It turns out we might all be able to be horse whisperers if we want.

Scientists in Norway have found that the animals can be trained to communicate their opinions to people.

A study published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science said that 23 horses were taught to convey whether they wanted to wear a rug or not.

Horse race
(John Giles/PA)

During the research the horses touched their muzzle against one of three symbols displayed to show their wishes and slices of carrot were used as an incentive. Touching a horizontal black line meant they wanted a rug, a vertical line meant they didn’t, and a blank symbol indicated “no chance”, according to the study.

We know what you’re thinking. That doesn’t prove anything other than horses like carrots. But their requests matched the weather – suggesting they weren’t totally random choices.

Dr Cecilie Mejdell of the Norwegian Veterinary Institute, who led the research, told the BBC: “I think our study adds to the knowledge on horse cognition – about what horses are able to learn and how they think.

Horse
(Michael Probst/AP)

“Horses are often considered to be not very intelligent but this shows that using the right methods, they can actually communicate and express their opinions and they can take choices that seem sensible to us even.”

The study took place over two weeks with 10 to 15 minutes of training a day.

Apes and dolphins are said to be able to express preferences by pointing at things as well.