You’ve got questions about horses?
Well, we have the answers!
Below, we’re going over the top 14 frequently asked questions about these majestic creatures!
Let’s dive right in!
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TOP 14 MOST COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT HORSES + THEIR ANSWERS
Have you ever wondered whether or not horses are color blind?
Or maybe you’ve thought about whether or not horses can have twins?
Well, no more wondering because here are the answers to the 14 most common horse questions.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON HORSE COAT COLORS?
This is always the first horse question that my friends ask.
It seems like the colors are endless, but there are a few that occur most often.
The 6 most common coat colors are:
WHAT ARE THE MOST POPULAR HORSE BREEDS?
Did you know that there are currently 267 recognized breeds of horses in the world?
The 7 most popular breeds are:
- American Paint Horse
- American Quarter Horse
- Arabian Horse
- Morgan Horse
- Tennessee Walking Horse
Interestingly, these are also the best horse breeds for first-time owners!
HOW LONG DO HORSES LIVE FOR?
Depending on breed, environment, and management, the modern domestic horse has a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years.
Fun fact: According to the Guinness World Records, Old Billy is the oldest horse on record.
Born in England in 1760, he died on November 27, 1822, at the age of 62.
ARE HORSES AND DONKEYS THE SAME SPECIES?
No. Horses and donkeys belong to the same family, Equidae, which includes donkeys, horses, and zebras.
They also belong to the same genus, Equus.
That said, the two are capable of mating and producing offspring.
When a male donkey mates with a female horse, we get a mule. With the opposite paring, a hinny.
Mules are far more common than hinnies. If you’re curious about the differences, check out this great article.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A COLT, A FILLY, A STALLION, A MARE, AND A GELDING?
Horses go by many different names, depending on their age and gender. Here’s a breakdown of the most common.
- A colt is a male horse under the age of 4.
- A filly is a female horse under the age of 4.
- A stallion is an uncastrated adult male horse, more than 4 years old.
- A mare is an adult female horse, more than 4 years old.
- A gelding is a castrated male horse of any age.
CAN HORSES SWIM?
Yes, horses can swim without being taught.
They swim by keeping their head above water and moving their legs in a paddle-like manner as if they were trotting on land.
It is important to note that horses cannot hold their breath underwater.
Related: Running Horses
DO HORSES SLEEP STANDING UP?
Horses will doze or rest standing up.
They can do this with their stay apparatus, a mechanism in the joints of both the front and hind limbs that allow their legs to “lock” in place.
This way, they don’t fall over while they are resting. Horses do need to lie down for REM sleep.
They sleep in short intervals (usually about 20 minutes) that amount to about 3 hours a day.
WHAT DO HORSES EAT?
Horses are considered herbivores, meaning they only eat vegetation, such as bulbs, grasses, leaves, roots, fruits and vegetables.
According to Horsy Planet,
“The basic food requirements of all horses are fresh grass, forage, pasture, hay, some amount of grains, fruits and vegetable treats, along with some salts and minerals.”
For fruits, horses seem to like apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, pears, strawberries, and watermelon.
For vegetables, try beets, carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, turnips, and zucchini.
CAN HORSES VOMIT?
A strange question, but a common one! The answer? No.
Why? Because that’s the way that their digestive system is designed.
According to the Smithsonian Magazine, “Horses have a band of muscle around the esophagus as it enters the stomach.
This band operates as a one-way valve.
Food freely passes down the esophagus into the stomach as the valve relaxes but the valve squeezes down the opening and cuts off the passage for food going back up.”
ARE HORSES COLOR BLIND?
No, horses are not color blind.
They have dichromatic vision, a form of defective color vision in which only two of the primary colors are perceived, according to The Free Dictionary’s Medical Dictionary.
They can see blue and green colors of the spectrum along with their hues, but they cannot distinguish reds.
HOW LONG ARE HORSES PREGNANT?
According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), “Normal mares have a broad range of gestation.
It is very normal for mares to carry a fetus for 320 to 380 days.
In general, 330 days (11 months) is the most commonly cited gestation length.”
CAN HORSES HAVE TWINS?
According to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, “In horses, twin fetuses are uncommon.
Carrying them to term is even more unusual, and birthing healthy twin foals is especially unlikely.”
Typically, one or both fetuses are lost during the first 6 weeks of pregnancy. Approximately 1 in 10,000 horse births result in twins.
HOW MANY TEETH DO HORSES HAVE?
Horses get 2 sets of teeth in their lifetime, just like humans.
They get a set of 24 baby teeth (AKA deciduous teeth) and a set of 36-40 permanent teeth.
The first baby teeth may come in before the foal is born, while the last ones come in at about 8 months of age.
The baby teeth will start being replaced by permanent teeth at around the age of 2 ½ years old. By age 5, most horses will have their set of permanent teeth.
HOW DO YOU MEASURE A HORSE’S HEIGHT?
Horse height is measured in a unit called a “hand.”
One hand is equal to 4 inches.
Horse height is measured from the ground, beside the horse’s front hoof, to the highest point on their withers, the ridge between the shoulder blades.
Equine Helper has a great tutorial titled- How to Measure A Horse’s Height (Step-By-Step With Pictures).
The video below is also a great resource.
There you go! All of your most common questions about horses along with their answers!
Do you have any other questions about horses that I missed? Share below!