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Facts About Horses

Interesting Facts About Horses


Horses are such facinating creatures! Even if you never learned to ride or drive one, you could spend your whole life studying them and still have plenty to explore. Here are fifteen interesting facts about horses.

1. Horses Sleep Standing Up

2006 K. Blocksdorf

Yes, horses do sleep standing up! They sleep laying down too, but only for short times. Learn all about the sleeping habits of horses.

2. Horses Can't Burp

Image: 2011 K. Blocksdorf

That's right! Horses can't burp, at least not the way humans do. They can't vomit or breathe through their mouths like humans do either. A horse's digestive system is a one-way street, unlike cattle and other ruminants who regurgitate food to re-chew it. Although they have a pretty efficient way of processing the tough fibrous foods that makes up their forage, this long, one-directional system can cause problems that result in colic.

3. A Horse's Age Can be Estimated by Its Teeth

Image: 2007 K. Blocksdorf

While you can't tell the exact age of a horse by its teeth, you can estimate its age. Horses need proper equine dental care for their teeth, but sometimes a horse lives longer than its teeth do, so extra care is needed when feeding senior horses.

4. Horses Can Live to Be Over 30 Years Old

Image: 2007 K. Blocksdorf

One of the most common questions about horses is 'how long does a horse live'. The answer may surprise you. Our knowledge or horse nutrition, horse care and veterinary medicine has increased. Because of this, just as human life expectancy has increased, so has equine longevity.

5. The American Quarter Horse is The World's Most Popular Breed

Appreciated by beginner riders and professional horsemen alike, the American Quarter Horse is the world's most popular breed. Learn about the American Quarter Horse. About.com Horses readers love their Quarter Horses, and many have shared their stories of what life with a Quarter Horse is like.

6. Arabian Horses Have One Less Vertebrae Than Other Breeds

Image: 2007 Sandra F.

The Arabian Horse is the foundation of many other light horse breed. They also possess some unique characteristics. Arabian horses have one fewer vertebrae, rib and tail bone than other horses. Learn about the Arabian Horse and it's unique history and characteristics.

7. Horses are Herbivores

Image: 2010 K. Blocksdorf

Humans are omnivores, lions are carnivores, and horses are herbivores. The way their teeth are formed, the position of their eyes and their digestive system are all typical characteristics of herbivores.

8. Horses are Herd Animals

Image: 2005 K. Blocksdorf

Horses in the wild live in small herds, and domestic horses feel more comfortable if they have companions too. It can be quite stressful for a horse to live alone. To keep your horse happy, it will need a (preferably equine) friend. You may not be able to afford to keep two horses, so About.com Horses readers have submitted tips for keeping horse companions.

9. Horses Were Domesticated By Humans About 3500 BC

Image: Wikipedia Images

Dogs may have become domesticated around 14,000 years ago. Cats became our companions about 8500 years ago. Humankind's relationship with the horse began a little more recently, about 3500 BC. Learn more about the domestication of horses.

10. Horses are Measured in 'Hands'

Image: 2011 K. Blocksdorf

The standard measurement for determining the height of a horse is called a hand. A pony is any equine under 14.2 hands. The only equines not measured in hands are Miniature Horses that are measured in inches or centimeters.

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