As springtime approaches in North Carolina, many people are eager to get outside and spend time in the great outdoors. Animals awaken from their slumber, and horses are anxious to frolic in the sunshine. As a home for retired equines, we have seen and dealt with almost every situation imaginable. There are still some things about these regal creatures that amaze us. Here are ten things you probably don’t know about the beloved horse.
1. Their Brains Are Tiny
The horse is one of the smartest animals around, yet their brains are about half the size of humans. It’s estimated to weigh about 22 ounces. Part of the reason for the smaller brain is because they have such large teeth. Most people have no clue that the horse’s teeth are more substantial than their brains.
2. Largest Peepers of All Animals
The eye of the horse is the most massive eyeball of any animal. It can see almost 360 degrees around their body due to its unique positioning. They see way better during the night than you can, but when it comes to adjusting from dark to light, it’s challenging for them.
The next time you are around an equine, notice the position of their ears. Their ear will often point in the direction they are looking. If you see the ears pointing two different ways, it’s because the horse is focusing on two distinct things.
3. The Oldest Horse Was 62 Years Old
The average horse lives for 25-30 years, but the oldest horse in history lived for 55 years. ‘Old Billy’ made the record book. He lived to be 62 years old. Even more impressive was that he lived during the early 1900s when veterinarian medicine wasn’t as good as today.
4. They Can Drink 25 Gallons of Water A Day
It’s nothing for a horse to drink up to 25 gallons of water each day, and this is especially true in the warmer climates. Since they weigh anywhere from 800-1,200 pounds, they need a lot of water to keep their bodies hydrated. Also, since they salivate over 10 gallons each day, they need to account for the loss of fluids.
5. Their Speed Is Why Car Manufacturers Use Them for Brand Building
The automotive industry has used the strength and speed of a horse and intermingled it with their brand. Horsepower is a term that was derived from the speed in which a horse can travel. It’s commonly used to describe engines today. An average horse runs about 27 mph. However, the fastest horse on record hit 88 mph, which is unbelievable for an animal of this size.
6. They Travel in Packs
In the wild, you never see one horse by itself. There is safety in numbers, which is why there is anywhere from three to 20 together. You won’t catch them all lying down either. One horse is always standing guard while the others sleep. Since they can sleep either standing up or lying down, the one on guard can get some rest, but they still take on the responsibility of the others.
7. The Horse Industry Employs Nearly 5 Million Americans
The horse industry has a profound effect on American society. Since there are nearly five million people employed through this industry, it’s easy to see it’s a massive producer of jobs. It brings in about $40 million each year. It’s estimated that there are around 60 million horses in the world being cared for by humans.
8. They Use Body Language To Communicate
Everybody loved the talking horse on television. However, few people realize that horses are excellent at communicating. While they won’t use words, they use sounds, facial expressions, and movements to converse. Whenever they enter or leave the presence of other horses, they will whinny or neigh. During mating season, the stallion uses a roar to let the female know he is ready. Also, when there is a sign of danger, the horse will snort or slap its tail to warn others.
9. They Have A Sweet Tooth
Horses are notoriously known for their sweet tooth. They will take a sugar cube or savory treat any day over something bitter or sour. They hate bitter foods, and although they cannot vomit, something sour can certainly cause an upset stomach.
10. Horses Get Sunburns Too
Have you ever seen silly pictures with a horse wearing a hat? Well, those pictures may not be as ridiculous as you thought. It seems that any horse that has pink skin can sunburn. Thankfully, not too many have this hue in their coat, so they are safe outdoors.
Was there anything on here that you didn’t know? The horse is one of the most beautiful animals around. They have been in existence for 50 million years and are still fascinating to us. There is still so much to be uncovered and discovered about the magnificent horse.