Patricia, did you like Mr. Mccleans book?
I learn something from everyone I read. McLean is trying to be a behaviorist. There is a lot to learn there. But the focus is on operant conditioning... well, AND seems to be interested in the behaviors that come out without conditioning. So I would say that McLean and AND are on opposite spectrums of horsetraining.
Thank you Patricia
What was suprising and dissapointing to me when I first started reading Mclean was that he based the equine intelligence 100% on human reference.
Which also surprisingly, a lot of scientist seem to do. And in my book science needs to take place from a neutral point of view.
The object of setting a scale of measure and sticking strictly to that is supposed to offset some of the human based bias.
And our problem is, even we here at AND, have as the only reference (since horses seem unwilling to share what a "horse IQ" consists of) we must create a measure. A scale. A "horsestick" or "one horse ruler length."
And that brings us round to the real problem. There is NO standard about horse behavior that is universal for humans to use.
As you point out an example below.
I remember him stating that horses are really stupid because a few horses died behind a fence, while some miles further there was an opening.
I wonder how native nature people would do, if they never ever saw a fence for one.
Second, if it were indeed 3 stupid horses that died there, does that mean every horse in the world is stupid?
and third... did the horses die because they did not find nor searched for the way out? Or did they die of something totally differnt like poisoning for instance?
When someone makes a claim, that is or should be a scientific claim, as he did, my first question is, "may I see your report, protocols, demographics, statistical analysis please?"
And you are so very right. There were those and more variables unaccounted for, I presume, or he would have said so.
What makes me laugh at humans, and this one in particular, is that human beings themselves, just like these horses, can do the most stupid things. Often it's out of instinct and habit, but it does kill us in so called "accidents," all too often.
Take tobacco for instance. (No offense to any smokers, I too smoked for 20 years).
As I was learned in school... science is 'taking every possibility in account'.
And a lot of scientists, as in this case Mr. McClean do not really practise science in that way, from my point of view.
And as he stated his book: 'the truth about horses'... well that is a heavy verdict to state, if you know what I mean.
Goes to show that there seem to be many truths out there (not meaning the X files
I'll cut the poor man some slack and say that he was using a common expression rather than trying to be accurate in his choice of words...but, cheezzz, still.
That is why I choose to not read on as it only annoyed me to the core (sorry Mr. McClean, I am sure every thing I do and say would annoy you even more
So indeed, I am curious just as Donald what you found in his book that is helpful... Of course I should take it up and read for myself... but I have no shame in asking your for the useful info
ps: and it cracked me up when you said 'trying to be a behaviorist'
Yop, fur shure.
In all fairness, I have not read his book, so I'm being subjective without proofs of my own to offer pro or con his opinions. But I am sure of one thing. They are, if he is being quoted accurately, just that: opinions.
I try to rank horse intelligence not against other animals, not even the human ones, but from horse to horse.
It immediately forces me to take other things into consideration.
Such as that there is no standard measure I've heard of.
And that horses have personality types too. Some horses, like some humans are clever, when it seems they are intelligent. But in fact may not be that intelligent at all about what constitutes IQ for a horse.
Intelligent horses, to my mind, use their instincts first. It's lousy for humans around them, but I very much trust the intellect of the horse, with a bucking strap around his flanks, a nutty carnivore on his back with great flapping wings (leather chaps), and spurs raking his sides, waving his arm, flopping back and forth, when the horse bucks that person into the ground as hard as they can and tries to stomp them into pudding.
The mare that defends her colt against the same predatory smelling, and predator moving creatures. Though we get hurt, she was doing what horses do best.
I see my job to kind of fit into the various cracks presented by the horse that is not quite so intelligent. One that will tolerate me and other humans just a bit until they become accustomed to us.
There are very few really stupid horses using that kind of measure.
Instinct is not "stupid."
Fortunately for us, horses come with more than one or two. Besides flight or fight they also have curiosity and play. I believe both are instinctual too.
And I hope, or at least from a human point of view, that a particular horse I might be working with will have those four things in their assorted measures that let me in a bit.
Finally, I hope to find in my work, always, ways to be respectful of the horse as it is, not as I project upon it what I want it to be.
That's the hardest one, of course.
Because far too often what I want the horse to be, just for me, is stupid.