Horse sense for the Dummies

Picture @Getty Images
I was doing a project which has been designed on an Equine theme. Once you get to meet the horse lovers you are already ushered into a all new Horse world inhabited by a different type of people. I was introduced to this world in New Delhi while we got involved with the design of a farm house within a stud farm. But this time around it is much deeper and longer and I had to do some research to be able to understand them and be able to talk sense. I would like to share some curious facts that might interest many a dummy like me.
A Horse Is A Horse When...
A horse is usually not considered to be a "horse" until it is 5 years old. Before that, males are known as colts and females are known as fillies. However, it is still acceptable to call a colt or filly a horse.
A foal is a very young horse and can be either male or female.
A yearling is a foal after its first birthday
How long do horses live?
An average life span for a horse is around 20 -25 years, though they can live for up to 30 years. The oldest recorded horse was "Old Billy," an English barge horse, who lived to be 62 years old.
Mare and Foal
The mother horse, or mare, is pregnant (or "in foal") for 11 months. Most mares give birth in the spring to a single baby (foal) although twins are not uncommon. Mares produce milk for their young and will feed them for several months. Most foals are born at night under the cover of darkness and away from prying eyes and possible danger.
Within 1-2 hours of birth a foal is able to stand up and walk. When foals are born their legs are almost the same length as they are when they are fully grown - their legs are so long they find it difficult to reach down to the grass to eat! Foals can focus their eyes almost as soon as they are born and cut their first teeth within a week. They are fully grown by 3 - 4 years of age.
Horse Height
Horse’s height is measured in units known as "hands." One hand is equal to 4 inches. A horse is usually considered to be 14.2 (14 hands, 2 inches) or taller when mature. Anything under 14.2 when mature is usually considered to be a pony.
Horse Teeth
Adult female horses (mares) usually have 36 teeth. A mare may have up to 40 teeth if she happens to have any canine teeth, which is possible but less common. Adult males have between 40 and 44 teeth.
"Floating" a horse's teeth means to file the sharp edges or points off in order to create a flatter, more efficient chewing surface, and to keep any sharp edges or points from cutting the inside of the horse's mouth.
A horse's age can usually be accurately determined by its teeth until the horse is about 9 years old. After that, a horse is known as "smooth mouthed" or "aged" and it becomes far more difficult or impossible to tell its age by its teeth.
Inside A Horse
The horse has one stomach. In contrast, cattle, sheep, goats, bison, deer, elk, caribou, moose, and camels are "ruminants" which means (among other things) they have four digestive chambers instead of just one stomach.
Bridle Path
The "bridle path" on a horse is the area just behind the horse's ears where the mane has been clipped or trimmed. This area is commonly trimmed on all kinds of horses of all riding disciplines. Clipping the mane is this area creates a neat place for the bridle or halter to lay across the top of the head without long mane hairs to get in the way or get tangled.
Colors & Patterns
Chestnut: Golden brown coat with lighter or darker tail than mane.
Flea-Bitten: Grey coat, with small dark specks more appear in age.
Gray: White coat with black skin the coat will lighten with age.
Skewbald: Big patches of white on many other colors except black.
Brown: Mixture of black and brown on limbs, tail and mane.
Bay: Dark golden color also a Red -Brownish color with black tail, mane and limbs.
Black: Black coat mane, tail and limbs.
GroomingOne might think the reason to groom a horse is so that he/she looks nice, but the main reason is so that it will stay healthy and clean. If you keep your horse in a stable where he cannot roll on the ground to groom himself, you should groom him daily. If he is out in the pasture he will not need as much grooming.
Why does a horse have to wear shoes?
Horses that work or travel on hard roads need their feet (hooves) protected by metal shoes. Horse’s hooves, like our finger and toe nails, also grow continuously and need to be trimmed. To do this, the horses shoes need to be removed and their hooves trimmed every 4 -6 weeks. After trimming their hooves new shoes are fitted. The person who cares for a horse's feet is called a farrier or blacksmith.
Horse Facts
A horse's HEART WEIGHS about 10 pounds!
The average horse's HEAD WEIGHS 11.84 pounds.
In the wild horse world, the mare decides when and where the herd will go while the stallion follows. (Surprised, are you?)
Horses are the LAST PRIMARY ANIMAL to be domesticated.
Rabbits are not rodents. They are more closely related to horses than they are to rats or mice.
China not only has the most people in the world, but also has the most Horses with 10,000,000.
If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle; if the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle; if the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.
Horse Records
The tallest horse on record was a Shire named Samson. He was 21.2 hands (7 feet, 2 inches) tall.
Samson is also recorded as the heaviest horse weighing 1524kg (3360lbs)
The oldest horse on record is "Old Billy," an English barge horse. He was 62 years old when he died, living from 1760 to 1822.
The oldest pony reliably recorded was named Teddy E. Bear, and lived to be 55. He was owned by Kathy Pennington of Virginia Beach, VA. He was still alive as of 1998.
The record for the highest jump made by a horse is held by a horse named Huaso who jumped 8 feet, 1 and 1/4 inches on February 5th, 1949 in Vina del Mar, Chile. He was ridden by Captain Alberto Larraguibel Morales.
The record for the longest jump over water is held by a horse named Something who jumped 27 feet, 6 and 3/4 inches on April 25, 1975 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was ridden by Andre Ferreira.
The smallest breed is the Falebella of Argentina.
The tallest of the breed stands about 74cm (30 inches) at the shoulder.
The smallest pony in history was a stallion named "Little Pumpkin." He stood 14 inches and weighed only 20 lbs!


  1. Very informative. As a child my favourite book was Black Beauty. I always dreamed of owning a horse then. Later realised that was not easy at all in India.

  2. another informative a great post. very well researched. I have always dreamt of a white horse running on a beach all unbriddled and free..very filmy I think..but beautiful!!

  3. Sounds interesting

  4. I never knew so much about the breed :)
    quite informative piece :)

  5. Very interesting. You have gathered so much information about the horse through the course of your designing a house in the stud farm.

  6. Very Interesting!!

    Amazing information with the required details.
    First time on your blog!! Liked the way you have written!!

    Will visit again!! Thanks!!

  7. Aparna,
    It is not easy to own a horse. But lots of people to own horses. There are stud farms where you can let your horse stay for a fees.
    Hope you have your black beauty one day.

    Dreaming of a horse is quite natural. what an elegant creature. It is not only filmy .. it is also the favorite scene of artists and photographers
    Hope you found it interesting.
    I am glad that you liked it. Keep dropping in once in a while.
    I did a bit of reseach to be on the same page with the specialist consultants. This time it is the design of a huge equine themed development which even includes spa for the horses.
    thanks for visiting and your encouraging words. Do keep visiting here and provide your feedback.

  8. Ah, great post for a horse lover such as me! Thank you for directing me to this.;))

    I truly love that they used the name Samson for the tallest and the heaviest horses.;))
    Batcats name is actually originally Samson.;))

    Thank you for your always kind comments at my place, I truly appreciate them.;))

  9. A whole lot of information here about horses....thanks for sharing... :-)

    1. Thanks for your kind comments. As you must have noticed, its quite an old post written while working on an equine themed real-estate development.... now ... recycled.


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