What Is the Size of a Horse’s Brain?

There are many jokes out there about how big a horse’s brain is. People often compare its size to that of a large walnut. Chances are, it’s not about the average size though this may be accurate for some breeds. Instead, the brain of a horse can be as big as a human child’s.

size of horse brain

What is its actual size?

Different breeds have different brain sizes as a result of their skull’s shape and the horse’s size. For adults, most brains would vary from around 1 inch in diameters to over 4 inches. So, the average size is about 2.5 inches when you consider all adults and breeds.

It’s significant to note whether or not the discussion has to do with the brain itself or the cavity in the skull that the brain sits. In the second case, for most horses, it could fit something like a grapefruit’s size due to the extra space included.

Are horses as intelligent as a 12-year-old?

The size, composition, and shape of the horse’s brain have made the Equine Behavioral Health Resource Center (EBHRC) theorize that the levels of their intelligence are the same as that of a human child. When you hear about such horses as Beautiful Jim Key, the theory seems to be correct.

Beautiful Jim Key is an American horse. It was capable of carrying out basic tasks of language comprehension. He could do basic math, read and write. Notably, the horse was proficient in spelling. Another example is Clever Hans that was unique because of his ability to understand the unconscious behavior of humans and predict what they would do next.

What are the differences between the brains of humans and horses?

Besides the brain size, there are exciting differences when you compare a human’s brain with a horse’s. Horses have a larger cerebellum than humans. In most cases, they are able to run one hour after they are born and this happens for the horse thanks to the brain structure.

Horses also depend more on their smell sense than the others. The animal’s brain can process much more scent-related factors than humans.

In the end, humans can see, interact, and orally communicate with each other and coordinate with their hands and feet to change the world. Horses are good at understanding the operation of their surrounding environment, perceiving the meaning of body language, comprehending and communicating through a primary language.


The size of a horse’s brain varies from miniature breeds to colossal draft horses, from newborns to adults. Its diameter ranges from an inch to about four inches in certain kinds.

Directly speaking, it’s larger than some animals – for example, cats and dogs, but smaller than others. Still, after all, horses are one of the smartest creatures with whom humans share the planet.


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