Icelandic Horse Learns to Count and Calculate Skip to content

Icelandic Horse Learns to Count and Calculate

“Skuggi is definitely the smartest horse that I’ve ever come to know and it’s a very fast learner,” says 15-year-old Jónína Valgerður Örvar of her horse, which she taught how to count and calculate in only three days.

The ten-year-old Skuggasveinn, or Skuggi for short, has been with Jónína for a year. Skuggi demonstrated for Fréttablaðið’s journalist on Sunday how it counts to ten by beating its hooves against the ground and afterwards adding up one and one and two and one.

Jónína taught Skuggi a ‘Spanish routine’ earlier this winter, raising its front legs and then beating its hooves against the ground.

“My friend joked when I showed her the Spanish routine, asking whether I was planning to teach the horse how to count next. I thought it was the stupidest thing I could do but then I decided to try it,” Jónína explains.

Jónína first taught Skuggi to count to two but when she saw how eager it was to learn, taught it all the numbers to ten and also how to calculate. When Skuggi is right, Jónína rewards it with a treat.

The lessons only began last Friday. “It was incredibly quick to learn. It was almost as if it knew it already without ever having been given lessons before,” Jónína concludes.

Click here to watch Skuggi demonstrate its skills.


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