7 Lesser-Known facts about horses

 7 Fascinating facts about horses

Horses

Horses are magnificent creatures that have been part of human history and society for thousands of years. They have served as loyal companions, powerful workers, and graceful athletes. But how much do you really know about these amazing animals? Here are seven lesser-known facts about horses that will surprise and delight you.

Fact 1: Horse Communication Beyond Words

Horses are not just vocal animals. They also communicate through non-verbal methods, such as body language and gestures. For example, horses can express their emotions and intentions by moving their ears, eyes, nostrils, mouth, tail, and legs. They can also use touch, smell, and sound to interact with each other and with humans. By paying attention to these subtle cues, you can learn to understand your horse better and build a stronger bond.

Fact 2: The Astonishing Memory of Horses

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Horses have an exceptional memory capacity that allows them to recall people, places, and events for a long time. They can recognize their owners, friends, enemies, and even strangers based on their appearance, voice, smell, and behavior. They can also remember routes, landmarks, tasks, and commands. Some studies have shown that horses can even remember things that happened years ago, such as traumatic experiences or positive interactions.

Fact 3: Horses’ Social Structure and Herd Dynamics

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Horses are social animals that live in groups called herds. Within each herd, there is a hierarchy that determines the order of access to resources, such as food, water, shelter, and mates. The leader of the herd is usually a dominant mare (female horse) who decides where to go and what to do. The other horses follow her lead and respect her authority. There are also subordinate horses who have lower ranks and less influence in the herd. They often form alliances and friendships with each other to cope with stress and challenges.

Fact 4: The Incredible Speed and Stamina of Horses

Horses are natural athletes who can run fast and long distances. They can reach speeds of up to 55 mph (88 km/h) and cover up to 100 miles (160 km) in a day. They have a large heart and lungs that enable them to pump oxygen-rich blood to their muscles. 

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They also have a special muscle fiber type that allows them to resist fatigue and recover quickly. Compared to other animals, such as dogs, cats, or humans, horses have superior endurance and performance.

Fact 5: Horses Unique Digestive System

Horses have a unique digestive system that is designed for grazing and processing large amounts of plant material. Unlike humans or dogs, horses have a single stomach that is relatively small and can only hold about 10% of their total digestive capacity. The rest of their digestion occurs in their long intestines, which are about 100 feet (30 meters) long and can hold up to 80% of their total digestive capacity. Horses also have a special organ called the cecum, which is similar to the human appendix but much larger and more functional. The cecum contains bacteria that help break down the cellulose in plants and produce volatile fatty acids that provide energy for the horse.


Fact 6: The Extraordinary Sense of Hearing in Horses

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Horses have an extraordinary sense of hearing that helps them detect danger and communicate with each other. They have large ears that can rotate up to 180 degrees and pick up sounds from different directions. They can hear frequencies ranging from 14 Hz to 25 kHz, which is much wider than the human range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz. They can also distinguish between different tones and pitches of sounds. For example, they can tell the difference between a friendly whinny and an angry snort.

Fact 7: Horses’ Healing Powers and Therapeutic Benefits

Horses have healing powers and therapeutic benefits that positively impact human well-being. They can help people cope with physical, mental, emotional, and social issues through equine-assisted therapy (EAT). EAT is a form of therapy that involves interacting with horses in various ways, such as grooming, riding, feeding, or playing. EAT can improve mood, self-esteem, confidence, communication skills, empathy, trust, problem-solving skills, and more. EAT can also help people with specific conditions or disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, addiction, chronic pain, or disability.

Conclusion

Horses are fascinating animals that have more to offer than meets the eye. They are intelligent, sensitive, loyal, strong, adaptable, and beautiful. They have unique features and abilities that make them stand out from other animals. They also have a positive influence on human health and happiness. By learning more about horses, you can appreciate them more and enjoy their company more. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and explore the wonderful world of horses. You won’t regret it.

FAQs

Can a horse love a human?

Horses can form strong bonds with humans, especially if they are treated with kindness and respect. They can recognize their owners, show affection, and respond to human emotions. However, horses do not experience love in the same way as humans do. They do not have the same brain structures that enable complex emotions such as romantic love or jealousy. Instead, they may express their attachment through loyalty, trust, and companionship.

How far can horses see?

Horses have a wide field of vision, thanks to their large eyes and their position on the sides of their heads. They can see almost 360 degrees around them, except for two blind spots: directly in front of their nose and directly behind their tail. However, their depth perception and color vision are not very good. They can only see clearly up to about 20 feet away, and they have trouble distinguishing between green and red hues.

How smart is a horse?

Horses are intelligent and social creatures that can interact with humans and other horses. They have a similar level of intelligence to a toddler. They can learn some human gestures and words, and they can modify their behavior according to a human’s understanding. They can also remember their owners, have excellent memories, and feel changes in human emotions. Their high social cognitive abilities towards humans may account for their cooperative relationship with humans.

Can horses see in the dark?

Horses have better night vision than humans because they have more cells in their eyes that detect light and darkness, called rods. Horses have about 120 million rods per eye, while humans have about 90 million. Horses also have a special layer behind their retina that reflects light back to the retina, which helps them see in dim light. However, horses still need some time to adapt to the dark, and they cannot see well in total darkness.

What’s special about a horse?

Horses are amazing animals that have many distinctive characteristics and skills. Some of the things that make horses special are:

  • They are plant eaters that can process large amounts of plant material with their long and complicated digestive system.
  • They have better night vision than humans because they have more cells in their eyes that detect light and darkness, and a special layer behind their retina that reflects light back to the retina.
  • They have a wide field of vision of about 350 degrees, which means they can see almost everything around them except for a small blind spot behind them and in front of their nose.
  • They have bigger eyes than any other land mammal, which helps them notice movement and expressions.
  • They have the intelligence level of a three-year-old child, and they can communicate with humans and other horses through body language, gestures, sounds, and touch.
  • They have an amazing memory capacity that allows them to remember people, places, and events for a long time.
  • They can feel human emotions and moods, and they can respond accordingly by comforting, calming, or cheering up their human friends.
  • They are very athletic and can run fast and long distances. They can reach speeds of up to 55 mph (88 km/h) and cover up to 100 miles (160 km) in a day.
  • They are social animals that live in groups called herds. They have a hierarchy within the herd that determines the order of access to resources. The leader of the herd is usually a dominant mare who decides where to go and what to do.
  • They have healing powers and therapeutic benefits that positively impact human well-being. They can help people deal with physical, mental, emotional, and social issues through equine-assisted therapy.

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