15 Facts About Horses That May Surprise You

Horses are pretty amazing 🐎

horse facts

Horses are seriously amazing animals. Beyond their beauty, they have high intelligence, incredible memory skills and the remarkable ability to help people suffering from a range of issues. We’ve rounded up 15 horse facts that sum up why horses will always be among the most beloved animals.

15 surprising horse facts

  1. Horses have been around for millions of years, but not in the way we know them today. Horses originally were about the size of a large dog (think Irish wolfhound), with four toes on each foot. They have since grown and evolved. The toes have faded into the hooves they have now. Yes, the hoof is just one large TOE!
  2. On that topic, horse hooves are made from the same protein (keratin) that comprises human hair and fingernails.
  3. About 6,000 years ago, it’s believed that humans first domesticated horses in places like Ukraine and Kazakhstan. They were then used to help people travel long distances, plow fields and cover ground during war.
  4. Horses have seriously fast reflexes — should a horse feel threatened and need to fight, he can go from standing still to kicking in just three seconds.
  5. Horses have a nearly 360-degree field of vision because of the way their eyes are positioned on the sides of their heads. However, they have two blind spots: one directly behind them, and one just in front and below their noses (so if you’re waving a carrot in front of your horse, put it by his nose and lips so he can smell and know it’s there for the munching).
  6. Horses do not have teeth in the middle of their mouths. If your horse has any broken or rotten teeth, you may have to call an equine dentist (yes, that’s an actual job!).
horse facts
  1. Baby horses, or foals, can run within 24 hours of being born.
  2. Horses can sleep both lying down and standing up (adult horses mostly rest while standing up but will lie down for short periods to obtain the REM sleep necessary to them).
  3. There are about 60 million horses in the world, and they can be found all around the globe, except Antarctica!
  4. Horses are measured by “hands” — one hand is equal to 4 inches.
  5. Horses can’t vomit or burp. At the entrance of their stomachs, a muscle ring called the cardiac sphincter makes sure that any food that enters the stomach can’t go back out (which is why a horse’s diet is so important).
horse facts
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  1. While horses mainly eat grass and hay, they also like fruits and vegetables and enjoy licking on a “salt lick” (basically, a giant block of salt).
  2. While the average life span of a horse is 25–30 years, the oldest horse ever lived to be 62 years old. He was appropriately named Old Billy, and he lived in England from 1760–1822.
  3. Horses only have one less bone than humans. We have 206, and horses have 205. However, Arabian horses are different. They have one less pair of ribs, lumbar and tail vertebrae, meaning they only have 201 bones!
  4. Horses can understand and interpret their humans’ emotions — studies report that horses can read human facial expressions and remember a person’s emotional state. Another study found that horses exhibited an increase in heart rate when they looked at angry human faces versus happy ones.
horse facts

While the stereotype of little girls loving horses remains strong, it’s safe to say that there’s lots to love about horses, no matter who you are!