If we travel back in time and return to the very early days of horses, we would find ourselves around 3,500bc. This is the period where the first accounts of horses and their domestication are found, in the region of what is nowadays Kazakhstan. Since those early days, the horse has continued to evolve within the family of Equidae, and has been domesticated by man until it has become, along with the dog, one of the animals who has always been at humankind’s side.
At Ovohorse, specialists in equine reproduction, we have put together some curious facts and details about these noble and spectacular creatures, for you to enjoy.
DID YOU KNOW…? 8 FACTS ABOUT HORSES
It’s true! Both stallions and mares can sleep on their feet, although they can also sleep lying down. Horses need to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes per day to achieve a recuperative sleep cycle, in contrast to humans who need an average of 7-8 hours daily. There are factors that can affect the sleep routine of horses, such as climate, their available space or physical deterrents, such as musculoskeletal impediments, for example arthritis.
2. Horses are herbivoress
The equine race has been herbivorous since its origins. This is shown by the shape of their teeth (they grind the molars together to break down fibrous vegetation), the position of the eyes (placed on the side of the head to be alert for predators) and the digestive system, which are all characteristics of herbivores.
3. Horses can’t burp!
Horses cannot burp, vomit or breathe though their mouth, as humans can and do. A horse’s digestive system is one way, unlike other animals. Although they have an efficient way of processing fibrous and tough foods, their internal digestive system, being very long and one-way, can result in gastrointestinal problems.
4. You can tell the age of a horse by its teeth.
Although it isn’t entirely true that you can tell the exact age of a horse by its teeth, it is possible to approximate its age by its dentition. Horse have teeth that continually erupt, that is to say they keep growing as they get worn down. A foal is born without any teeth, but after about 6 years old, taking a look at the Galvaynes’s Groove can help us to approximate how old a horse is. Although it is not an exact technique, it allows a breeder to know if their horse is between 10 and 30 years old. At 10 years old a small groove appears in the incisor at the gumline, by 15 years this groove reaches halfway along the tooth and by 20 years old it reaches the edge of the tooth
5. Horses can live for more than 30 years.
One of the most frequently asked questions about horses is “How long will he/she live?”. Thanks to advances in nutrition, care and veterinary medicine, the life expectancy of a horse these days can exceed 30 years.
6. Many Arabian horses have one less vertebra than other horses
The Arabian Breed is the ancestor of many other horse breeds. They also have some unique characteristics such as their distinctive shaped head. A particularly interesting difference is that these horses have a vertebra, a rib and one tail bone less than other breeds.
7. Horses are herd animals
Although they may seem like solitary animals, it is quite stressful for a horse to live alone. For company, a horse can have other equine stable companions or of another species such as a goat, a donkey or a mule. Even a dog can become a good friend and company for a horse.
8. The majority of white horses are, in fact, grey.
Very few horses are born white. They are usually born with a grey tone or darker, and gradually change colour. They can even start as chestnut brown or nearly black and eventually become white. However, these horses are not called white, but rather grey.