- Type: Mammal
- Diet: Herbivore
- Lifespan: 20-30 years
- On Earth For: 50 million years
- Origin: North America
- Size: 30 – 70 inches tall, though varies greatly by breed
- Weight: 120 – 2,000lb
- Habitat: Deserts, grasslands and woodland
- Range: Worldwide
- Scientific Name: Equus ferus caballus
- Breeds: There Are Many Horse Breeds, but Only One Type of Domestic Horse
- History: Horses Have Inhabited the Earth for Millions of Years
- Science: Horses Have Unusual Vision
- Habits: Horses Talk to Each Other
- Science: Foals Can Stand up Soon after They Are Born
- Science: You Can Tell the Age of a Horse by Its Teeth
- Hooves: Horseshoes Perform a Similar Function to Our Running Shoes
- Habits: Horses Can Work as Teams
- Economy: The Horse Industry Is Booming
- Science: Horses Are Highly Intelligent Animals
- Horses Are Able to Perceive Some Colors
- There Is Only One Breed of Wild Horse
- Police Horses Have Been Around Since the 17th Century
- All Horses Share the Same Birthday
- Horsemeat Is a Delicacy in Many Countries
- Horses Frequently Appear in Religion and Mythology
- Horses Appear in Chinese Astrology
- The Horse Is a Symbol of Power and Beauty
- Horses Were Important in the Introduction of Movie Technology
- In Utah, you Can Be Jailed for Riding a Horse on a Sunday
There Are Many Horse Breeds, but Only One Type of Domestic Horse
The first of our horse facts reveals that although there is only one species of domestic horse, there are somewhere near 400 different horse breeds in total. From the point of view of humans and our domestication of them, each horse breed has a different specialty – like racing or working farmland or jumping. Horses were probably domesticated more than 4,000 years ago in Asia. Since then, these animals have played a large role in society for a range of purposes, with transport being the predominant one. This has changed since the invention of the engine: horses are now used more for sports and leisure activities.
Horses Have Inhabited the Earth for Millions of Years
Horses have lived on Earth for more than 50 million years. Originally, horses came from North America, but then they gradually spread to Asia and Europe. Interestingly, the horses that were originally from North America became extinct about 10,000 years ago. When Europeans colonized South America, horses were reintroduced to the continent. Horses were of course initially wild creatures; they were probably domesticated first in Asia around 3000 – 4000BC
Horses Have Unusual Vision
Horses have vision that is almost 360 degrees. Strangely though, they have blind spots directly in front of and behind them so their vision is not fully reliable. That’s why it’s dangerous to stand behind a horse – they might kick backwards if they hear or sense you. Standing directly in front of them can also unsettle them. For this reason, it is best to stand at one side of the horse, towards the head. The kicking reaction is a defense mechanism and is a reaction to fear.
Horses Talk to Each Other
Horse facts demonstrate that horses are quite social beings and communicate both with other horses and humans in a number of ways. Whinnying and neighing sounds are generally used by horses to signal greetings and goodbyes. Loud roars are mating calls. Snorts are used to signal panic or danger. Mares make deep sounding noises when they are nursing their babies. Horse language generally indicates some sort of emotion-based response.
Foals Can Stand up Soon after They Are Born
When a female horse becomes pregnant, it will be around 11 months before she gives birth to her foal. It is a myth that horses give birth standing up: generally they lie down while in labor. Foals in the wild are usually born in the spring because food is more plentiful then. The foal is able to stand soon after birth and is classed as an adult at 3 to 5 years of age. At 2 years old, male foals are driven away from the herd by the stallion of the group. The young males foals stick together until they can find a group of females to take charge of.
You Can Tell the Age of a Horse by Its Teeth
One of our more interesting horse facts tells us that it is possible to estimate the age of a horse simply by examining its teeth. The teeth of baby horses start to appear soon after birth, but the first adult teeth grow in when the horse is between 2 and 3 years old. When they get older, around their late 20s, horses can lose some teeth – so it is wise to help them take care of them. It is actually possible for a horse to have dental care to enable it to retain its teeth for longer.
Horse Shoes Perform a Similar Function to Our Running Shoes
Horse facts illustrate that horse shoes are a form of protection for hooves, but they can also provide shock absorption for running. The function of a horse shoe is similar to that of a running shoe for humans – as in they are designed to protect the joints in particular. Interestingly, horse shoes are not all the same; it is possible to get different kinds for your horse, such as lightweight aluminum shoes and shoes to improve balance.
Horses Can Work as Teams
Horse are social beings who take care of each other. For example, it is unlikely you will ever see all the horses in a single herd lying down at the same time. At least one horse will stand as a look-out in order to alert the others of any possible danger. This also shows an aspect of their undoubted intelligence, as well as an instinctive survival impulse that predates their domestication and goes back to their days in the wild.
The Horse Industry Is Booming
Horses are used by humans for a range of purposes including competitions and sports, breeding and recreation. Horses are actually a massive business for humans which explains the considerable expense of buying and maintaining them. Horse-riding and showing is a popular pastime, but can be an expensive hobby when stabling, feeding and transportation costs are taken into consideration. Around 4.6 million Americans are involved in a wide range of horse industries – the combined worth of which is around $39 billion every year.
Horses Are Highly Intelligent Animals
A 2010 study showed that horse intelligence, especially memory, has been previously underestimated. It seems that horses have quite a high capacity for understanding language and have a memory that is just as good as, or even better than, elephants. Horses retain a memory for affection for a long time – horse facts show that they will even remember individuals who have treated them well for their entire lives. Furthermore, they remember places too – they get nervous in new places but feel calmer in places where they have been before.
Horses Are Able to Perceive Some Colors
Horses have dichromatic vision, which means that they see only two wavelengths of visible light, whereas most people see three. Horse facts tell us that they can see the blue and green shades of the color spectrum, but they have difficulty with other colors and cannot see the color red. Furthermore, because their eyes are located on each side of their head, horses see different images with each eye. This means that a horse is seeing two different pictures at the same time.
There Is Only One Breed of Wild Horse
The only genuinely wild horse breed that still exists today is called Przewalski’s horse. This horse once existed in great numbers across the world, from China all the way to Spain, but has gradually died out. Now, some wild horses have been reintroduced to China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan in order to ensure the species’ survival. Although it is critically endangered, the Przewalski’s horse population is increasing, and, in 2015, there are currently thought to be around 2,000 Przewalski’s horses in existence.
Police Horses Have Been Around Since the 17th Century
Police horses have been used as a peaceful method of maintaining law and order since the 17th century. They are still used by many police forces but are not as widespread as in the past due to the increased use of police cars and motorbikes. However, a mounted officer is still a common sight in many parts of the world and is useful, particularly in crowded areas: generally mounted police officers can see for a long distance and can easily be seen by others. They also help to maintain order as they command respect and a sense of authority. The horses that are used for this job tend to be castrated as this makes them more peaceful.
All Horses Share the Same Birthday
Our more surprising horse facts include this rather strange one: all horses have the same birthday – even though they obviously aren’t all born on the same day. In the Northern Hemisphere, all horses celebrate a common birthday on January 1, whereas in the Southern Hemisphere the common birthday date is August 1. The reason for this standardization is to allow for a comparison of abilities of horses of different ages, as proper horse date records don’t exist.
Horsemeat Is a Delicacy in Many Countries
Even though there has recently been a public outcry about horsemeat being sold in place of steaks, our horse facts include the ironic one that many countries consider this to be a delicacy. The French love horsemeat – not just horse steaks, but also brains and hearts which are used in many recipes. Horse meat is often on the menu in high-end restaurants. Horses have actually always been eaten by humans – and why not? In war time especially, people are less picky and turn to horse as it is cheap and a good source of protein.
Horses Frequently Appear in Religion and Mythology
The horse appears in Greek mythology in various forms: Demeter, the goddess of fertility, had a black horse’s head; her priestesses were referred to as her foals. Furthermore, horses were sacrificed for the God of the Sea, Poseidon. Horses also have religious significance in the Hindu religion – they are associated with the cosmos and thought to be the ultimate incarnation of Vishnu. In the Bible they appear as the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. In many cultures, horses are revered, partly because of their role in countless wars throughout history.
Horses Appear in Chinese Astrology
In China, the horse is one of the 12 signs of the zodiac. These signs work by years – so people are born in the year of a particular symbol. Apparently, if you are born in the year of the horse, you are intelligent, independent and have a free-spirit – just like the horse itself. The spirit of a horse is said to represent the Chinese people’s impulse to continually improve themselves. Other signs of the zodiac in China include the rabbit and the dragon.
The Horse Is a Symbol of Power and Beauty
In literature and art, and in the dream theories of psychoanalysts like Freud and Jung, the horse represents a variety of ideas, such as power, beauty and sexuality. The color of the horse can also be key to understanding exactly what is being symbolized: a black horse can signify mystery or danger, while white horses suggest purity, vitality and speed. Horses generally represent positive attributes – they are usually loveable, strong and, often, heroic.
Horses Were Important in the Introduction of Movie Technology
In 1872, American tycoon Leland Stanford wanted to prove his theory that during the gallop of a horse, at some point all of the hooves are off the ground at once. Having made a bet, he paid a photographer to assist him. By setting up 24 cameras side by side to take simultaneous photographs of racehorses, he was able to prove that this was true. A consequence of this experiment ultimately led to the invention of the movie projector, as when the photos were viewed, they gave the illusion of movement.
In Utah, You Can Be Jailed for Riding a Horse on a Sunday
In Utah, if you’re female, are not married and are caught riding a horse on a Sunday, you can legally be sent to jail. There are other insane laws featuring horses found throughout the United States. In South Carolina it is illegal to tickle a female under the chin with a feather duster in order to get her attention while she is riding a horse. In Indiana, on the day of your wedding, you are not allowed to go riding with your friends. Perhaps the most ridiculous of our horse facts is that in Illinois, you can be arrested for riding an ugly horse!
Horse Facts – Facts about Horses Summary
Horses have been important to humans for many centuries for the purposes of transport, but also for many other reasons. Many people love riding horses for pleasure and sport, while they have long been used by police officers to maintain law and order. Watching racehorses is also a great pleasure for many, and is sometimes associated with gambling. Horses are intelligent creatures which have been portrayed in art and literature throughout history, and symbolize positive attributes like power and beauty. Horses are sensitive in communicating with others and they remember things throughout their lives. We should treat horses well and with pride.