Horse Facts

This page brings you a list of interesting horse facts.

Classification of the Horse

  • They are a subspecies of the the family Equidae
  • The correct Latin name for the horse is Equus ferus caballus.
  • They are an ungulate mammal which means "hooved" animal.
  • They evolved from a small multi-toed creature to the horse we know today over the last 50 million years
  • Horses were first domesticated around 4500 BC
  • Horses are prey animals who rely on speed to escape from predators
  • They are also herd animals who rely on safety in numbers and require social interaction with each other
  • There are over 300 different breeds of horses

Horse Facts: Age

  • You can tell the age of a horse by examining his teeth
  • Domesticated horses have an average life expectancy of 25 to 30 years
  • The oldest recorded horse was "Old Billy" who lived to the age of 62
  • Foal is the term that describes a male or female horse that is less than one year old
  • Yearling is the term that describes a male or female horse that between one and two years old
  • A mare is a female horse who is four years or older
  • A filly is a female horse who is under four years old
  • A stallion is a male horse who is four years or older
  • A colt is a male horse who is under four years old
  • A gelding is a male horse who has been castrated

Size

  • Horses are measured in hands - one hand being equal 4 inches (10cm)
  • The measurement is taken from the ground to the top of the withers
  • "Pony" is the term generally used to describe an animal that measures 14.2h or under
  • "Horse" is the term used to describe an animal that measures over 14.2h
  • Miniature horses measure in at less than 30"



Colors

  • Bay - body color ranges from light reddish-brown to dark brown and the legs, tail and mane are black
  • Brown - body color ranges from light reddish-brown to dark brown
  • Chestnut - body color ranges from light reddish-brown to dark brown with no black points. Mane and tail are the same shade or lighter.
  • Grey - can range from white to dark grey but all have black skin
  • Black - coat, mane and tail are all black
  • Buckskin - cream coat with black legs, mane and tail
  • Dun - cream coat with black legs, mane and tail plus black stripe along spine
  • Cremello - very light cream coat and most often with blue eyes
  • Leopard/Appaloosa - horse has spots, mottled skin around the eyes, lips and genitalia and also has a white sclera of the eye
  • Palomino - golden, yellow or tan shade with flaxen or white mane and tail
  • Pinto - multi-colored horse with large patches usually either brown and white or black and white
  • Roan - has white hairs evenly intermixed with body color and solid-colored head
  • White - very rare and has white coat with pink skin

Horse Facts: Reproduction

  • Pregnancy lasts for approx 335-340 days
  • Foals are able to stand and run within a very short time after birth
  • Horses are considered mature at around four years old but their skeleton doesn't finishing developing until they are around six

Anatomy

  • Horses have 205 bones in their skeleton
  • Horses have a special locking mechanism in their legs which enable them to sleep standing up

Digestion

  • Horses are herbivores which means they only eat plants
  • They have a small stomach so require a steady flow of food throughout the day and night
  • They require approx 2 percent of their body weight in food per day
  • A 1,000 pound horse require approx 10-12 gallons of water per day

Senses

  • Horses have the largest eyes of any land mammal and have excellent day and night vision
  • Their range of vision is 350 degrees with two small blind spots, one directly in front and one directly behind them
  • Their ears can rotate up to 180 degrees to provide 360 degree hearing with having to move their head

Horse Facts: Movement

  • Horses have four basic gaits: walk, trot, canter and gallop
  • The walk is a four beat gait with three feet on the ground at any one time
  • The trot is a two beat gait with diagonally opposite feet on the ground at the same time
  • The canter or lope is a three beat gait with a moment of suspension where all four feet are off the ground
  • The gallop is a four beat gait and is the fastest gait for the horse

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