How well do you know horses?

Horses are animals I have always had a deep level of respect and admiration for. My appreciation for these beasts arguably stems from my familiarity with them; both my sister and I rode horses competitively when we were younger. My sister rode for about 15 years and showed Western, whereas I rode for I think about six or seven years and showed English. I learned a hell of a lot about accountability, responsibility and animal-handling from riding horses, and I wouldn’t trade the time and effort I spent with them for anything. I have some very fond memories from my riding days, as does my sister.

Horses are fascinating creatures, and I thought I would share some interesting facts about them with all of you. This information comes

1. Horses have around 205 bones in their skeleton, but some Arabian horses have fewer ribs and lumbar vertebrae than is typically found in other breeds of horse — 5 lumbar vertebrae rather than 6 and 17 pairs of ribs rather than 18.

2. Equine have bigger eyes than any other land mammal. They also have a third eyelid which lies on the inside of the eye and closes diagonally over it for added protection.

3. Horses can sleep both lying down and standing up thanks to a special locking system in their legs, but they can only achieve REM sleep when lying down.

4. Male horses have 40 teeth when they are adults (usually from around five-years-old), while mares have 36 teeth. In both cases horses’ teeth take up more space in their heads than their brains.

5. The longest tail ever recorded on a horse, according to the Guinness Book of Records, belonged to a mare in Kansas, USA, called JJS Summer Breeze and measured 381cms (12 foot 6 inches) on 23rd August 2007.

6. Horses can’t vomit due to them having a strong band of muscles around their esophagus. This band is so strong that a horse’s stomach would burst before the animal would vomit.

7. Horses produce approximately 10 gallons of saliva a day.

8. The tallest horse on record was a Shire named Sampson. He was 21.2hh (7 feet, 2 inches) tall

9. Estimates suggest that there are around 60 million horses in the world, but…

10. There were no horses in Australia until 1788, when they arrived with the first Western settlers, and were used for farming and utility work. Only the strongest and fittest horses survived the hard sea journey over from Europe and Australian horses still maintain a reputation for being amongst the hardiest equines in the world.

11. A horse’s brain weighs around 623g, half the weight of a human brain.

12. Horses don’t have collarbones. Their shoulders are held to the rest of their skeleton via a sling of muscles and ligaments instead,” the web page states.

Check back tomorrow for more facts about these majestic mammals.

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