People.com Lifestyle Pets Study Shows Horses Understand and Remember Human Emotions Researchers found the information by testing horses with photos of happy and angry human strangers By Kelli Bender Kelli Bender Kelli Bender is the Pets Editor for PEOPLE Digital and PEOPLE magazine. She has been with the PEOPLE brand for more than eight years, working as a writer/producer across PEOPLE's Lifestyle, Features, and Entertainment verticals before taking on her current role. Kelli is also an editor on PEOPLE's Stories to Make You Smile and serves as an editorial lead on PEOPLE's World's Cutest Rescue Dog Contest and Pet Product Awards. Before joining PEOPLE, Kelli helped AOL and Whalerock launch a pet lifestyle site called PawNation. She is a pet parent to a cat named Wallace, and her professional and personal devotion to animals has taken her to three dog weddings ... so far. People Editorial Guidelines Published on May 2, 2018 02:53 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Getty Did Mr. Ed ever speak to you? Not like a talking horse would, but you know, speak to your soul? Well, science says that isn’t a crazy idea. New research from the University of Sussex and the University of Portsmouth have found that horses can recognize human faces and remember their previous moods, reports UPI. “What we’ve found is that horses can not only read human facial expressions but they can also remember a person’s previous emotional state when they meet them later that day — and, crucially, that they adapt their behavior accordingly,” Karen McComb, a professor at the University of Sussex, said in a news release about the findings. The study came across these interesting findings through a series of experiments where horses were shown photos of human faces expressing either a happy or angry mood. Later, the horses tested would be introduced to the people from the photos they were shown in person. The person would approach the horse with a neutral expression. The researchers found that those who were photographed with a negative expression were more likely to be perceived as a threat by the horse. This was determined by the eye movements of the animals. Horses often stare at threats with their left eye, since this eye is connected to the right side of the brain, which is the side that assesses threats. The humans from the angry photographs were often looked at by the horses with their left eyes. Can’t get enough of cats, dogs and other furry friends? Click here to get the cutest pet news and photos delivered directly to your inbox. “We know that horses are socially intelligent animals, but this is the first time any mammal has been shown to have this particular ability,” Co-lead author of the study Dr. Leanne Proops of the University of Portsmouth, said in the release. The researchers were particularly impressed that the horses could create these threat assessments based solely on photos of people they had no prior relationship with.