There is certainly a strong association to be made between physical prowess and intelligence. The American Thoroughbred Equine Temperament Test measures cognitive ability in several ways.
It begins by taking a person’s age and assessing their physical abilities. The average American Thoroughbred has a height of 70 centimetres (26 inches). A bull has a height of 70 centimetres (26 inches), a mares is 75 centimetres (26 inches) and a stallion is about 86 centimetres (29 inches).
“A horse is measured for size, height and muscle mass to make sure they are a good fit for harness races and breeding for endurance events. They also have to be able to gallop the length of a rugby field, and also have the ability to walk across the paddock under their own power without hindrance”, Professor David Jones, Chair of the Equine Intelligence and Cognition Consortium, explains.
The more muscles you have, the higher your score and the higher your chances of winning the race. But does this mean you always succeed? Does size matter? Or is the IQ that important?
“The answer is yes, size does matter. But it’s not as easy as getting bigger. You don’t just get a big head or a big chest to make it harder for people to push through you”, Professor Jones told me.
The biggest of the giant breeds is the Bull Terrier, the average size is 71 centimetres (23 inches). You’d hope it would have something to do with its size that makes it better at getting around a pack of cattle. Not so. The Bull Terrier has a score of only 45. This can actually reduce its score if you’re breeding for a breed with a lower average, perhaps a bull terrier.
“Even the smallest breeds are likely to have a higher score than average for intelligence”, says Professor Jones, “especially if those breeds are known for their good temperament and intelligence”.
But does height and weight really matter? What about height and skin-color?
“We didn’t measure any of these to find out what effects we might experience from differences in these traits”, suggests Professor Jones, but he points out that the size or weight of your teeth and the color of your hair are likely to also help in the long run.
“Size also matters in terms of how well you eat”, says Professor Jones. “A horse that is tall and muscular will be in a better
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