Horse Barns - Facts and Resources about Horses

Horses are beautiful animals that have intrigued people for centuries. They have unique personalities and qualities that make them popular pets for many people the world over. There are dozens of breeds of horses that come from all parts of the globe. Some horses are known for their physical characteristics, while others are known for their temperaments. The following looks at many different breeds of horses and highlights some lesser known facts about horses in general.

Interesting Facts about Horses

  • The pulse rate of a horse at rest measures between 36 to 40 beats per minute.
  • There are 205 bones in a horse’s body.
  • Horses sleep about two and a half to three hours per day.
  • A horse’s age can be determined by looking at its teeth.
  • The upper jaw of a horse is wider than its lower jaw.
  • A horse may run back into a barn that is on fire in order to return to the familiarity of its stall.
  • A horse lays its ears back against its head when it is angry.
  • Though horses have a wide range of vision, they aren’t able to see objects in a small area directly in front of their nose.
  • Horses can sometimes live to be 30 or 40 years old, but the average lifespan of a horse is about 25 years.
  • Horses can get a bad stomach ache referred to as colic.
  • Some horses drink two or more full buckets of water a day.
  • The height of a horse is measured in ‘hands’. A ‘hand’ is equal to four inches.
  • A baby horse, called a foal, can stand up approximately one hour after birth. In the wild, a horse must stand up quickly so it will not become the victim of predators.
  • Foals are usually born at night.
  • A horse is able to sleep in a standing position.
  • There is always a leader in a herd of horses.
  • Horses communicate to one another via a high-pitched whinny.
  • A female horse is pregnant with a foal for about eleven months.
  • Many horses bloat their stomachs when a rider puts a saddle on them. Horses do this so the girth (the belt that runs beneath their belly) isn’t fastened too tightly. They let out their air after the rider finishes tightening the girth.
  • Horses can hear what is going on behind them by shifting their ears in a backward direction.
  • Horses grow a coat that is thick and furry for the wintertime.
  • Tame horses must have their teeth filed down on a regular basis by a veterinarian so they won’t damage their tongue or gums. This process is called floating.
  • A horse that is female is a mare.
  • A male horse is either a gelding or a stallion.
  • Horses number about 60 million worldwide.

Notable Breeds of Horses

  • Andalusian-The origins of the Andalusian are on the Iberian Peninsula in Spain. This horse, known for its intelligence and grace, generally has a grey/white coat. Andalusians with their flowing manes and tails are often used in the sport of dressage.
  • Assateague Pony-The origins of the Assateague wild pony are in Spain. Today, they roam around in herds on Assateague Island near Maryland. These sturdy ponies survive on the wild brush growing on Assateague Island. The Assateague wild pony is a well-known breed due in part to the popular book by Marguerite Henry entitled, Misty of Chincoteague.
  • Buckskin horses are originally from Spain. Buckskins are notable for their strength as well as their stamina. These horses are usually light brown or tan in color.
  • Camargue-The Camargue is a horse with origins in the south of France. These horses have a sturdy build and are used to herd cattle. A Camargue is born with a dark coat, but it lightens to a whitish/grey as the horse grows older.
  • Caspian horses are thought to have their origins in Iran. They are small horses that were so few in number (at one time) that they almost became extinct. In the 1960s, the Caspian horse began to gain popularity in the world of horse owners.
  • The Clydesdale has its origins in Scotland. This horse is memorable for its overall size and tremendous muscles. Clydesdale horses were once used for farm work, but were later used to haul heavy wagons and equipment.
  • The Galician is a pony that has its origins in Spain. These tough ponies have short, sturdy legs and strong compact bodies. Many of these Galician ponies roam in the mountains on the Iberian Peninsula.
  • Palomino (PDF)-The exact origins of the Palomino are not known. However, Queen Isabella of Spain treasured her large collection of Palominos for their gold-colored coats and regal beauty. There have been many famous Palominos throughout history including Trigger, a horse owned by Roy Rogers and Mr. Ed, a character on a 1960s television show.
  • Rocky Mountain Horse-The original home of the Rocky Mountain Horse is in eastern Kentucky. This is a horse of medium size known for its even temperament. It is big enough to help with work on a farm yet gentle enough to be ridden by children.

More Resources on Horses