Horses are such fascinating animals. They have an extraordinary charm, appeal, and personality, but they are also full of astonishing secrets, mysteries, and captivating truths. Horses have lived on earth for more than 50 million years and have been domesticated for the last 6,000. During these years, horses had a chance to develop some fascinating habits and features. Some characteristics have been passed down from their wild ancestors while some have been evolved through strong human influence. Read on to find out some of the fun and exciting facts about horses that will make you realize how special your furry stable mates really are!
1. The Eyes Have It
Horses have unique eyes. Their eyes are about 2 inches in diameter and nine times bigger than human eyes. Their eyes are situated on the sides of their head, and so they have a wide range of vision. Horses frequently use monocular vision, which helps them to view and comprehend things on different sides of the body. Horses may also use binocular vision when looking ahead so that they can concentrate their both eyes on a particular object in front of them. However, they cannot use binocular and monocular vision at the same time. But they can switch the type of vision by altering the position of their head.
2. Horses Cannot Vomit
Horses have a unique anatomy. There is one such anatomical feature that makes it impossible for horses to vomit. When a horse gulps the food, it passes through the esophagus into the stomach through a one-way valve called the lower esophageal sphincter. Among humans, this valve is weak and regularly allows for backflow, which results in vomiting during sickness. In horses, this valve is so strong that backflow is nearly impossible. Thus, preventing them from vomiting. Moreover, a horse’s esophagus joins the stomach at such a lower angle that this also prevents backflow. Since horses cannot vomit, they may end up suffering from colic. In severe cases, colic can cause the stomach to rupture and lead to death.
3. The Horses' Closest Relative is Rhino
Horses spend most of their time with cows, goats, pigs on a farm. But they share a closer kinship with rhinos and tapirs. According to the American Museum of National History, horses belong to a group of mammals with a strange number of toes. Most of the members of this group are called perissodactyls, which are extinct. But some are still present that are horses closest living relatives, which are rhinos and tapirs.
4. Arabian Horses Aren’t Built Like Others
Arabian horses are known for their intelligence, elegance, speed, and endurance. They are one of the oldest breeds of domesticated horses. However, Arabian horses are not just highly recognized for their long history and good looks. The anatomical structure of Arabian horses is different from other breeds. They have greater bone density, and their backs are short. Unlike other breeds, they have 17 pairs of ribs and five lumbar vertebrae. The most distinct feature of Arabian horses is their high-carried tail, which is almost like a flag behind them.
5. Many Muscled Ears Help Horses Hear
A horse can move his ears back and forth, but such kind of movement requires a lot of muscles. Horse’s ears can move 180 degrees with the help of 10 different muscles. This unique anatomical feature helps the horse to turn towards the sound and discover what is making the sound. However, horses do not just use their ears to identify the sound, but they also use them to communicate. According to a recent study, horses use their large ears to share hints about food choices or even threats. So, all the muscles in a horse’s ears are not solely used for directional listening, but they are also used to convey messages to other horses.
6. Mustangs are Feral Animals
Many people think that mustangs are wild animals, but technically they are feral animals. They are free-living descendants of Spanish horses that are called Iberian horses. So, are there any wild horses that still exist? The answer is yes. The Przewalski's horse is one such wild horse that has never been domesticated by humans. They are the closest relatives of the domestic horse and on the verge of disappearing forever.
7. Ponies and Miniatures are Two Different Breeds
Most of the people are aware that ponies and miniatures are a smaller version of the typical domestic horses. Due to their small size or height, many people believe that these two types of breeds are one and the same. In reality, miniature horses are not the same as the ponies. The difference between these two types of horses is the height. The maximum height of a miniature horse is around 38 inches. On the other hand, the height of a pony ranges from 9.2 to 14.2 hands or 58 inches tall at the withers. Moreover, ponies and miniature horses have different bone structures, muscles, and overall body proportions.