15 Fascinating Facts About Horses

Horses are some of the most beloved animals in the world. But how much do you really know about them? Today, we'll give you 15 fascinating facts about horses.
15 Fascinating Facts About Horses
Francisco María García

Written and verified by the lawyer Francisco María García.

Last update: 22 December, 2022

Horses have been a part of human history for thousands of years. In that time, they have been involved in a huge range of activities, from farm and industrial work, to wars, sport and recreation. However, there are so many things that people don’t know about our equine friends. In this article, we want to give you 15 fascinating facts about horses.

1. Incredible strength

After the elephant, experts consider the draft horse one of the strongest land animals in the world. The weight they can pull is usually in proportion with the weight of the animal itself. For example, a 2000 lb horse can usually pull a 2000 lb load.

2. The oldest breed in the world

The Arabian horse is the oldest breed in the world. Over the years, they have passed down their unique characteristics from one generation to another. As well as being one of the oldest, another of the Arab’s most notable traits is its anatomy. Many Arabs have one rib, one lumbar bone, and two vertebrae less than other horses.

Fascinating facts about horses.

3. Eye-sight

Their panoramic, monocular vision allows them to see their surroundings on both sides, with either of their eyes. They have one blind spot just in front of their face, and another directly behind their head.

4. Fascinating facts about horses: they have the largest eyes of any land mammal

Horses have the largest eyes of any land mammal. In the entire animal kingdom, only seals, whales and ostriches have larger eyes.

5. Horses listen to their rider’s breathing

Because they are prey animals, horses are very perceptive. They can tell what their rider is feeling just by listening to their breathing, and use it as a warning signal for any potential dangers.

6. Their teeth never stop growing

A horse’s teeth grow throughout its life. By taking into account the animal’s diet and examining the degradation of the incisors, an expert can use a horse’s teeth to determine its approximate age.

7. Horses can sense emotions and grieve when they experience a loss

Horses are sensitive animals, and can differentiate between feelings of love, happiness, sadness, frustration, fear and anxiety. They can even grieve for months after the loss of one of the herd, or the loss of their rider.

8. Gestation period

The equine gestation period lasts 11 months. They normally have just one foal, although in rare cases they can have two. 

9. Foals can run only hours after they’re born

At birth, a foal’s legs are approximately 90% of the length of those of an adult horse. They can reach an average speed of up to 27 mph, although some can reach double that speed.

10. A good memory

Like humans, horses have an excellent memory. Many of their habits are the result of unpleasant past experiences, which stay with them for years in the form of trauma.

At night, horses relax and remember what they learned during the day, etching them into their memory.

11. Fascinating facts about horses: they can rotate their ears 180°

Horses have 16 muscles in each ear, allowing them to rotate 180°. By touching a horse’s ears, you can take their temperature – if their ears are cold to the touch, your horse is feeling cold.

12. The oldest horse in the world

The average life expectancy of a horse is between 25 and 30 years. The oldest horse in the world was Old Billy, who lived in Lancashire, England, between 1760 and 1822, dying at the age of 62.

13. How many horses are there in the world?

Horse riding is popular around the globe, and today, there are approximately 75 million horses worldwide. China doesn’t just have the largest human population in the world – experts estimate that there are also 10 million horses living there

Fascinating facts about horses.

14. Drinking

They drink 6 1/2 – 8 gallons of water a day and can sleep standing up.

15. Fascinating facts about horses: the myth of the white horse

Talking about all these fascinating facts has got us thinking about the important role horses have played in cultures all around the world. The white horse was – and still is – considered sacred, giving rise to a number of myths.

In Persia, they were sacrificed in honor of the god, Mithra, the divinity of light and livestock. In Ancient India, people would sacrifice them to bring prosperity to the kingdom.

During the Yuan dynasty in China, white mares were revered. Every year at the New Year’s celebrations – known as the White Festival – there was a parade of pure white horses, and no one could walk where they stepped.

The Celts would bury their horses as a way to honor them, and mares were considered a symbol of fertility. 

However, of all the horses in the world, Pegasus is the most famous. The mythical winged horse of Ancient Greece was ridden by Zeus himself, and together they performed hundreds of daring feats.

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The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.