Horses are such fascinating creatures…! Even if you’ve never learned to ride one, or have never been around them, you could spend your whole life studying them and still have a lot to learn about them.
Would you like to discover some of the best curiosities about horses? Here are 10 interesting facts about them.
10 interesting facts you didn’t know about horses
Horses sleep standing up
Yes, horses can sleep standing up! But they can also sleep lying down. Horses must rest for a full restorative sleep cycle for a minimum of 30 minutes per day to avoid sleep deprivation. There are many factors that influence a horse’s ability to lie down, sleep and rest. These factors can be environmental, such as climate, available space and comfortable bedding, or physical deterrents, such as musculoskeletal impairments, i.e. osteoarthritis.
Horses cannot burp
That’s right! Horses can’t burp, at least not like humans can. Nor can they vomit or breathe through their mouths as humans do. A horse’s digestive system is a one-way street, unlike cattle and other ruminants that regurgitate food to chew it back up. Although they have a fairly efficient way of processing the tough, fibrous foods that make up their forage, this long, one-way system can cause problems that result in colic.
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 outlives its teeth, so extra care is needed when feeding older horses.
Horses can live longer than 30 years
One of the most common questions about horses is “how long does a horse live?” The answer may surprise you. Knowledge about horse nutrition, horse care and veterinary medicine has increased. So, just as human life expectancy has increased, so has equine longevity.
The American Quarter Horse is the world’s most popular breed.
Appreciated by novice and professional riders alike, the American Quarter Horse is the most popular breed in the world.
Most Arabian horses have one less vertebrae than other breeds.
The Arabian horse is the basis for many other horse breeds. They also possess some unique characteristics. Most Arabian horses have one less vertebra, rib and tail bone than other horses.
Horses are herbivores
Humans are omnivores, lions are carnivores and horses are herbivores. The way teeth are formed (grinding molars to break down fibrous plant matter), the position of the eyes (facing sideways to watch for predators) and the type of digestive system are typical of herbivores.
Horses are herd animals
Wild horses live in small herds, and domestic horses feel more comfortable if they also have companions. It can be quite stressful for a horse to live alone. Companionship for horses can be an equine stablemate or even another species, such as a goat, donkey or mule. Even a dog can become a suitable companion for a horse.
Horses were domesticated by humans more than 3,000 years ago.
Dogs may have been domesticated around 14,000 years ago. Cats became human companions around 8,500 years ago. Humankind’s relationship with the horse began a little more recently, about 6,000 years ago, although some evidence has come to light that horses may have been domesticated even earlier.
Most white horses are actually grey horses
Most of the white horses you see were actually much darker in colour at birth and gradually turn white. These “white” horses may start out as chestnut or almost black. In fact, these horses are not called white, but grey.