Fascinating Horse Facts
As an equestrian, I can never learn enough about horses and their many fascinating qualities. Even though I’ve been in the world of horses for the majority of my life, I still feel as if there’s always a new horse fact to learn. I did a bit of sleuthing and came across fifty fun and interesting horse facts to share with you.
How fast is the fastest horse? What is the most popular horse breed? Are horses and rhinos related? Keep reading to find the answers to these questions along with many other fascinating horse facts! Here are 50 unique and interesting facts about horses.
1. Arabian Horses Have the Fewest Bones
The average horse has 205 bones, one less than a full-grown human. Arabian horses, however, have one less rib, one fewer lumbar vertebra, and occasionally a missing tail bone! Because of this, Arabian horses have an average of 203 bones, accounting for their shorter length.
2. Horses Have Nearly 360 Degree Vision
With only two small blind spots directly in front of and directly behind the horse, horses have nearly 360 degrees of vision!
3. The Oldest Horse Lived to Be 62 Years Old
Most horses live between 25-30 years, not Old Billy! Old Billy holds the Guinness World Record for the oldest horse to ever live, living to be 62 years old! Born in 1760 in Woolston, Lancashire, UK, Old Billy took his last breath on November 27, 1822.
4. The Most Expensive Horse Sold for $70M
Fusaichi Pegasus holds the record as the most expensive horse ever sold. This Thoroughbred racehorse was purchased in 2000 for $70 million!
5. The Quarter Horse is The Most Popular Horse Breed
The American Quarter Horse is commonly regarded as the most popular horse breed in the United States, followed by the Thoroughbred and Arabian.
6. Some Horses Have Mustaches
Not to be confused with whiskers, some horses can grow mustaches! This phenomenon is common to native horse breeds that have adapted to grazing in poor light or less than ideal conditions as the mustache helps them feel the grass.
7. The Biggest Horse Ever Weighed 3,360 Pounds
Sampson, a Shire horse originating in Bedfordshire, holds the record as both the tallest and the heaviest horse known to man. Sampson, later renamed Mammoth, stood at a shocking 21.26 hands high (or 86.5 inches tall) and weighed over 3,360 pounds at his heaviest!
8. The Smallest Horse Was Less Than Two Feet Tall
Thumbelina, a miniature sorrel brown mare, holds the Guinness World Record as the world’s smallest horse. Thumbelina measured only 1 foot 5 inches in height and weighed the same as a medium-sized dog.
9. Horses Produce Lots of Saliva
Horses have 3 pairs of salivary glands that produce upwards of 10 gallons of saliva each day!
10. Horse Can See in Two Different Directions
The horse’s eyes can work independently of each other, focusing on two things at the same time! The best way to tell what your horse is looking at? Watch the ear on the corresponding side.
11. The Fastest Horse Clocked in at 55MPH
While the top speed of the average horse is around 30MPH, the fastest horse ever recorded clocked in at 55MPH during a sprint!
12. Horses Can’t Burp
Due to an extremely strong valve located between their stomach and esophagus, horses can’t vomit or burp! In the rare chance that a horse does burp, it usually indicates a serious health concern.
13. Horses Are NOT Strict Herbivores
Did you know not all horses are strict herbivores? While most horses maintain a diet of plant matter and grains, many can occasionally consume meat and dairy products without issue.
14. A Horse’s Heart Weighs Nearly 10 Pounds
The average horse heart weighs between 9-10 pounds (compared to the human heart’s weight of less than 1 pound). However, Secretariat’s heart weighed nearly 22 pounds!
15. Horses Can Conceive Twins
Although it’s incredibly rare, horses can conceive twins or even triplets! However, live births are nearly unheard of. Conceiving multiples not only compromise the health of the foals but also the health of the mare as their bodies were not designed to grow and nourish more than one foal at a time.
16. Horses Are NOT Colorblind
While it was once believed that horses were colorblind, we now know this is not the case. Horses can distinguish varying shades of blue, green, and yellow. They can not, however, distinguish the color red.
17. Horses Prefer Sweet Over Sour
Horses have quite the sweet tooth and will oven reject anything that tastes sour or bitter.
18. Horses Can Get Sunburned
Some horses are quite sensitive to the sun and can actually get sunburned on the non-pigmented pink areas of the skin. Common areas of sunburn include around the eyes and muzzle, especially on light-colored horses.
19. A Horse’s Teeth Take Up Lots of Room
The teeth of a horse take up more room in their head than their brain!
20. The US Has the Highest Horse Population
In a recent study, it was estimated that there are over 10.2 million horses in the United States. In second place? Mexico with only 6.3 million.
21. Horses Are Pregnant for Nearly One Year
The average horse gestation period is between 11 months to one year, although some mares carry their foals for over 380 days! However, the most common gestation period is around 330 days or 11 months. To learn more about pregnant horses, check out my article Is Your Horse Pregnant? 8 Clear Signs to Tell.
22. Rhinos and Horses are Related
Both horses and rhinos belong to a small group of odd-toed ungulates in the world. The other animals in this strange family? Zebras, donkeys, and the Brazilian tapir!
23. Racehorses Share the Same Birthday
In the Southern Hemisphere, all racehorses share a birthday of August 1st. In the Northern Hemisphere, the shared birthday for racehorses falls on January 1st. This makes it easier to keep track of a horse’s age for racing and breeding purposes.
24. Horses May Have Musical Preferences
Back in 2013, a British study recorded horses acting calm while listening to both classical and country music. Turn on jazz or rock music and all bets were off! These genres seemed to agitate the horses.
25. Horses Are Picky Eaters
Many equestrians have observed their horses picking through their food to find their favorite grains. Many horses also eat around supplements that are added to their diet unless they are well disguised!
26. Most Horses Love Cat Naps
Horses don’t require much sleep. An average nap for a horse is around 15 minutes! While young goals may sleep up to 12 hours each day, older horses only require around 3 hours of sleep in 24 hours.
27. Humans Can Drink Horse Milk
Although we are certainly not recommending it, humans can drink horse milk! In fact, horse milk is used in a native Mongolian drink called kumis.
28. Horses Can Get Vaccines Too
Just like cats and dogs, certain horses benefit from vaccines for the West Nile Virus, tetanus, and even rabies! To learn more about regular horse care, read my article What’s It Like Owning a Horse: Daily Routine and Requirements.
29. Horses Sleep Standing Up
Horses can lock their legs to sleep standing up, a defense mechanism allowing them to move quickly after being startled awake.
30. Every Horse Needs Company
Accustomed to living in a herd, horses feel more comfortable with a companion. In fact, living alone often causes incredible stress for a horse!
31. Miniature Horses Are Not Measured in Hands
Although most horses are measured using a unique measurement known as hands, miniature horses are always measured in inches or centimeters.
32. Fishing From Horseback is Illegal
One of many odd horse laws, fishing from horseback is illegal in several places including Colorado, Utah, and Washington, D.C.
33. Mare Urine is Used in Some Medication
The urine of pregnant mares is a primary ingredient in the estrogen replacement drug Premarin. It is estimated that roughly 750,000 mares are impregnated each year solely for their urine production.
34. Horses Must Wear Hats in Argentina
In Rosario, Argentina, horses are required by law to wear hats when it’s hot outside!
35. Horses Can Move Their Ears in 180-Degrees
With 10 muscles in each ear (as opposed to the human’s three), horses can move their ears in 180-degrees. They also use their ears for communication!
36. Horses Are Subject to Drug Testing
Although once allowed, CBD is no longer approved for use at AQHA shows. Horses can be tested for both synthetic cannabinoids and natural cannabinoids. A positive test results in a hefty fine, disqualification, and a three-month suspension!
37. Men Can’t Eat Ice Cream While Riding a Horse
Cotton Valley, Louisiana may have one of the strangest horse laws in existence today. In this Louisiana town, men are prohibited from eating ice cream while riding a horse.
38. Horses Have Three Eyelids
In addition to the bottom and top eyelids common to most mammals, horses have a third eyelid that closes diagonally for added protection.
39. The Longest Horse Tail Was Over 12 Feet Long
A Guinness World Record you don’t hear often, the longest tail on a horse measured in at 12 feet 6 inches long.
40. Horses Are Nose Breathers
Unlike humans, the nasal passages of a horse are separate from the oral cavity. Because of this, horses can only breathe through their mouths if they have an abnormality or injury to the soft palate.
41. Male Horse Have More Teeth
Most male horses have 44 teeth while female horses have anywhere between 36 to 44 teeth when fully-grown.
42. The Highest Horse Jump Was Over 8 Feet
The record for the highest jump by a horse was set on February 5th, 1959 by a horse named Huaso. Under his rider, Captain Alberto Larraguibel, Huaso cleared a jump that was 8 feet, 1 and ¼ inches tall!
43. Horses’ Eyes Don’t Grow After Birth
While human eyes continue to develop after birth, a foal’s eye will stay the same size throughout its entire life.
44. The First Cloned Horse Was Born in 2003
Born in Italy in 2003, the first cloned horse was a Haflinger named Prometea.
45. Horses Have 7 Main Blood Types
While humans have 4 main blood types, horses have 7! The seven different types of horse blood include A, C, D, K, P, Q, and U.
46. Horses Produce Lots of Manure
Every equestrian will agree that horses produce a lot of manure. But did you know they produce, on average, 50 pounds each day?!
47. Horses Drink a Lot of Water
On average, a horse needs to drink between 5 and 10 gallons of water each day. To learn more, read my article How Horses Drink Water: Everything You Need to Know.
48. Horses Are Good Communicators
Horses use a variety of vocalizations, body languages, and other cues to communicate with other horses!
49. A Horse Never Forgets
Although elephants often hold the title for the best memory of the animal kingdom, horses give them a run for their money!
50. Horses Can Help With Mental Health
Equine Assisted Therapy continues to grow in popularity as a great treatment method for a wide variety of mental health issues. Horses can teach trust, respect, communication, and boost the confidence of their riders! Equestrians have known the benefits of riding for years but we are glad that others are learning to appreciate our world as well.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these 50 interesting horse facts! We have many more articles that share fun facts and interesting information about horses. You can read more here.
P.S. Save this to your “Horse” board!