As most of you know I'm on vacation in the Smoky Mountains this week. I was supposed to "disconnect" this week and I have, but I couldn't help but write a blog as I watch a herd of horses in Cades Cove at sunset. So, here are some fascinating facts and information about Horses.
Horses have been around for millions of years, so it's about time you stopped horsing around and find out some cool facts about these great animals!
Horses belong to the Equus family, which also includes zebras, mules and donkeys. It's estimated that there are about 750 million horses in the world, and they play different roles depending on where they live. In wealthier countries, horses are used for leisure, like horseback riding, and sport, including horse racing and equestrianism. But in developing countries, they're used for work - since they're strong, they can pull plows, carriages and all sorts of other heavy things.
There are more than 350 different breeds of horses. They fall into four main groups.
Light - Have small bones and weigh less than 1,300 pounds. These are usually the riding horses. Examples are Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, Morgans and Arabians.
Draft - Also called "heavy" horses and can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. They have large bones, sturdy legs and are usually working horses. Examples are Percherons, Clydesdales and Shires.
Ponies - Are only about 57 inches tall, so they're smaller than horses. Examples are Shetlands, Haflingers and Cobs.
Feral - Wild or semi-wild horses. An example is a Mustang.
Horses come in a wide variety of colors such as palomino, chestnuts or sorrels, roans, bays, gray, black, dark bay, and many, many more!
Horses have four gaits (ways of moving around) - the walk, the trot, the canter and the gallop. These are natural gaits that all horses know, but there are other gaits that require special training, including the pace, the rack and the fox trot (no, not the dance!).
Horses are herd animals, so they like living with other animals. They communicate by nickering (making soft, neighing sounds), grooming and using body language. You can usually tell what horses are thinking by their ears!
-Ears that are flat against the neck means the horse is sad or annoyed.
-Ears that are alert and facing forward means the horse is happy.
-Ears that are lowered to the sides means the horse is relaxed, bored or feeling sick.
-Flickering ears means the horse is listening and attentive.
Did You Know?
-A newborn foal can stand up within the first hour and keep up with the herd within 24 hours. However, it can't eat grass because its legs are too long to reach it!
-Horses usually live to be 25 to 30 years old. The oldest horse ever was Old Billy (an English barge horse) who lived to be 62 years old. Wow!
-Horses can sleep both lying down and standing up.
-Horses are herbivores (plant eaters).
-Horses have bigger eyes than any other mammal that lives on land.
-Because horse’s eyes are on the side of their head, they are capable of seeing nearly 360 degrees at one time.
-Horses gallop at around 44 kph (27 mph). The fastest recorded sprinting speed of a horse was 88 kph (55 mph).
-A male horse is called a stallion.
-A castrated male horse is called a gelding.
-A female horse is called a mare.
-A young male horse is called a colt.
-A young female horse is called a filly.
As the owner of I Love Your Pet, I am experienced & very knowledgable about horses and would love to care for yours too! Visit my previous blog Can I Get My Horse A Pet Sitter? to read more.
I Love Your Pet offers pet care services in the convenience of your own home! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to book your future vacation & weekend pet sitting services.