20 fascinating facts about horses
The horse is one of the most beautiful, athletic and versatile species known for its strength, endurance and elegance. With over 300 breeds in existence today, horses come in an assortment of shapes and sizes and can perform a variety of tasks, from racing and jumping to riding and farming.
Below we get to know the Equus caballus species better, as we list 20 fascinating horse facts, with a special focus on the beloved thoroughbred breed synonymous with horse racing.
1. The first ancestor of the horse is estimated to have lived around 50 million years ago and was a dog-sized hoofed animal called Eohippus or Hyracotherium. Scientists also believe that horses were first domesticated 6,000 years ago in present-day Ukraine and western Kazakhstan.
2. Almost all modern horses are descended from ancient Middle Eastern lines of Arabian horses and now extinct Turkmen horses. All purebred Thoroughbreds can be traced back to three founding sires: the Darley Arabian, the Godolphin Arabian and the Byerly Turk, all of which came to England in the 17th and 18th centuries.
3. All horses fall into one of five categories: warm blooded, warm blooded, cold blooded/draft, pony and miniature. Thoroughbreds fall into the warm-blooded category, along with Arabians, while warm-blooded types, like Appaloosas, are crosses between warm-blooded and cold-blooded/pony-type breeds.
4. Horses have 205 bones (one fewer than humans), with the exception of Arabian horses, which are born with one less lumbar vertebra, one rib and one coccyx.
5: The average horse needs at least one gallon of fresh water per 100 pounds of body weight per day. This figure can increase to as much as 30 gallons in a day for horses in warmer climates or on race days.
6: Horses also produce up to 10 gallons of saliva per day.
7. No land mammal has bigger eyes than a horse, which has near 360 degree vision. A horse’s blind spots are directly in front and behind it.
8. The space occupied by a horse’s teeth is greater than the space occupied by its brain, which weighs about 22 ounces.
9. There are 10 different muscles in a horse’s ear, which can be rotated nearly 180 degrees and move independently of the other ear.
10. At 12 feet 6 inches, the longest tail measured on a horse belonged to mare JJS Summer Breeze, owned by Crystal and Casey Socha of Augusta, Kansas.
11. The oldest horse to ever live was Old Billy (1760-1822), an 18th century barge horse from England. His breed is unknown, but he was probably a Shire or British draft horse. His 62 years are equivalent to about 165 human years. The world’s oldest living pony was Sugar Puff, who was 56 when he died in 2007 in Sussex, UK.
12. A Shire horse named Sampson, born in 1846 in Bedfordshire, England, is the tallest horse in the world on record, at 21.25 hands. He also weighed a record 3,360 pounds.
13. At just 17 inches tall and weighing 57 pounds, miniature chick brown mare Thumbelina is listed as the smallest horse in the Guinness Book of World Records. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 2001 and lived until 2008.
14. A 17-year-old thoroughbred named Lukas correctly identified 19 numbers in the space of one minute, which set a Guinness World Record and also earned him the accolade of the smartest horse in the world. Lukas was assisted by his owner and trainer Karen Murdock when he accomplished the feat in 2010.
15. The highest jump recorded by a horse was 8 feet 1.25 inches, achieved by chestnut Thoroughbred Huaso and his rider, Captain Alberto Larraguibel Morales, in Vina del Mar, Chile, in 1949.
16. All thoroughbred racehorses share the same January 1 birthday in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, August 1 is the universal birthday of the breed. Before 1858May 1 was the official anniversary since the date coincided with the start of the racing season.
17. While Thoroughbreds are known for their speed and endurance, Quarter Horses are the fastest breed over short distances and can run up to 55 mph in a quarter mile. The Thoroughbred Winning Brew set a record for a two furlong sprint when she recorded a speed of 43.97 mph in the short dash at the Penn National Race Course as a two-year-old filly in 2008.
18. Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus is the most expensive horse on record as he was bought for $70 million by Coolmore Stud in Ireland in 2000. Mr Prospector’s son was sold for $4 million. dollars as a yearling to Fusao Sekiguchi and earned $1,994,400 for his career. His offspring include Grade 1 winners Bandini and Roman Ruler, and he is the grandfather of 2011 Belmont S. (G1) winner Ruler On Ice.
19. On June 9, 2002, at the age of 19, Al Jabal, a thoroughbred Arabian ridden by Brian Boulton and owned by Andrea Boulton, became the oldest horse to win a race when he crossed the lead for the first time in The Three Horseshoes Handicap Stakes, a six-stage event at Barbury Castle, Wiltshire, UK.
20. In the United States, the Jockey Club oversees the naming of Thoroughbreds and provides a unique set of rules to follow. On the one hand, names cannot exceed 18 characters, including spaces, nor can they consist entirely of numbers. Nicknames ending with horse-related terms, such as “stallion”, “mare” or “colt”, are prohibited, and some famous racehorse names are permanently protected and can never be duplicated, such as Secretariat or Seabiscuit .