosity of comparing one thing to another rather than for the inherent flow value of feeling a rock move. Animals do similar behaviors to be sure, but for the flow value of movement and not for the sake of comparing one thing to another thing. Being such intellectual beings, we are prone to misinterpret these similar behaviors as being due to intellectual curiosity thereby missing the fundamental distinction between the intellectual intelligence and emotional capacity (the ability to feel the potential for flow).

  31. Christine says:

    Which is why we are stewards of the earth and not “just another animal”

  32. PowerRanger says:

    To summarize the points to far.

    In the essay you write
    “But nevertheless it might prove fruitful to ask, since the fences are only five and sometimes even only four feet tall, and if our current theories of animal cognition are true (i.e. animals can think as in compare relative points of view so as to problem solve and improve their lot in life), then why don’t these superb equine athletes simply jump out? ”

    A disingenuous question, like ‘have you stopped beating your wife’, it is based on false premise that is stated as a fact. They do jump out. And our current view of animal cognition is also true in as far as the data allows such for such things, but in this way it is no different than any other scientific model. This question also presumes that all intelligence is the same. Different problems require different heuristic modules, you are misrepresenting intelligence as a monolithic singular trait when if fact it is specific. Using your views we could argue that humans also don’t think.

    You then continue with:

    “In other words, if our current theories of the animal mind and learning are correct, one would have to suppose that a trainer must have trained them not to jump out”

    Again this is a conclusion based around several unproven assumptions. There could be a number of reasons, some I mention below.

    “It truly was an incongruent sight, a huge horse trained to jump high fences, stymied by a rail that only reached to his knees.”

    This is not incongruent at all. Horses break legs. Horses are easily spooked since that evolutionary response keeps them alive. Horses evolved in prairies. There is more, but those alone are enough elucidate the behavior. Recapitulate

    “And it couldn’t be that he was “smart” about gate latches but “stupid” about low fence rails”

    No but it could be that without the cues, the behavior is not elicited. There is also the aspect of generalization which you fail to consider. So it is not self contradicting at all. I can think of examples where humans are smart about the ‘high’ gate and stupid about the ‘low’. I’m sure you can too.

    “In other words, the information on how to jump a fence is not in Guinness’ brain, it’s in the feeling, the other half of which is in the rider on its back”

    The example with Sherry’s 2 year old filly put that idea in the grave.

    “This is a good exchange, I hope it can continue in the spirit of two lawyers arguing the finer points of the law.”

    I’m afraid that’s where we disagree. To me this is about nonscience and science. No amount of rhetoric can turn a nonfact into a fact. If scientific facts were determined by lawyers, this would be a terrible place.

    “My minor point is that it’s amazing that ALL horses don’t jump out of paddocks, pastures and fields given that they are physically capable of doing so.”

    You are moving the goal posts – also a Billy Bragg song – going back on what you wrote; “why don’t these superb equine athletes simply jump out?” You’ve gone from ‘why don’t ALL jump out?’ to ‘why only SOME jump out?’

    “My major point is that even a horse trained to jump will NOT jump over the pasture fence, and in fact I predict is less likely to be a fence jumper than an untrained horse.”

    Weather it is more or less likely I won’t speculate. I am true to the data and I won’t comment on quantity without data. However, trainers have been putting unwanted behavior under stimulus control in order to prevent it from happening unless cued. This fits well within our current understanding of behavior.

    “So the question is not whether a horse can somehow learn how to get over a fence, I’m arguing that this “knowledge” is only available as a function of an intensity value.”

    Yes sir, You can argue that, though it seems like a semantic shell-game and not very informative at all, specially given that we can’t measure this intensity so we don’t know it’s value or even how it functions.

    “(Even in the examples you’re citing, there had to be a strong attraction for the horse to jump out,”

    When you write, ‘had to be’, it makes it seem as if that’s the only option. It also makes it seem that you’ve communed with the horse. All we really know is that the horse jumped.

    ” the question remains will it ever generalize to just getting out for the grass, or just for the sake of curiosity which is what an intellectually driven mind would demand?)”

    An intellectually driven mind does not demand that at all. Again, if the animal possesses the cognitive function to make this leap then it happens. I can easily claim that humans can’t think because they don’t generalize from addition to subtraction, multiplication and into negative numbers. When I was taught about additive property of numbers, all the rest (division, multiplication, division, powers and logs) became self evident to me. Unless everyone reading this was able to make this GENERALIZATION, I proclaim that they can’t think. After all, it’s what an intellectually driven mind would demand.

    “So what’s amazing is that horses TRAINED to jump, are not able to transfer that simple lesson to a related problem which they should be able to do if rudimentary linear reasoning, as in comparing one moment or point of view to another, were a part of their intellectual capacity.”

    But they ARE able to transfer that lesson. I’ve seen this discussion on horse forums enough times to know that it does happen with trained jumpers and often enough so that it is not considered a freak event by experienced people.

    “If horses used intellectual acuity to navigate their way through the world, then all trained jumpers should have to be confined behind insurmountable fences.”

    It presumes that all horses have the same intelligence or all have the same capacity to act on their thoughts. It’s like arguing that everyone can become president or win a Nobel Prize. Or understand subtraction, multiplication, division just by being taught addition. And it takes personality out of the equation; most of us know smart people who don’t act on their ideas.

    In your second reply you state that “The human intellect compares one thing to another thing and this allows it to generate billions of concepts'”, but that’s exactly how animals do it too. In fact some marine mammals surpass human abilities in double blind multiple choice matching tests (removing any suggestion cuing). Their performance on visual oddity tests is also not explainable with the ’emotional intelligence’ you are suggesting.

    I have to say that one thing I find annoying about this discussion is you blanket declarations that have turned out to be false in every occasion.Some horses do test their weight on the fence. And after you make these false declarations, you compound the problem by making up an explanation about something that isn’t even true.

    I’ll say one last thing on this. Considering that some of the ‘facts’ you cited were wrong, shouldn’t you be willing to reconsider at least part of your thesis?

  33. Annie says:

    All I can say is wow: you are right. “All intelligence is (certainly not) the same…..

  34. kbehan says:

    Power Ranger: “I’ll say one last thing on this. Considering that some of the ‘facts’ you cited were wrong, shouldn’t you be willing to reconsider at least part of your thesis?”

    KB: No because I think my “horse” will prove to be the one last standing.

    Power Ranger: “This question also presumes that all intelligence is the same.”

    KB: No, In point of fact I’m saying there is a different kind of intelligence (the emotional capacity to feel potential energy) that is separate and distinct from mental, linear reasoning based on comparing one thing to another thing. Emotional capacity is responsible for the intelligence of animals (those with which I’m familiar and I’m eager to explore ravens and dolphin research because I suspect they are being as misinterpreted as the canine experiments) rather than human thinking. So if horses could compare their weight relative to objects of resistance, then their stalls in which they spend countless hours while they observe other horses grazing freely in verdant pastures right outside their stall window, would have to be built as reinforced concrete bunkers, just as human prisons are. Every human inmate, regardless of intelligence quotient, jiggles the bars to see if they’re loose or surveys a fence to see if it’s too high. No cue is needed for the human intellect because they can compare mental memory of freedom to immediate-moment reality of confinement.

    {KB:“In other words, the information on how to jump a fence is not in Guinness’ brain, it’s in the feeling, the other half of which is in the rider on its back”}
    PR: “The example with Sherry’s 2 year old filly put that idea in the grave.”

    KB: No it demonstrates that a different cue (object of attraction attendant with specific intensity of force) was energizing her and that she was still dependent on a cue.

    {KB: “And it couldn’t be that he was “smart” about gate latches but “stupid” about low fence rails”}
    PR: “No but it could be that without the cues, the behavior is not elicited. There is also the aspect of generalization which you fail to consider. So it is not self contradicting at all. I can think of examples where humans are smart about the ‘high’ gate and stupid about the ‘low’. I’m sure you can too.”

    KB: The threshold for arousal will over time become lower and lower due to associating resistance of fence with the feeling of potential energy, and this is why learning in animals is of a generalized nature, and also why a lesson learned is much slower and not transportable into new contexts as is mental linear reasoning in humans. (in other words the trigger as catalyst is absent)
    Furthermore you are in fact saying what I’m saying. If an animal requires a cue to elicit the behavior, and if the trainer can put “unwanted behavior under stimulus control in order to prevent it from happening unless cued” then THE INFORMATION IS IN THE ENERGY not in the brain. And yes, humans are frequently limited by the myopia of a frame of reference, even those constructed by linear reasoning.

    PR: “To me this is about non-science and science. No amount of rhetoric can turn a non-fact into a fact. If scientific facts were determined by lawyers, this would be a terrible place.”

    KB: Currently the so-called facts that inform your “science” are based on the assumption that an animals’ sense of its self is a function of higher cognitive processes. No amount of technical jargon (one cognitive module for this expression of intelligence, another cognitive model for that) can obscure all the self-defeating logic loops that arise from this assumption.

    {KB: “So the question is not whether a horse can somehow learn how to get over a fence, I’m arguing that this “knowledge” is only available as a function of an intensity value.”}
    PR: “Yes sir, You can argue that, though it seems like a semantic shell-game and not very informative at all, specially given that we can’t measure this intensity so we don’t know it’s value or even how it functions.”

    KB: I disagree. We can measure these intensity values as a sheer quantitative net-energy of neurochemical activity and physiological processes. It’s just at the moment given the self-limiting paradigm of animal sense of self as synonymous with brain; in mainstream science the whole body of the animal isn’t being factored into interpretation of experimental results.

    PR: “When you write, ‘had to be’, it makes it seem as if that’s the only option. It also makes it seem that you’ve communed with the horse. All we really know is that the horse jumped.”

    KB: Yes but don’t forget that in your mind, the assumption of a horse as self-contained agency of intelligence is jumping the fence along with the horse. So this isn’t all that you “know” when you claim an objective detachment when observing a horse jumping a fence.

    {KB: “So what’s amazing is that horses TRAINED to jump, are not able to transfer that simple lesson to a related problem which they should be able to do if rudimentary linear reasoning, as in comparing one moment or point of view to another, were a part of their intellectual capacity.”}
    PR: “But they ARE able to transfer that lesson. I’ve seen this discussion on horse forums enough times to know that it does happen with trained jumpers and often enough so that it is not considered a freak event by experienced people.”

    KB: If these incidents weren’t rare, then we wouldn’t see competition horses worth millions of dollars freely grazing in fenced pastures. This rarity is verifiable by a trip to any competition stable. It is also why there is no trainer making the horse training circuit teaching the owners of wayward jumpers how to keep their horses behind fences. It is a symptom of bad horse management (as is problem behavior in dogs) not a feature of equine cognition that has to be dealt with through sophisticated training techniques, as is the case with every other aspect of horsemanship and on which accomplished horse experts make many millions of dollars.

  35. Christine says:

    All ready bored with PowerRanger…same old same old **YAWN**

  36. Ben says:

    I’m not bored! I think these kinds of discussions are great as long as they are kept civil and respectful. In my view you should always stringently question the ideas and theories you’re considering, and this is the exact type of discussion that helps me figure things out. I’m certainly not blindly following Kevin’s theory — I take what he says, compare it to what I learn from mainstream science and what I experience myself in the real world, and then logically deduce what makes the most sense (along with a bit of what “feels right” 🙂 )

  37. Christine says:

    Ben, you and I are in agreement. However, PowerRanger is only arguing and not presenting any facts or supporting evidence for his assertions…this is what I find incredibly boring. Argument for the sake of arguing. I enjoy a lively discussion and I enjoy it tremendously when people question Kevin’s ideas and theories as I don’t have the educational background to do that. I prefer to see “point and counter point”; substance vs stuff n’ such…if you know what i mean. 😀

  38. PowerR says:

    All your essential points were false, which means you don’t even have a “horse.”

  39. Milo says:

    Now come on Power Ranger that is a really poor riposte! ….. evidently the information IS all in the energy!!!

    Milo

  40. christine randolph says:

    haha hilarious. yeah how come some dogs cows sheep horses get out and others are happy to stay put. how come that once they got out once, they probably will get out again if something “nice” shows up on the other side or something undesirable is in there with them. or..whatever might be driving them…to push the darn envelope and Make a Nuisance of Themselves outside the enclosure.

    it would be superbly wonderful if there were an idea how to DEFINITELY keep Any AND All of them safely even if the fence has a hole or is not very high. or is not electric…

  41. stealthq says:

    The answer as to why most horses won’t jump out of their pastures is rather simple. It is the same reason that they will run back into a burning stable after being rescued. They feel safe in their pastures, just as they feel safe in their stable. Obviously, the instinct to seek safety is greater in many horses than their fear of fire. It is also apparently stronger in some than their need to find food (though by the time they realize the need to leave the pasture to find food, they may be too weak to make the jump, so this may be a moot point).

    Any horse that has sufficiently strong motivation to leave their pasture will. They do not need to be trained jumpers to do it. At the stables where we used to board our horses, the fences were electrified to discourage fence-jumping (it was not a cruel level of current, all of us kids grabbed on to it at some point, and the jolt was not painful, just disconcerting). Even so, some horses would fence-hop on a regular basis – usually to join a favored herd-mate in another pasture. None were trained jumpers.

  42. kbehan says:

    Great points but my interpretation of your post is that you are saying in effect that the-information-is-in-the-energy. So a state of motivation has a certain amount of emotional force behind it, and until the horse is “accelerated” to that degree of intensity then it doesn’t remember how to jump a fence. Whereas if the intellectual capacity to compare moments to another were part of their cognitive process, we should expect that trained jumpers would be more likely to jump out because they have been taught how to jump than non-trained horses. Also, horses should be able to jump out casually and at will, just like the young calves that my father raised would always slide under the electric fence as they grew acclimated to it, and just because the grass was greener and their hunger mandate is stronger than a horses’. The safety issue would also be moot because they would be able to stay close to the paddock and jump back in on a moment’s notice which is what the calves did when they went outside the field but remained in eye shot of their mother. (In my model the issue of emotional safety arises from the balance circuitry so when an animal doesn’t feel safe, it doesn’t want to leave the ground.)

  43. kbehan says:

    Also about the burning barn. In my model a feeling is comprised of physical memory, and so the horse runs into the barn for safety since its physical memory of safety is stronger than the reality of the burning barn.

  44. christine randolph says:

    i think if you make any horse really hungry and entice them to push the fence or jump the fence with a person holding delicious food on the other side, maybe ANY horse will breach the perimeter

  45. kbehan says:

    Milo wrote earlier of some horses near starvation in abuse case and yet there was hay in corner of pasture behind a rope and horses didn’t poke through, so you’re right that they would need special cajoling. Also, while Stealthq talked about electrifying fence to prevent jumpers, we can quantify the phenomenon. Of the millions of miles of horse fencing that exists in the world, I doubt a significant portion of even 1% of it is electrified, so the observation stands.

  46. Milo says:

    We have a pony/horse (15hh2) who will actually go under electric fencing to get to grass if the current is not to strong (failing battery) or she is wearing a rug and therefore cannot feel the jolt! But this fence is a temporary fence inside the normal boundary, which is a single line to keep our horses from fighting with the horse next door (it wants company as it is on its own, where as we have all 3 horses together in one field) which is constantly charging the fence, but has never jumped in to join ours. So not enough emotional energy involved, even though it is a trained eventer and in fact the school it practices its jumping in, is next door to the field it grazes in!

    Milo

  47. christine randolph says:

    gosh Milo you have a lot of animals.

    the cows on the farm (where we have a cabin) apparently try the electric fence once and from then on you only need to tie a string across, they think it is electric and never try again ! haha

    i guess we need some kind of a fortune teller dog future soothsayer profession where you take your dog and they go: oh i can tell by the way the ears are perking up that this one is a fence jumper…better get those 10 foot barb wire ones

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