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Horses - How Well Do You Know Them?

Feb 6, 2008
Horses were once the critical step in much of our transportation industry. The automobile certainly replaced them, but horses are still amazing creatures. Here are some interesting tidbits about horses you may or may not know.

A broad splash of white that covers most parts of the forehead between the eyes and carries down the nose to the muzzle is called a Blaze.

Depending on breed, management and environment, the domestic horse today has a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years. It is uncommon, but a few horses live into their 40s.

Depending on maturity, breed and the tasks expected, young horses are usually put under saddle and trained to be ridden between the ages of two and four.

Most of the time, a horse has monocular vision. This means a different image is seen by each eye so that a horse is seeing two different pictures at the same time. A horse can also have binocular vision. Binocular vision is when both eyes work together to see one picture (humans have binocular vision). A horse only has binocular vision when it is looking down its nose.

Horses require approximately two and a half hours of sleep, on average, in a 24-hour period. Most of this sleep occurs in many short intervals of about 15 minutes each.

The horse has one stomach. In contrast, cattle, sheep, goats, bison, deer, elk, caribou, moose, and camels are ruminants which means they have four digestive chambers instead of just one stomach.

The interdental space is an area in a horse's mouth, both on the upper and lower jaws, where there is not any teeth. This area is between the front teeth and the back teeth. When a horse is bridled, the interdental space is where the bit rests. On the bottom jaw, most horsemen refer to this area of bare gums as the bars.

A horse is a herbivore with a digestive system adapted to a forage diet of grasses and other plant material, consumed regularly throughout the day, and so they have a relatively small stomach but very long intestines to facilitate a steady flow of nutrients.

Horse meat has been used as food for animals and humans throughout the ages. It is eaten in many parts of the world and is an export industry in the United States and other countries.

The average horse's heart weighs approximately 9 or 10 pounds. The great American racehorse Secretariat had a heart estimated during his autopsy to weigh 21 pounds, though the heart was not weighed.

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.

All horses, regardless of when they were actually born, are considered to have a common birthday of January 1. This is one of the reasons most horsemen don't like their foals to be born late in the year: Even if a foal is born on December 31st he or she will have their first birthday the very next day.
About the Author
Aazdak Alisimo writes about horse riding stables and other issues for HorseRidiingBoardingStables.com.
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