Horses are such fascinating creatures. Even if you never learned to ride one, you could spend your whole life studying them and still have plenty to explore. Here are 22 interesting facts about horses.
- Horses Sleep Standing Up
Yes, horses do sleep standing up! They sleep laying down too, but only for short times. Learn all about the sleeping habits of horses.
2. Horses Can’t Burp
That’s right! Horses can’t burp, at least not the way humans do. They can’t vomit or breathe through their mouths like humans do either. A horse’s digestive system is a one-way street, unlike cattle and other ruminants who regurgitate food to re-chew it. Although they have a pretty efficient way of processing the tough fibrous foods that make up their forage, this long, one-directional system can cause problems that result in colic.
Unlike many other mammals, it is impossible for horses to vomit.
3. You Can Estimate a Horse’s Age by Its Teeth
While you can’t tell the exact age of a horse by its teeth, you can estimate its age. Horses need proper equine dental care for their teeth, but sometimes a horse lives longer than its teeth do, so extra care is needed when feeding senior horses.
4. Horses Can Live to Be More Than 30 Years Old
One of the most common questions about horses is “how long does a horse live?” The answer may surprise you. Knowledge of horse nutrition, horse care, and veterinary medicine has increased. Because of this, just as human life expectancy has increased, so has equine longevity.
5. The American Quarter Horse Is the World’s Most Popular Breed
Appreciated by beginner riders and professional horsemen alike, the American quarter horse is the world’s most popular breed. Learn more about the American quarter horse.
6. Arabian Horses Have One Less Vertebrae Than Other Breeds
The Arabian horse is the foundation of many other light horse breeds. They also possess some unique characteristics. Arabian horses have one fewer vertebrae, rib and tail bone than other horses. Learn about the Arabian horse and its unique history and characteristics.
7. Horses Are Herbivores
Humans are omnivores, lions are carnivores, and horses are herbivores. The way their teeth are formed, the position of their eyes, and the type of digestive system are all typical characteristics of herbivores.
8. Horses are called different names depending on their gender
A male horse is called a stallion and a female horse is a mare. A male horse which has been castrated is known as a gelding.
9. Horses Are Herd Animals
Horses in the wild live in small herds, and domestic horses feel more comfortable if they have companions too. It can be quite stressful for a horse to live alone. To keep your horse happy, it will need a (preferably equine) friend.
10. Horses Were Domesticated by Humans More Than 3,000 Years Ago
Dogs may have become domesticated around 14,000 years ago. Cats became human companions about 8,500 years ago. Humankind’s relationship with the horse began a little more recently, about 3,500 B.C. although some evidence has come to light that horses may have been domesticated even earlier.
11. Horses Are Measured in “Hands”
The standard measurement for determining the height of a horse is called a hand. A pony is an equine under 14.2 hands. The only equines not measured in hands are miniature horses that are measured in inches or centimeters.
12. Baby horses even have different names!
Young horses have different names – a young male is called a colt and the young females are fillies.
13. Most White Horses Are Actually Gray
Most of the white horses that you see were actually a much darker color at birth and gradually turn white. These “white” horses may start as bay, chestnut, or almost black. These horses aren’t called white, but gray.
14. New-born horses can walk shortly after birth
Baby horses can walk and run after just a few hours of being born.
15. A Horse’s Resting Respiratory Rate Is About Four Breaths per Minute
It’s important to know the resting pulse and respiration rate of your horse. While the resting respiration rate of a horse can be as low as four breaths per minute, that can quickly increase with work or distress. Learn your horse’s resting pulse and respiration rate (TPR).
16. There are fewer bones in a horse than in humans
It’s only one bone less, but in total, there are 205 bones in the skeleton of a horse.
17. The oldest horse lived over twice as long than he was supposed to
Horses which have been tamed usually live to be around 25 years old. However, the oldest domestic horse on record was Old Billy, who died at the age of 62.
18. Horses Are Not Native to North America
Every horse on the North American continent is a decedent of European horses. Even the horses that we regard as “wild” are actually feral horses, whose ancestors escaped from captivity. Horses disappeared from the Americas more than 8,000 years ago and there is ample fossil evidence that the horse’s ancestors lived here previous to that.
19. A Baby Horse is Called a Foal
What is the difference between a filly, colt, and foal? It all depends on gender and age. Generally, a foal is a baby horse. After it is weaned from its dam, it is called a weanling. But, horses remain fillies or colts until they are two years of age.
20. The fastest horse ran over double the usual speed!
For a regular horse, their top speed is approximately 27 miles per hour, although the fastest horse ever recorded could reach 55 miles per hour!
21. Horses have exceptional vision!
The eyes of a horse are bigger than those of any other land mammal, and the fact they are located on the side of their heads means they can see almost 360 degrees.
22. Horses float when they run
Well, sort of! When a horse gallops, all four hooves are off the ground at one point.