Looking for facts about horses? We've got ‘em! Need great horse facts for your next book report? Are you thinking about getting your first horse? Do you like learning about horses or just want to brush up on some equine trivia? You've come to the right place. Check it out!
Horses are herd animals. This means that they are highly social and prefer to be in groups. A horse will always prefer to be with at least one other horse. It is important for their emotional, mental and psychological health… Like a dog on a chain… they go a little crazy when they are isolated!
Horses that are housed alone in a stall or a pasture will do better with a friend. If not another horse then another animal. What kinds of animals have been used for pasture mates? Goats, sheep, donkeys, llamas, cows and even chickens (in a stall/barn situation).
When a 1000 pound horse kicks a 1200 pound horse it’s not usually a big deal. But when a horse kicks a 150 pound person…trust me, it’s a big deal! See equine safety for more on how to be safe around horses.
Horses are a prey animal. This means they are on the food chain for predators like wolves, mountain lions and bears. A horse’s first reaction to anything that frightens them is to bolt and run. Their second reaction is to kick or bite.
Horses also use kicking and biting to establish and maintain their pecking order with one another. Kicking and biting is an essential form of communication between horses. There is always a ‘lead’ horse in the group. The lead horse is the established boss.
In captivity it is usually a mare. In the wild it is often a stallion with a lead mare acting as second in command. Humans train horses to view people as ‘higher up’ on the chain of command to prevent getting kicked and bitten.
There are over 300 breeds of horses and ponies around the world. A recognized breed is a breed of horse that belongs to an association (like the American Quarter Horse Association or the Paso Fino Horse Association) with a breeding record and a stud book.
Horses registered with a breed association can be traced back to their breed foundation stallions. Pure bred horses will have their dam and sire registered with a recognized breed association.
There are some associations that will recognize ‘half-breed’ registry books. Meaning that at least one parent is purebred.
A purebred is a horse with pure blood lines. A Thoroughbred is a breed of horse. Race horses are purebred Thoroughbreds.
There are also horse breed associations that are based on color rather than lineage; like the Appaloosa, Palomino and Spotted Horse Association.
All 300+ breeds of equines can be divided into 5 major types of horses. See horse types for more information.
Mules are known to be sterile. But one Molly surprised the world and gave birth twice. One baby was named 'Once in a Blue Moon' and the second was called 'Lightning Never Strikes Twice'.
The gestation period of a horse (length of pregnancy) is about 11 months. Draft horses can take as long as 11.5 months and donkeys a full 12 months. The birth itself is a fast event at about 10 minutes. Within 5-15 minutes the foal will try to stand.
Horses reach puberty at around 18 months, although it is not wise to breed such a young animal, as pregnancy places an undue burden on immature bones and joints that are still growing. Horses reach full maturity at 4-5 years of age.
There is one amazing case of a horse giving live birth to triplets. One foal lived 24 hours, one lived 4 days and the third miraculously survived. Lucky baby!
Horses can foal once a year and usually give birth to a single baby. Twins are seldom born to horses but do happen on occasion. Twins are small and have a low survival rate. Triplets are extremely rare and usually do not live.
Horses eat about 3% of their body weight every day. A 1000 lb horse will eat 30 lbs of hay a day. Amazingly horses have very delicate digestive systems. When they get a stomach ache it’s called colic. Colic can be deadly to horses. Did you know that horses can not vomit?
The shape of their esophagus prevents it. Did you know that the simple act of feeding a horse one kind of hay one day and different kind of hay the next day can kill or cripple a horse? See equine nutrition for more facts on feeding horses.
Play it smart and only offer treats that are known to be safe for horses.
Some things that can or will make a horse sick: cabbage (OK in small amounts), lawn cuttings, tomato plants, potato plants, rhubarb, oleander, rhododendron, hemlock, fox glove and mustard plants.
Did you know that a horses hooves never stop growing? They must be trimmed on a regular basis. A horse that is ridden a lot can have the hooves worn down faster than the hoof can grow. That’s why people shoe horses.
The metal horseshoe is nailed directly onto the horse’s feet. Done correctly it does not hurt them. The shoe is nailed to the hoof wall. The hoof wall is akin to a humans fingernails. They can be trimmed and shod (have shoes put on) without pain.
Horse fact: their teeth never stop growing. They wear them down with use, like giant hamsters. You can tell a horse’s age by the rings, lines and shape of the teeth.
Easy step-by-step horse drawing lessons.
What does it cost to own a horse?
Learn horse body parts.
Fun and easy D.I.Y. horse costume ideas for parades, Halloween or whenever!
Do you know the difference between warmbloods and thoroughbreds?
Read fun and true, real life adventures on horseback.
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