In my line of work (EDT) i've worked with a lot of different breeds and i must say the ponies seem to be the most intelligent..the smaller the more cunning
They're always the ones waving their front legs at me, or crushing me into a wall, and clocking pretty quickly the tricks to get the rasp out. The big horses that you think could do some damage just stand there and put up with it. Not that i'm saying big horses are dumb, just very different from the little (especially native) breeds.
My ID is a gentle soul and certainly not the sharpest tool in the box
Have to agree with you there! Although my old loan horse (TB) used to be very dim in some ways (I once put a binbag on his head in the school, rubbed it all over his body, crackled it at him, and he just stood there. We then went out for a ride and he freaked out at a binbag on the floor ), but then very clever in others (like pretending to be lame or having a coughing fit to avoid work - I've actually seen him go hopping lame with a learner rider, so I got on him and he shot off straight into canter and was sound as anything!!)
I have an Arab x Boerperd and her previous owner said she was one of the most intelligent horses she's come across in her 35+ years of keeping horses.
I think it depends how you define intelligance and stupidity. By intelligent, you may say the horse can figure out problems (such as how to open its stable door) or maybe it learns fast during schooling.
By dumb, it could be the horse is a slow learner, spooks at silly things or seems to make an effort to hurt itself in the paddock, such as lifting its head under trees and scratching itself open.
I don't find Afghan's dim, quite the opposite as they catch on quickly but get bored by repetition so don't want to do the same thing over and over again which I'm sure the Border Collie would gladly do as its work and they so want to please you Afghan's have a very independent nature, bred to hunt where they worked alone they had to learn to think for themselves.
Although my old loan horse (TB) used to be very dim in some ways (I once put a binbag on his head in the school, rubbed it all over his body, crackled it at him, and he just stood there. We then went out for a ride and he freaked out at a binbag on the floor
That's more to do with the way horses see the world than how intelligent they are. I also think we need to be careful not to confuse trust or tolerance for stupidity either. Horses are wired very differently to us, sometimes the horse we might think is a bit dim may actually have got us very well trained to do things his way
Here's a thought: A horse that spooks; is it being stupid or is it doing the smart thing by acting defensively and wanting to run, the way a prey animal would in order to protect it's life. Is a horse truly smart by allowing scary things such as packets bloing in the wind to 'approach' it, when this unknown crackly white thing could potentially be a horse-munching monster?