As we’re winding down the year, we thought looking at ten unique facts about horses would be fun. Without further ado, here are some fun facts about our horse friends.
Our skin is sensitive, some people more than others. But did you know that a horse’s skin is seven times more sensitive than ours? Their skin is only thicker than ours by a millimeter, and their epidermis is thinner than our outer layer of skin. This means they don’t have the same pain protection as other large animals. Check out some of the science here.
The moral of the story: be gentle around horses.
Memory Like an Elephant
Horses, like elephants, have good memories. While this article was published twelve years ago, the topic of horse memory is still relevant. They have fantastic recall and will remember a human friend years after last seeing them. They are also good at understanding verbal commands, even though they can be stubborn and pretend like they don’t.
Horse and Rider
Horses can safely carry about 20% of their body weight. In the racing industry, this is a vital part of our experience. We train horses to be able to wear the saddle and carry a jockey so they can be light on their feet. This information has been widely available since a publication in the 1920s shared these details. Of course, since the load will be relative to their body weight, a larger horse can carry much more than a pony.
Like cats, horses’ eyes glow in the dark. However, it’s not because they’re hunters. They have an adaptation called tapetum lucidum. This means that their eyes kind of work like an internal light reflector kind of like a reflector on your bike. The science behind their night vision is pretty intense.
What’s For Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner?
Horses are eating machines. You know this if you’re footing the bill for all their feed. Horses need a minimum of one to one and a half pounds of forage for 100 pounds of body weight. Our horses weigh between 1000 and 1400 ponds, so you can do that math! They also graze up to 16 hours a day, which is a lot of time. Horses also have very specific dietary requirements. And racehorses will have a different diet than horses doing other jobs.
A racehorse can reach speeds up to 40mph. This is exciting to watch on the track and particularly interesting to trainers like us. The fastest human on record is Usain Bolt, who clocked in at 27 miles per hour. The average speed for people is about six miles per hour. As impressive as the speed of a horse can be, they’re not the fastest animal on the planet.
You may not want to test out this fun fact on a random horse, but did you know most horses are ticklish, especially their bellies? It’s true! This comes back around to horses having sensitive skin. But you want to keep an eye out to ensure that it’s not part of a larger problem. And remember, getting a horse’s consent before you tickle them is hard.
No Thundershirt Necessary
While there are exceptions to every rule, horses are not afraid of thunderstorms. So, unlike your dog companion, who might hide under the bed when the rain starts, horses are naturally okay with them. This is great news, as I don’t think any of us have a bed big enough for that! What horses fear are natural predators, sounds they’re unfamiliar with, the dark, and being left alone.
Do You Lift, Bro?
There is no doubt that horses are strong. You know that when you train thousand-pound animals to run on a track. But the strongest part of a horse is the jaw. Their bite can have a force of over 500 pounds per square inch or PSI. A human bite is only 162 PSI, while our feline friends’ chomps are only 70 psi. Our advice: try to steer clear of a horse’s bite.
One of our favorite facts here at horseOlogy is that horses can swim. And we prove it every day with our training process which includes time in the pool. But our horses aren’t enjoying Pina Coladas poolside in the summertime. They’re here to work, and it gives them great exercise without putting a lot of concussion on their legs.
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