Horses are amazing creatures, but due to our technologically dependent society, it can be hard to appreciate all the value these animals can bring us. As a fun reminder, here are ten interesting facts about horses that may reopen your eyes.
1. Horses have the largest eyes of any land mammal. The position of the eyes on the head means they have almost a full 360-degree field of view. Without turning their head, they can look at almost any object around them.
2. You can tell how old a horse is by their teeth. The phrases, “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” and “long in the tooth,” are derived from this fact. By looking at different factors including color, shape, and angle, one can fairly accurately judge the age of any horse.
3. Horses have been domesticated for about 5000 years. They’ve helped us through the years with transportation, labor, and in battle. Even in today’s age with the invention of cars, tractors, and other machinery, horses still play a part in our lives. Competitions are still very popular in the form of horse shows and racing. Police still use horses for areas vehicles can’t easily go. Troubled teens benefit from therapy horses, teaching them the importance of empathy and responsibility.
4. Because of all the domestication, there is only one truly wild species. Called Przewalski’s horse, it’s an endangered subspecies of wild horse indigenous to central Asia. While there are other horses considered wild, they are instead feral descendants of domesticated horses. Przewalski’s horse has never been domesticated and remains the only horse truly wild in the entire world.
5. Horses are not colorblind. Many people think that most animals can only see grays; horses in fact can see color. They have difficulty with purples and violets, but their eyes can pick up yellow and green.
6. Horses can look at two different objects at the same time. With their impressive field of view and large eyes, you can usually tell where a horse is looking by the position of its ears. If each ear is pointed in a different direction, the horse is watching two separate things.
7. Horses once had toes. 50 million years ago, the ancestor of the horse, called Eohippus, walked on feet with four padded toes on the front legs, and three on the back. Somewhere in their evolution, the toes formed the hooves we know today.
8. Horses are incredibly social. One side of their intelligence is due to their social behavior. Horses are known to get lonely when kept secluded from others, and they will also mourn the loss of a companion.
9. Horses were brought to Australia. The horse, while indigenous to many regions across the globe, was brought to Australia in 1788 along with the first shipment of prisoners to be used by farmers.
10. They’re not laughing at you. Seen in movies, when horses move their lips to appear laughing, they’re actually doing what is called “flehmen.” It’s a way to get smells across a specific olfactory gland to understand the scent better.
Tyler Jacobson is a writer, father, and husband, with experience in outreach and content writing for parenting organizations and ranches for troubled teen boys. His areas of focus include: straightforward parenting, education tactics, problems from social media, mental illnesses, detrimental addictions, and issues teenagers struggle with today. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | Linkedin