10 Facts About Horses

Dolphins are intelligent, charismatic creatures that inhabit oceans and seas around the world. Research has even found that they possess problem-solving skills and display self-awareness. Let’s dive deeper into ten fascinating facts about these remarkable marine mammals.

These marine creatures are renowned for their playful and social behavior, advanced communication skills, and their strong presence in mythology and popular culture. From their ability to use echolocation to their complex social structures, dolphins never cease to amaze both scientists and wildlife enthusiasts.

1. Horses Sleep Both Standing Up and Lying Down

Contrary to popular belief, horses do not only sleep standing up; they can also sleep lying down. They have a special mechanism called the “stay apparatus” that allows them to lock their leg joints to sleep standing up without falling over. However, horses enter a deep sleep state known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep only when they lie down. REM sleep is essential for their overall well-being.

2. The Field of Vision of Horses Extends Nearly 360 Degrees

Thanks to their eyes’ side placement, horses can see nearly 360 degrees around them, offering a significant advantage in spotting predators. Their binocular vision (where both eyes focus on one spot) is narrower than a human’s, but their monocular vision (using each eye separately) is much wider. However, they do have blind spots directly in front and behind them, so it’s advisable to approach a horse from the side.

3. The Arabian Horse Has One Fewer Vertebrae

The Arabian horse, one of the oldest horse breeds, is unique in its skeletal structure. Unlike most horses that have 18 pairs of ribs and 6 lumbar bones, Arabians typically have 17 pairs of ribs and 5 lumbar bones. This gives them a shorter, more compact back which can provide greater endurance and agility, particularly valued in horse sports.

4. Horses Use Facial Expressions to Communicate

Horses are incredibly expressive and can communicate a vast range of emotions and intentions through facial expressions. Researchers have even developed a coding system, EquiFACS (Equine Facial Action Coding System), which has identified 17 discrete facial movements in horses, similar to the system used to identify human facial movements.

5. Horses Have a Unique Way of Keeping Cool

Unlike humans, horses can’t sweat to cool down their bodies efficiently. Instead, they use a unique method called “thermoregulation” to maintain their body temperature. They can redirect the blood flow to their skin surface, allowing the heat to escape from their bodies. This ability to regulate body temperature makes them capable of thriving in various climates.

6. The Przewalski’s Horse is the Only Truly Wild Horse Species Left in the World

While we often use the term “wild” to refer to mustangs and brumbies, these horses are technically feral, descendants of escaped or released domestic horses. The Przewalski’s horse, native to the steppes of central Asia, is the only horse species that has never been domesticated. It was extinct in the wild for a time but has been reintroduced through captive breeding programs.

7. Horses Have a Surprisingly Good Memory

Horses have an excellent long-term memory, especially for tasks and locations. This memory prowess is linked to their survival instincts in the wild, where they needed to remember reliable water and food sources. This also makes them exceptional at learning and remembering training cues and tasks in various equestrian disciplines.

8. A Horse’s Teeth Take Up Larger Space in Their Head Than Their Brain

The size and structure of a horse’s teeth are remarkable—they occupy more space in the head than the horse’s brain. Unlike humans, horses have hypsodont teeth, which are long and continue to erupt throughout their lives to compensate for constant wear from grinding their fibrous diet.

9. The Fastest Speed Ever Recorded by a Horse is 55 mph

The record-breaking horse speed is 55 mph, attained in 2008 by the Thoroughbred named Winning Brew. While all horses are naturally fast runners, Thoroughbreds are particularly known for their speed and agility. This makes them excellent racehorses and popular in various equestrian sports.

10. Horses Have Been Represented in Art for Thousands of Years

Horses have been featured in human art and literature for thousands of years. The earliest known depictions of horses in art are found in the Lascaux caves in France, dating back around 17,000 years. These ancient cave paintings showcase horses as prominent figures, indicating the long-standing fascination humans have with these magnificent creatures.

Conclusion

From their unique sleeping and cooling mechanisms to their expressive facial movements and extraordinary speed, horses are truly intriguing creatures. They hold a special place in human history and continue to be invaluable companions in various walks of life. These ten facts only scratch the surface of the fascinating world of horses, inspiring us to continue to learn and appreciate these majestic creatures.