Horses are one of the most fascinating animals on this planet. There is so much to learn and love about them due to their immense evolution over the past 45 to 55 million years.
Even before she could talk, Alessia was pointing at horses and wanted to be around them and pet them. Her greatest wish was to start riding lessons and ever since, she is absolutely fascinated with horses.
Alessia’s favorite horse breed is Appaloosa – a spotted horse that has been capturing Alessia’s heart. Besides their striking appearance, Appaloosas are known for being gentle, friendly, and loyal companions. They are very eager to please, which makes them a great horse breed for equestrians of all experience levels.
If you want to learn some fascinating facts about this beautiful creature, continue reading.
THERE ARE OVER 350 BREEDS OF HORSES IN THE WORLD
At this very moment, over 350 breeds of horses exist. All of them fall into individual major groups, including light horses, heavy horses, feral horses, and ponies. The lights, heavies, and ponies are all put into these categories based on their size. Feral horses describe wild and semi-wild horses like mustangs.
From working and racing to casual riding and equestrian competition, each horse has its special qualities. But there are five particular breeds and five general horse categories that stand out and capture the hearts of everywhere: American Quarter Horse, Arabian, Thoroughbreed, Appaloosa – Alessia’s favourite, and Morgan.
These horses typically have versatile abilities and good demeanors. They can be used for pleasure riding and competition, and many of them are suitable for first-time horse owners.
HORSES HAVE AROUND 205 BONES IN THEIR SKELETON
Horses typically have skeletons consisting of 205 bones, which is only one less than an adult human. Twenty of those bones are found in the thoracic limb. These bones are essential for protecting their vital organs and supporting the soft parts of their body.
Arabians, for example, can have fewer bones in their spinal column. And while most horses have 18 ribs, because Arabians’ thoracic spinal column is shorter, this breed may only have 17 ribs. Eight of these ribs—for all breeds—are considered “true ribs”, meaning they completely connect between the spinal column and the sternum. The remaining ribs are called “floating” because they do not reach all the way to the sternum.
HORSES HAVE BEEN DOMESTICATED FOR OVER 5000 YEARS
Since the dawn of their existence, horses have been wild animals, but over the last 5000 years, they have primarily become domesticated. According to research, 10,000 years ago, at the end of the ice age, wild horses died out, and it’s still unclear as to why.
Hundreds of years ago, horses roamed wild and over time, many of these horses were caught and tamed. This was done so that they could be used for transportation and farm work.
Over time, tame horses developed a genetic predisposition toward humans. When this occurred, they were considered domesticated.
HORSES CAN TROT SHORTLY AFTER BIRTH
Baby horses (foals) are strong little creatures. They can trot shortly after birth. The adult female horses (mares) have to rest for 15 to 20 minutes following the birth of their babies.
When born, a foal’s legs are 80% – 90% fully grown and foals can stand and walk within two hours of birth. Foals are mostly born at night and the first milk foals drink is vital to their health.
HORSES CAN SLEEP LYING DOWN AND STANDING UP
Among horses’ many unique qualities, they are very versatile when it comes to sleeping positions. They can sleep while laying down or standing up. They’ll doze while in a standing position by using their system of tendons and ligaments referred to as the stay apparatus.
I bet there have been many times humans have wished they had this natural ability.
DOMESTIC HORSES HAVE A LIFESPAN OF AROUND 25 YEARS
The minimum lifespan for a healthy domestic horse is 25 years. That is more than many other domesticated animals. Depending on health status and breed, some horses may even go on to live another five to fifteen years, and sometimes beyond.
Talk about having a life-long friend. If you’re unsure of a horse’s age, you can estimate it by checking its teeth.
HORSES NEED FRIENDS
Horses are one of the many creatures in the animal kingdom that travel in herds – this goes for both wild and domesticated horses. You will often see wild horses travel in packs and domestic horses enjoy having a companion. Without their friends, horses can become stressed and lonely.
We could spend all day discussing the amazing qualities of horses. Their long evolution makes it difficult to keep the conversation brief
What is your favorite breed of horse? Have you ever been horseback riding? What fascinates you most about the beautiful creature?