Horses have striking similarities with humans but are, sadly, one of the most under-appreciated animals. It’s quite easy for someone to say “I’m not a horse person” even after watching their adorable manes, height, speed and agility in the woods, race track or farmyard. This is more so because indifference among such people is born of the fact that they have very little or no understanding about why we love the creatures so much.
Fortunately, there are lots of awesome stuff to learn about horses in this article, for example, their turbo power as well as intuitive connection and endearing closeness to humans always create a power shift in most horse lovers. Horses are adorable social beings. But that’s a tip of the iceberg. Here are some of the amazing horse facts you probably don’t know:
Horse racing picture (Image Source: Jean van der Meulen/Pexels)
Horses can sleep while standing
Yes, horses do sleep while standing or lying down even though they do this for short times in their stall. In fact, the animals prefer to sleep standing up because their weight presses them down discomfortingly when they lie down and this makes it very difficult to breath. Horses can also sleep with their eyes wide open.
Horses can’t vomit…they don’t burp, too
That’s right! Horses can neither burp nor vomit. The animals can’t also breath through their mouths. This is more so because horses are created with a one-way digestive system unlike cows and other ruminants that are capable of spewing up food to chew it again.
However, horses do have an easy way of digesting forage. They don’t even need that one-directional way of processing their tough fibrous foods because that causes colic.
Horses’ teeth tell us more about their age
It is impossible to correctly tell a horse’s age by its teeth, but the animal’s dentition offers somewhat reliable clue because they usually live longer than their teeth. Horses therefore need adequate equine dental care, especially when feeding the older ones.
Most horses can live beyond 30 years old
“Age is nothing but numbers,” they always say. The question about how long horses live is, however, can be dicey – just like human life expectancy — because people’s knowledge of horse care has improved. Additionally, access to better horse nutrition and veterinary medicine are considerable factors that extend equine lifespan.
Horses are herbivores
Unlike humans (omnivores) and wild animals such as lions (carnivores), horses are called herbivores because they eat grass – lots of it. But not only that – horses’ eye position, dentition, and digestive system have similarities with other herbivores.
Horses also like salt licks because it is rich in minerals and can complement the nutrients they lack from their forage. However, too much alfalfa may cause digestive problems so horse owners are advised to feed them at intervals, provide clean water, and change grasses.
There’s something special about the American Quarter Horse
The American quarter horse is the world’s most popular breed in the United States possibly due to its mild temperament. Most professional horsemen and amateur riders prefer the animals for many reasons which include their adaptability – thanks to its compact body which makes it easy for quick manoeuvres in many equestrian activities such as hunting, dressage, jumping etc. The American quarter horse stands taller than many other breeds but the animal’s speed makes it exceptional.
The American quarter horse outruns other breeds in short distance race (less than a mile), clocking about 89km/h. You can learn more about why Americans love the quarter horse.
Arabian horses are special, too!
Arabian horses are naturally strong, energetic and persevering. Arabian horses have an entirely different skeleton from other horse breeds; they have one less vertebra that others and this is a just one of the many special features which include one less tail bone and one less rib. The animals are also known as “Drinkers of the Wind.”
Horse names depend on their gender
You probably know that a stallion (male horse), a mare (female horse), a sire (father) and dam (mother) are different gender names. A foal, however, refers to a young horse – whether male or female. But a castrated male horse is called a gelding.
Horses are security conscious
Call horses herd animals and you won’t be wrong because feral horses, in their seeming defenceless nature, need to live in small groups — partly, for security reasons. The animals will never sleep at the same time because some need to watch out for predators.
Additionally, domestic horses feel more comfortable when they have companions. It is therefore very stressful and depressing for horses to live in isolation. To keep the animals happy all the time, get it a friend – possibly an equine friend.
Baby horses have unique names, too!
Do you know that young horses have different names? The young male is called a colt while young females are known as fillies.
We admit that horses are very beautiful and fascinating creatures that teach us dedication, how to be confident, humble, understanding and sociable. There’s so much to learn from horses, admittedly – even you never owned or even rode on one. Interestingly, we could spend our whole lives studying these animals without completely exploring their potentials.