Horses are gentle, smart animals. Stunningly beautiful and with an air of dignity, they have been valued by humankind for many centuries now. Whether used as means of transportation, in agriculture or in competitions, horses have proven themselves to be loyal and hard working creatures. As with many other animals, horses have a set of characteristics and unique features. Below you’ll find 30 interesting facts that you probably didn’t know about these magnificent animals:
1. An adult horses’ brain only weighs about half that of a human- 22 oz.
2.In 2003, a mare was cloned in Italy. It was the first cloned horse, and it was from the Haflinger breed.
3. “Horse” inspired “chivalry”, derived from the French word “cheval” which means horse.
4. Horses were part of the first Olympic games: Chariot Races was the first Olympic sport.
5. They like sweets and sweet tastes- they will reject anything that is sour or bitter.
6. Horses cannot vomit. They lack the gag reflex muscle right before their stomachs. Without that muscle, vomiting is not possible.
7. They also cannot get frostbites on their legs. A protective mechanism stops that from happening, and horses can endure sitting in icy water or snow without a problem.
8. Horses have good taste in music. They like listening to classical music, finding it comforting and serene. Music calms down agitated horses!
9. A horse heart weighs 10 pounds!
10. Their intestins are incredibly long: they measure about 89 feet in a fully grown horse.
11. The lenght of a foal’s legs at birth indicate the height the horse will have when mature, as they are already about 80-90 % of their future lenght.
12. They have a heightened sense of touch: they can feel a mosquito on them the instant the insect lands!
13. Horses cannot breath through their mouths.
14. Arabian horses have one rib less, as they are a distinct breed. Different breeds have different features: the shape of the ear, the height, the tail and even traits: some are more aggresive, others are faster.
15. The fastest horse in the world is Secretariat. His record hasn’t been beaten to date.
16. They drink at least 25 gallons of water a day, even more in hot climates.
17. Horses’ teeth never stop growing.
18. Horses have been found in cave paintings which date back to around 15000 B.C.
19. You can tell whether a horse feels cold by touching its ears. If they’re cold, the horse is too.
20. The four horses of the Apocalypse are symbols for the end of the world- the white one is conquest, the black one famine, the red one war and the pale one plague.
21. There are 16 muscles in a horse’s’ ears allowing them to rotate their ears 180 degrees.
22. Horses with pink skin can get a sunburn!
23. They have impressive long term memory.
24. Horses have seven common blood types.
25. The oldest horse on record has lived until the age of 62 years.
26. Horses are known to mourn the loss of a companion, be it human, horse or another creature.
27. They also do well with routine, they like having a predictable day. They especially like routine when it comes to food: same food, same time.
28. A horse knee joint is the equivalent of a human wrist, and a hock joint is the equivalent of a human ankle.
29. The Mongolians were the first to domesticate this wild creatures, around 5000 years ago.
30. You can tell whether a horse is dehydrated by pinching its skin: if the skin takes long before returning to its initial state, the horse is in serious need of water!
What other facts do you know about horses?