Horses never cease to amaze us. They can be incredibly fast and live longer than you might expect. These beautiful animals have plenty of fascinating characteristics, and there are some interesting facts about horses that we were dying to share with our readers. How many of the facts below did you already know?
Horses can sleep lying down and standing up
Thanks to a system of tendons and ligaments called the stay apparatus, horses are able to lock the major joints in their legs and not worry about falling while they sleep.
A horse's teeth never stop growing
A horse’s teeth will continue to grow throughout most of their life. This happens more so in their early years, while the teeth are still developing. Due to grazing, the teeth are constantly worn down. However, horses require regular filing from the dentist to stop the teeth from becoming sharp. If the teeth become sharp or overgrown, the horse can experience difficulty with both eating and pain when ridden in a bridle.
'Horses produce 3-10 gallons of saliva every day
Horses are grazing animals and ideally should be eating regularly. Saliva helps the horse to swallow food easily and prevent ulcers in the digestive tract. Unlike with humans, the saliva is only produced during chewing.
The Arabian horse is one of the strongest endurance animals
Arabian horses are renowned for their speed and elegance. The Arab horse can run over 100 miles without any rest. The famous Thoroughbred horse was developed from Arabian stallions. This is because they were prized for their speed and athleticism. Arab horses also have wider and deeper rib cages than other breeds. This allows for their impressive speed and endurance.
The fastest recorded speed of a race horse is 43.97mph
Winning Brew, a Thoroughbred racehorse, is recognized by the Guinness World Records as being the fastest horse in the world at a speed of 43.97mph. Over a short distance, the American Quarter Horse is considered to be the fastest horse. The Quarter Horse gets its name from the fact that they could outrun any horse at a distance of a quarter of a mile or less. The fastest speed that a Quarter Horse has been recorded at is 55mph.
The oldest horse on record lived to 62 years old
This is one of our favorite interesting facts about horses. ‘Old Billy’ the horse lived to the impressive age of 62 and died in 1822. This is a remarkable age for a horse as most horses live between 20-25 years old, depending largely on breed.
Horses are unable to vomit
Due to the strong muscles around their oesophagus, horses cannot vomit. This is why horses commonly suffer from colic, because they are unable to bring up anything that upsets the stomach.
The original horsebox was built in 1836
Lord George Bentinck built a custom made carriage, which was pulled by 6 horses in order to transport his prized racehorse 200 miles away to race, so that he didn’t tire him out on the long journey. Since Elis the horse was so well rested in comparison to his competitors, he won the race and also won Bentinck 12,000 in betting money.
The first horse to have been cloned was a Haflinger
The first cloned foal to have been produced was Prometea, a Haflinger filly, who was cloned in Italy in 2003.
Domestic horses are incredible at reading human emotion
Horse can sense human emotions such as anxiety or sadness even before we have consciously registered the emotion. Horses are very perceptive and sensitive animals and use complex facial expressions to express emotions similar to the way that humans do. That’s why people often say to not match a nervous horse with a nervous rider, because the horse will pick up on any level of anxiety straight away. This is also partly why humans form such strong partnerships with horses on an emotional level.
The highest jump ever jumped by a horse on record is 8 foot 1 inches (2.47 metres), recorded in 1949 in Chile
The horse in question was a thoroughbred and was named Hauso who cleared the impressive fence with Captain Alberto Larraguibel in the saddle. Hauso was originally destined to be a racehorse, but proved to be hot headed and unruly. He was also deemed unsuitable for dressage. One day in the round pen, Hauso bolted and jumped a 2-meter fence, escaping his enclosure. Witnessed by an army horse master, Hauso’s scope to jump was recognized and he was bought. Hauso broke the world record at the age of sixteen after two years of training and retired following the achievement. He was eventually buried at the age of twenty-eight, when he spent his last years at the Cavalry Academy.
Grey horses are not born grey
Surprisingly, grey horses are usually born chestnut, black or brown, and they gradually lighten in color to become grey. Cremello horses are born cremello and stay the same color throughout.
What's one of the most interesting facts about horses that you know? Let us know in the comments below!
Horse Courses by Elaine Heney
- Listening to the Horse - The Documentary by Elaine Heney & Grey Pony Films
- Shoulder In & Out Training for better balance, bend & topline development with your horse
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Written by Anna Wilson