Horses are amazing creatures, and however long you have been around them, there are some horse facts and figures that still take you by surprise. Here is a round-up of just some that are likely to surprise you….
Fascinating horse facts
1. Horses have around 205 bones in their skeleton, but some Arabian horses have fewer ribs and lumbar vertebrae than is typically found in other breeds of horse — 5 lumbar vertebrae rather than 6 and 17 pairs of ribs rather than 18.
2. Equine have bigger eyes than any other land mammal. They also have a third eyelid which lies on the inside of the eye and closes diagonally over it for added protection.
3. Horses can sleep both lying down and standing up thanks to a special locking system in their legs, but they can only achieve REM sleep when lying down.
4. Male horses have 40 teeth when they are adults (usually from around five-years-old), while mares have 36 teeth. In both cases horses’ teeth take up more space in their heads than their brains.
5. The longest tail ever recorded on a horse, according to the Guinness Book of Records, belonged to a mare in Kansas, USA, called JJS Summer Breeze and measured 381cms (12 foot 6 inches) on 23rd August 2007.
6. Horses can’t vomit due to them having a strong band of muscles around their oesophagus. This band is so strong that a horse’s stomach would burst before the animal would vomit.
7. Horses produce approximately 10 gallons of saliva a day.
8. The tallest horse on record was a Shire named Sampson. He was 21.2hh (7 feet, 2 inches) tall. Find out more about the world’s largest horse breeds.
9. Estimates suggest that there are around 60 million horses in the world, but…
10. There were no horses in Australia until 1788, when they arrived with with the first Western settlers, and were used for farming and utility work. Only the strongest and fittest horses survived the hard sea journey over from Europe and Australian horses still maintain a reputation for being amongst the hardiest equines in the world.
11. A horse’s brain weighs around 623g, half the weight of a human brain.
12. Horses don’t have collarbones. Their shoulders are held to the rest of their skeleton via a sling of muscles and ligaments instead.
13. When foals are born, their hooves are covered with soft tissue to stop them damaging their mother’s birth canal and uterus. Names for this tissue include fairy slippers, golden hooves, foal slipper, leaves, gills, and fingers.
14. The earliest member of the horse family was the Eohippus, dating back 55 million years.
15. Horses drink at least five gallons of water each day.
16. While humans have just three ear muscles, horses have 10.
17. A horse’s heart typically weighs 4–4.5kg and is about the size of a basketball.
18. Horses cannot breathe through their mouth, only through their nose.
19. Horses usually gallop at around 27 mph, but the fastest recorded sprinting speed of a horse was 55 mph.
20. Equinophobia is the fear of horses.
21. On average, most domesticated horses live until they are around 25- to 30-years-old.
22. There are around 350 horse breeds and types around the world.
23. Most of the white horses that you see were actually a much darker colour at birth and gradually turn white. These ‘white’ horses may start out as bay, chestnut, or almost black. Of course, these horses aren’t actually called white, but grey…
24. The world’s smallest horse breed is the Falabella which ranges between 38-76 cm tall.
25. A horse’s range of vision is 350° with two small blind spots, one directly in front and one directly behind them.
Plus some weird location-based horse facts you probably didn’t know about until now…
26. In Wilbur, Washington, it is illegal to ride an ‘ugly horse.’ Do so and you risk a $300 fine.
27. In Oklahoma, it’s illegal to let a donkey sleep in a bathtub after 7pm.
28. In New York, it’s illegal to open or close an umbrella in the presence of a horse.
29. Horses in Burns, Oregon, are allowed into the town’s taverns with their owner — provided their owner has paid for their admission, of course.
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