Horses are majestic and magnificent animals. For years horses have been an essential part of human life. They have been trusted human companions, loyal workers, and fierce athletes in equestrian sports. It’s hard to deny the magnificence of these remarkable creatures.
Despite a lot of information about horses, some fascinating and lesser-known facts about them may surprise you. From their unique abilities to do different tasks to their complex social behaviour, horses have a lot of features that continue to surprise us.
Whether you’re a seasoned equestrian or simply appreciate the beauty of these creatures from afar, there’s always something new to discover about horses.
So why not learn more about these incredible animals and deepen your appreciation for their many remarkable qualities? Let’s look at some interesting horse facts that will surprise you.
1. These Amazing Creatures Have Nasal Breathers
Unlike humans, who can breathe from the mouth and nose, horses can’t breathe through their mouths. It’s because of nasal breathers, which facilitate proper breathing through the nose.
2. Horses Don’t Need To Lay Down To Sleep
It might sound a bit weird, but horses can sleep even while standing. Basically, horses have “stay-apparatus.” It is a system of different tendons and ligaments through which horses can easily lock their legs in a position that helps them relax without dozing or falling over.
Sleep deprivation can affect the body weight and range of vision of the equine. They need at least 30-60 minutes of deep sleep. When horses aren’t sleeping, they use this mechanism to rest even while standing for hours. With this mechanism, they can save much energy even while standing.
But there is also a common myth revolving around horses which states that horses never sleep. It’s not true because, for deep sleep, horses lay down for short periods of time. According to research, horses sleep almost 4 to 15 hours every day.
3. They Have Exceptionally Strong Hearing Capabilities
Horses are prey animals, and that’s why excellent hearing becomes important, as it increases their chances of survival. You might already know that humans have only three muscles in their ears, which control their activities.
However, in horses, there are 10 muscles. That’s why horses can rotate their ears to almost 180 degrees. Rotating their ears independently or altogether makes them hear sounds from everywhere, and they don’t even need to rotate their head for it.
4. They Have an Almost 360-degree Vision
The eyes of horses are positioned on both sides of their head. However, horses have two blind spots;
- One directly behind them
- Other directly in front of the head
It tells us that they can’t see grass while grazing on or the carrot you are giving to them. A horse switches to binocular vision to shift focus on one object. But how do they see things or make it easier for them? Here are some other ways through which horses can easily do it;
- They move their head
- Use mobile and sensitive lips
- Sense of smell to analyze what’s in front of them
5. Reflexes Of Horses Are Lightning Fast
Horses are amazing animals that react quickly. Their flight-or-fight response increases their reflex response. When horses are standing and transition to their fight mode, they can deliver a deadly kick in just 0.3 seconds. Meanwhile, human beings take almost 1.6 seconds to react.
6. A Baby Horse Is Known As a Foal
Colt, filly, and foal are different. It primarily depends on the gender and age of the horse.
- Foal: It is a baby horse
- Weanling: Once it’s weaned from its dam, it is known as a weanling.
However, horses are colts and fillies until they become four years old.
7. Start Walking Within a Few Hours After Birth
Most foals aren’t immature or weak from birth. Most of them are mature. They are at risk of predators from the moment they are born.
That’s why they must learn to walk and run, a crucial survival skill. Hooves of foals are covered with soft tissues which are important as they eliminate any chances of damage to the birth canal of the mother.
8. They Are Extremely Intelligent
Training horses is so much fun because of their high intelligence level. You can teach them different tasks using techniques such as;
- Positive reinforcement
- Clicker training
These training methods are also used on dogs to make them suitable companions for humans. According to a study, horses can communicate easily with their guardian about their needs and wants.
You can teach them basic tasks, such as asking for a blanket or turning on appliances by touching signs on the board.Equine Research Foundation has opposed assumptions about horses that horses are unintelligent and cant transfer information from one side of the brain to another.
9. Ancestor Of The Horse Lived 47 Million Years Ago
It is believed that one of the earliest ancestors of horses lived almost 55 million years ago. But it’s just an estimation. Their ancestor was so small and almost the size of the dog breed Labrador. Among all breeds of horses, the smallest horse on record is Falabella. In comparison to their ancestors, modern horses are much larger.
10. They Like Socializing With People
Horses are herd animals and feel safer in herds. They build strong relationships with each other, improving their mental health. They use their instincts and senses to recognize familiar horses and form long-term, friendly relationships. In herds, one horse guards while other horses eat, sleep, and rest.
11. Find the Age Of the Horse By Its Teeth
It’s not easy to tell the exact age of the horse. But by looking at its teeth, you can estimate its age. For horses, proper equine dental care is extremely crucial. However, sometimes due to negligence and poor dental care, teeth fall off and are severely damaged.
12. Live More Than 30 Years
It is one of the most common questions that horsey friends usually ask. How long can a horse live? The answer surprises most people. They can live for almost 30 years. However, different factors play a great role in this and increase equine longevity. It includes horse care, such as;
- Nutrition of horse
- Veterinary medicine
- Environment provided
These factors are important for increasing human life expectancy, and the same goes for horses. By leading an active life average life expectancy can increase.
13. Almost 6000 Years Ago, Horses Were Domesticated
Dogs were domesticated by humans almost 14,000 years ago. Cats became human best friends almost 8,500 years ago. However, human’s relationship with equines started almost 6,000 years ago.
But some evidence suggests that this might have happened much earlier. This domesticated horses information is based on evidence found from archaeological sites.
14. They Are Measured In “Hands”
There is a standard to measure everything, i.e., centimetres, inches, etc. The measurement determination for horses is known as hand. Let’s understand how you can measure your horse.
- One hand is equal to almost 4 inches.
- A pony is a horse with less than 14.2 hands.
However, miniature horses are the only equine that can’t be measured using hands. They are measured in either centimetres or inches.
15. The Respiratory Rate Of a Horse Is 8-14 Breaths.
The resting respiratory rate of the horse is about 8-14 breaths per minutes per day. The resting respiration rate of horses can also lower; in some horses, it can be even less than 8 breaths per minute. It can also increase;
- Increased workload
16. They Can Suffer From Depression
Horses are social animals, and they can suffer from anxiety and depression. There are many reasons which can progress depression in horses. Some of them are;
- Excessive training
- Poor nutrition
- Lack of Common horse gait (movements)
17. Horses Have 205 Bones
The number of bones in adult humans is 205. In horses, the number of bones is 205, only one bone less than a human skeleton.
18. They Can Not Burp Or Vomit
Yes, no matter how surprising it sounds, they can’t burp. To be more specific, they burp differently and can not vomit. Many vertebrae animals can vomit but horses lose this ability over time. The digestive system of a horse is like a one-way street due to a strong band of muscles around the esophagus. They can not squeeze their stomach with abdominal muscles to induce vomiting.
They are different from other animals as they chew back the food. Because their way of processing food is extremely efficient, the rough fibrous food becomes forage, and due to this long system, colic issues can also arise.
19. Horses Are Part of Therapeutic Riding
Some horses are part of special programs known as therapeutic riding programs. Through these programs, help and healing are provided to individuals suffering from physical or mental challenges such as anxiety, depression, etc.
However, horses in these programs are patient, kind, and gentle. Aggressive horses aren’t part of these programs because they can make the situation worse for the individual seeking help from these programs.
20. Forelock Are Like Bangs
Forelock is the area of the mane that comes down between horses’ ears. These look extremely similar to human bangs. Many riders take extra care of the forelock and braid them to increase their beauty and charm.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It True That Horses Have Two Brains?
Like humans, horses also have one brain, which has two sides. These are connected by the corpus callosum, with which two hemispheres are connected. But in horses, the corpus callosum is little developed. It means that whatever a horse sees or learns from one side will not store on the other side of the brain. It increases a huge communication gap where information isn’t communicated on both sides properly. But with proper training, you can ensure your horse learns quickly and effectively.
Are Horses Smart Animals?
Horses are among one the most intelligent animals on the earth. It’s because of three main reasons;
- Their ability to learn quickly
- They can remember things for a long time
- They can solve an issue and figure out how to get their desired outcome
For example, a horse can learn how to open the gate to get out of the field or any area.
Can Horses See Every Type Of Color?
Horses can face difficulty in identifying some colours. But colours such as yellow and blue are highly visible to horses. But they are unable to recognize the colour red. According to a study, horses can tell these colours apart easily. These are;
- Green from gray
But they can’t see red. Horses can’t differentiate red from green. In simple terms, it’s like humans who have certain colour blindness and can’t see colours such as red or green clearly.