Horses started life about 55 million years ago as a creature no bigger than a pet cat! Officially, these early horses were called Hyracotherium , but most people call them Eohippus. The early horse was only 20cm (8in) high at the shoulder.
- Horses belong to the equus family which comes from the Greek word meaning "quickness".
- There are over 350 different breeds of horses and ponies.
- A horse’s teeth can be used to estimate its age.
- Horse's teeth never stop growing.
- Arabian horses have one less rib, one less lumbar bone, and one or two fewer tail vertebrae than other horses.
- There are about 75 million horses in the world.
- It takes 9-12 months to re-grow an entire horse hoof.
- A hoof is like a fingernail. It is always growing and needs to be clipped so that it won't be uncomfortable for the horse.
- A farrier is a person who makes horse shoes and fits them on your horse. They also clip hooves to keep them from getting overgrown.
- A horse's "HEART WEIGHS" about 10 pounds! A healthy adult horse should have a pulse of between 36 and 40 beats per minute while at rest
- Horses have 7 common blood types.
- The average horse's HEAD WEIGHS 11.84 pounds
- Horses can drink up to ten gallons of water a day
- You can tell if a horse is dehydrated by pinching their skin, if it takes time for the skin to return from the pinch, they need water.
- There is a breed of horse from Russia called Akhal-Teke. It can go for days without food or water.
- Horses expend more energy lying down than they do when they are standing up!
- A horse typically sleeps two and half to three hours a day.
- Horses sleep longer in the summer than in the winter
- Thoroughbreds in the Northern Hemisphere all have the same birthday which makes it easier to keep breeding, racing, and showing records. In the northern hemisphere the birthday is January 1st and for the southern it is august 1st.
- A pony is not a baby horse, but rather a full grown small horse.
- Ponies live longer than horses and can live well into their 50′s.
- Donkeys have been known to live 35-40 years.
- A baby female is called a filly, a baby boy is called a colt, a baby boy or girl is also known as a foal.
- Most foals are born at night under the cover of darkness and away from prying eyes and possible danger.
- When first born, foals cannot eat grass because their legs are too long to reach the ground.
- Foals can stand up within one hour of being born.
- A horse's height is measured in hands. 1 hand = 4 inches.
- Horses are social animals and will get lonely if kept alone.
- The tallest as well as the heaviest horse ever recorded was a Shire gelding named "Sampson." He measured 21.2 1\2 hands (7 feet 2.5 inches) and weighed 3,360 lbs!
- World Record "LOG PULLING" was set in 1893. 2 Clydesdale Stallions hauled a sledge stacked with timber weighing 128 tonnes. The equivalent of pulling 22 African Elephants.
- The smallest horse in history was a stallion named "Little Pumpkin." He stood 14 inches and weighed only 20 lbs!
- The oldest reliably documented horse was named "Old Billy." He died at the ripe old age of 62!
- The oldest pony in history was 54 years old when he died in France. The oldest pony in the US is named "Teddy" and he is 53 years old. He only needs one more year to break the world record. GO USA!
- The fastest race speed ever recorded was 43.26 MPH, by "Big Rackett," 20.8 seconds in the 3/4 mile. "Big Rackett" was four years old and carried 114 lbs.
- The record for the "HIGHEST" jump is 8 ft. 1 1/4 in., by Huaso, ridden by Capt. Alberto Larraguibel Morales (Chile) at Vina del Mar, Santiago, Chile on Feb. 5, 1949.
- The record for the "LONGEST" jump over water is 27 ft., 6 3/4 in., by Something, ridden by Andre Ferreira (South Africa) in Johannesburg, South Africa on April 25, 1975.
- With his long limbs and large heart and lungs, the horse is designed for galloping. Jumping is not a natural activity for horses and left to their own devices most will go around obstructions.
- The "LONGEST" horse-drawn procession was a cavalcade of 68 carriages that measured 3,018 feet "nose to tail", organized by the Spies Traveling Company of Denmark on May 7, 1986. It carried 810 people through the woods around Copenhagen to celebrate the coming of spring.
- As well as using them for fly swatting, horses use their tails to send signals to each other about how they are feeling.
- The longest tail measured was 22ft long was grown by an American Palomino named Chinook
- The longest mane was 18 ft long and grown by a Californian mare named Maude
- When spoken to, horses distinguish tones rather than particular words.
- Horses have "2 BLIND SPOTS". One is directly behind them and the other is directly in front of them.
- Horses can communicate how they are feeling by their facial expressions. They use their ears, nostrils, and eyes to show their moods. Beware of a horse that has flared nostrils and their ears back. That means it might attack!
- Horses cannot vomit.
- The difference between a mule and a hiny. The mother of a mule is a Mare and the father is a Jackass. The mother of a hiny is a Jenny and the father is a Horse (Stud)
- The word chivalry comes from cheval the French word for horse.
- Horses like sweet flavors and will usually reject anything sour or bitter.
- A small indent in a horses skin (usually on the neck or shoulder) is called a prophet’s mark and is considered good luck.
- Horses are herd animals. They live in groups and help one another survive.
- Any marking on a horse's forehead is called a star, even if it is not shaped like a star.
- A horse can move in four ways: walk, trot, canter, and gallop. A gallop is the fastest gait.
- The four horses of the apocalypse are said to signify the end of the world; conquest on a white horse, famine on a black horse, war on a red horse and plague on a pale horse.
The Encyclopedia of Horses and Ponies, by Tamsin Pickeral, 2001, ISBN-10: 0752541587