Crazy Funny and Bizarre Facts About Horses
Horses have wandered this earth for thousands of years. From mythical stories of Ivan and Koshei, the deathless, to the first World War, horses have earned their names everywhere. From Zeus’s winged Pegasus to Napoleon’s Marengo, horses have helped gods and man achieve wonders. Horses are exciting creatures, and there’s a lot, and I mean a lot, you don’t know about them. So, we’ve scoured the internet and found the most bizarre and crazy horse facts just for you. So why wait now? Let’s just sink in.
They Are Highly Intelligent
Studies have shown that horses are intelligent animals. In 2012, the research concluded that horses use their senses to remember and recognize people. The horses were able to distinguish known and unknown voices. The horses could likewise do the inverse, differentiating with just smell and sight without hearing their voices.
Meanwhile, the Equine Research Foundation refuted the theory that horses can’t move data between various sides of the cerebrum. The study proved that they are able to use interocular transfer, identifying objects with a single eye that they have mastered with the other.
The tale of the tail
On August 23, 2007, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, a mare in Kansas named JJS Summer Breeze was recorded with the longest tail estimated at 381cms.
Horses sleep both lying down and standing up
The horses are able to doze off standing up as well as lying down due to an unusual ability to bolt their knees. This skill helps wild horses survive the nocturnal predators slinking around as they can awaken and run promptly without expecting to scramble to their hooves first. For the most part, horses rest only when they feel safe and relaxed. When in a herd, sleeping at the same time is unusual, as one usually stands on guard to look out for hunters and predators.
Big in personality but smaller in size
Ponies are small horses measuring 13.2hh or smaller. Ponies are sturdy and tough for their size and usually have a more solid build than bigger horses. If the disparity in size between ponies and horses is eliminated, ponies will surpass most horses in power and strength. They are also very easy to take care of and only need half the food a horse would consume if they were of a similar size.
Ponies possess a unique personality often called “ponytude.” Some ponies can be difficult and attempt to outfox their riders. They are friendly and curious little equines, but they also don’t fear standing up to a larger horse.
Ponies have thicker tails and manes than horses and grow a fluffy, dense coat in the chilly weather to help shield them from the cold. This allows them to live more serenely in all weather conditions.
They have shorter legs, smaller heads, and thicker necks than horses. What’s more, ponies are healthier and live longer than many horse breeds.
At one time, people thought horses were colourblind.
Horses aren’t colour-blind but can only see two out of three wavelengths in the light spectrum. They see some colours, but not all. They can see greens and blues; however, bright colours such as red and orange can appear green and brown.
Although their eyes can only see and identify a few colours, a horse has much better night vision than people. Horses have ‘’tapetum lucidum,’’ a type of membrane found at the rear of their eyes responsible for reflecting light. It takes a horse’s eyes some time to adjust from light to dim, which is why they often blink when barn light is turned on suddenly.
The tallest horse ever on record was over 21 hands high!
A Shire horse called Sampson is the tallest horse ever recorded. He stood at an incredible height of 21.2 hands (around 7 feet). He was born in Toddington in 1846, British Columbia.
Today’s tallest horse is “Big Jake.” a 20 hand and 2.75″ inches Belgian gelding. He set the standard at Wisconsin’s Smokey Hollow Farms on January 19, 2010.
They all share the same birthdays.
Regardless of when a horse is born, they are given an official birth date of January 1st. This means that a thoroughbred born on December 31st turns one year old the following day. Breeders who raise thoroughbreds will do whatever they can to ensure that their foals are born in January during the first half of the year. Thoroughbreds’ joint birth date standardised the racing business and makes it easier to place horses in the correct grade for races.
Horses can be crossbred with donkeys
The most recognised mix between donkeys and horses comprises a female horse which results in offspring known as a mule.
A hinny is a hybrid offspring of a female donkey and a male horse. These hybrid equines are born with both of their personalities being both stubborn and strong.
They Are Related to the Rhinoceros
Horses belong to the genus Equus family that is the only group within the horse family. The Equus family consists of both Przewalski’s horse, domesticated horse (Equus caballus), and zebras. However, they are not the nearest relatives of the horse. The horse is closely related to hooved rhinoceros.
Arabian Horses Have a Unique Build
Arabian horses stick out for their historical significance, In specific to the cultures and lifestyles of tribes belonging to the middle east, Arabian horses also stand out to other horse breeds because of their unique and strong build.
Arabians possess a greater bone density, a smaller back, and fewer lumbar spines than other horses. Additionally, Arabian Horses have one less pair of ribs, which are more separated.
Horses Can’t Burp
We can burp, but horses can’t, at least not in the manner we do. They can’t breathe through their mouth either. A horse’s digestive system is unlike any other ruminants and livestock who regurgitate food to re-chew it.
Horses aren’t Native to North America.
Each horse found in North America is descended from European horses. Even “wild” horses are feral horses whose ancestors fled from captivity. Horses vanished from the Americas about 8,000 years ago, and there’s still plenty of fossil proof that the horses’ predecessors lived here before that.
Horses can’t vomit
Horses can’t vomit. There are various physiological factors, like the muscle’s strength in the oesophagus, the stomach’s location, and the particular way the oesophagus links to the horse’s belly.
The reason for this is still unknown, yet one hypothesis is that it’s defensive.
A full gallop’s two and fro movement could cause a horse to vomit, allowing a predator to grab it, so evolution may have dispensed this issue entirely.
Their laughing faces aren’t laughter
Many people think of it as a funny face or a regular giggle when a horse bends its top lips and lifts its head into the air, but this is misleading.
This particular behaviour is called the flehmen response, and it’s tied in with getting a stronger sniff of an interesting scent, allowing the transfer of pheromones and several other scents to the vomeronasal organ and then sends impulses to which may elicit these responses.
Stallions respond with flehmen reactions more frequently as they catch up with the pheromones of mares.
One Breed Has a Metallic Coat
The Akhal-Teke horse is renowned for its coat. While many well- cared for horses have a lovely sheen, this breed stands out with a metallic shine. It all depends on the structure of its hair. In the majority of horse breeds, hair strands have a murky center. However, for the Akhal-Teke, the center is minuscule or missing and is replaced by a transparent portion of the hair, which later refracts and bends the light and provides each hair with an obvious sparkle.
Horses are strict herbivores
A horse’s diet involves 100% plant-based foods. Feeds and grass make up most of the horse’s forage.
Horses sometimes eat veggies, grains, and fruits such as apples and carrots.
Horses should never consume processed food such as meat or milk.
Horses have four primary gaits
Horses normally have four speeds at which they move: trot, walking, gallop, and canter. Although few horses are termed as “gaited” horses, they have an extra pace which feels very gentle to ride.
Like the Paso Fino, Tennessee Walking horse, Rocky Mountain horse, and Icelandic, certain breeds are naturally gaited and very comfortable to ride.
Wild horses wander in groups
Their family groups generally involve several mares, a single stallion, and their foals. Among the mares, one arises as a leader and chooses when the herd will drink, graze and sleep. The stallion protects its mares and the herd from other stallions. Upon reaching maturity, colts are driven away from the herd.
These youthful colts form their own bachelor herds to stand up to other stallions to acquire their own group.
White Horses Are Actually Gray
The majority of white horses you see today were much darker at the time of their birth and slowly became white. These “white” horses may begin with chestnut, black, and bay hair.
Miniature Horses and Ponies are different.
Any horse that is shorter than 14 hands qualifies as a pony. As indicated by the American Miniature Horse Association, miniature horses shouldn’t be taller than 34 inches, which places them in the pony category. Nonetheless, many enthusiasts see miniature ponies as a distinct breed since they uphold standard horse body proportions, not similar to ponies with longer bodies, shorter legs and a general stockier build.
The teeth give it all away
You can learn a lot about a horse through its teeth, beginning with its sex. Female and male horses don’t share the same number of teeth. Horses have 44 teeth, while mares have somewhere 36 and 44. So if you ever get a glance at a horse’s skull, you can certainly discern its sex by just counting the teeth.
Only true wild horse breed
Przewalski’s horse is the only true subspecies of a wild horse. Przewalski’s are really close to extinction and are classified as endangered on IUCN’s red list.
Many global attempts have been made to pull this species back from the verge of extinction.
The Foundation for protection and prevention of Przewalski’s Horse has been working on breeding for nearly 40 years and has released over 300 horses in Hustai National Park in Mongolia.
They are good listeners
The hearing range of a horse is higher than a human. Their hearing frequency is reported around 55 to 33,500 hertz, which is better than humans who hear at 30 to 19,000 hertz. The horse’s base range for sound is greater than people too, which implies they may not hear you talking if you have a low-pitched voice.
Foals run shortly after birth
Foals may start out awkward, and a little shaky on their long legs but figure out to nurse and stand very quickly, and some can run within hours of birth.
They communicate through different sounds
Horses are known to make different sounds to communicate and interact with other horses. Neighing and whinnies are usually used to call out and greet each other, while calm snorts work as a warning signal to make others aware of potential risk. In addition, they often exchange squeals when they meet for the first time or to work out their ranks in the herd. Stallions make loud mating sounds to call or track the mare’s attention, while mares use smooth, deep sounds when they are feeding their foals.
They aren’t mouth breathers
Horses are often termed as “obligate nasal breathers”, which means they can only breathe through their nostrils and not through their mouths. This helps them avoid inhaling any food.
An adult horse’s brain weighs 22 ounces.
A fully mature horse’s brain weighs almost 22 ounces, about half a person’s weight. So, it’s no shock that their teeth occupy more room than their brain.
They come in all sizes
With over 400 breeds, their size can be as small as 75 cm in height and as high as 170 cm at shoulder stature. Their weight can range from 50 kg to around a ton.
Horses have exceptional vision!
A horse’s eyes are bigger than any other land animal, and the fact that they are present on either side of the heads gives them a 360-degree FOV.
Their visual range stretched from the finish of their nose to an imaginary line extending back from their hip. They have blind spots both behind and in front of them so avoid standing behind a horse as they’ll kick to protect themselves.
They are one of the Zodiac signs
The horse has its name among the twelve Chinese zodiac signs. Anyone born in a horse’s year embodies the animal’s attributes such as individuality, a free spirit, and intellect.
They are the healers
Equine aid therapy is a developing field where horses assist people in coping with a variety of mental health issues. The patient’s relationship with the horse grows and encourages a human to draw in with nature through peaceful and beautiful animals. This helps in building trust, regard and empathy. The skills gained by developing a positive relationship with the horse can then be adapted to various aspects of one’s life.
One can guess a horse’s age by its teeth
Although the exact age of a horse can’t be learned from the teeth, it gives you a vague idea.
The most popular breed
Valued by both expert horsemen and novice riders alike, the American quarter horse is the most popular breed.
They weren’t always this big.
They might have grown in size, but they weren’t always this big. The first of their kinds were no bigger than a golden retriever. Diminutive Hyracotherium looked more like a deer or a goat than the horses we see now. Hyracotherium lived about 50 million years ago during the Eocene period. Their bodies were of light build well lifted off the ground, its slim limbs upheld by toes held in a vertical position.
Horses produce around 30 to 40 litres of saliva every day. Horses have a total of three salivary glands contributing to a better digestive system. Their saliva is 99% water and contains calcium chloride.
Many horsemen pat their horses regularly as a reward for a good job. However, horses do not find this rewarding. They don’t pat one another; instead, they gently nibble or scratch one another as a means of bonding. A recent study found that patting elevates a horses’ heartbeat while gentle scratching lowers them and triggers behavioural signs of enjoyment and relaxation.
Horses graze up to 18 hours a day
Horses are grazing animals and invest most of their hours in their quest for food. Because of their physiology, they need to consume food often in small quantities. So it is important that horses are given ad libitum roughage or a place to graze so they don’t build up any painful gastritis or colics.
They too get depressed
The separation from other horses, lack of movement and excessive and aggressive training are some of the well-known explanations why horses are suffering from depression.
There are more than 300 breeds worldwide. Breeds vary in colours, build, skill set. There are three major horse breeds: Hot-blooded are swift horses bred for racing. Cold-blooded are usually bred for heavy work and stamina. Warmbloods are the blend of the other two sorts and usually gallops in riding competitions.
They are extraordinarily hearty
A horse’s heart weighs around 10 pounds (in contrast with the human heart, which weighs less than a pound). Yet, in a stunning coincidence, two Thoroughbred racehorses who rivalled in 1973’s Triple Crown series had extra-huge hearts, 18 pounds for Sham and 22 pounds for his amazing rival Secretariat.
They had their role in the history
Horses played a major role in ancient Egyptian history, but only in about 1600 BC after they were seen in the region. Even Ramses III, the renowned pharaoh, listed his chariot horses victory (in Thebes) and Mut.
Horses also played a significant role in American history. Think about all the iconic moments in history; horses as cattle- drivers, farm horses ploughing fields and much more. But all this is very recent as in North America horses only have been around for around 500 years. Columbus and Spaniards were the first ones to bring the horse across the Atlantic.
Horses have muscular ears
Horses’ ears might be tiny, but they are strong. Each ear includes 10 ten muscles and moves 180 degrees facing directly from front to rear. They can likewise recognise and distinguish different sounds by guiding their hearing to particular areas.
Horses often use their ears to communicate by pinning them back to signify anger or for directions. A study conducted by Sussex University concluded that ponies were found to settle on choices dependent on where another’s ears were pointing, revealing to us that the horses might use their ears to coordinate with each other.
A horse’s teeth never stop growing
A horse’s teeth continue to grow throughout its life. This happens more in their initial years when the teeth are still growing. Because of grazing, the teeth are continually worn out.
However, horses need regular filling of their teeth to avoid sharpening. If the teeth become sharp or congested, it can bring pain and discomfort to the horse while riding.
The horse trailer was invented by a UK man named George Bentinck. Trains and boats were the only means of transport in those days, but Bentinck wanted a better way to transport his six racehorses from one race track to another.
They talk to the wind
Winning Brew, a racehorse with an amazing speed of 43.97mph, is regarded as the fastest horse in the world by the Guinness World Records. The American Quarter Horse holds this record over a brief distance. The Quarter Horse earned his name as they are renowned for outrunning any horse in a short distance of a quarter-mile or less. The fastest recorded speed of a quarter horse is 55mph.
Horses like sweets
Usually, horses have less liking for sour and bitter foods and are more likely to dismiss it than sweeter treaties.
Horses have fewer bones than humans
Humans and horses vary by only one bone. Humans average 206 bones and horses 205. Although they both have a pelvis, unlike humans, horses do not possess any collar bones. Horses have muscles that function as collar bones; however, there is no skeletal connection between the front leg and rib cage like humans.
Horse’s one leg side is slight shooter than other
Horses normally are slightly shorter on one side. It is not difficult to tell which side of the horse’s mane is shorter than which side.
Foals are born with protective hooves
When foals are born, their hooves are coated with soft tissue so that they do not damage the uterus and birth canal of their mother. These tissues are named golden hooves, fairy slippers, foal slippers, and gills and fingers.
Horse’s float when they gallop
Well, kind of! When a horse runs, all four of its hooves are above the ground at a specific time.