5 Fascinating facts about horses
1. The horse’s closest relative is the rhino!
Although they are considered farmyard animals and spend much of their time around cows, pigs and goats they share a much closer kinship to the more exotic rhinos and tapirs. There is only one surviving branch of the horse family, Equus. This branch includes not only Equus Caballus, the domesticated horse, but also Przewalski’s horse, zebras, asses and donkeys.
2. Horses used to be the size of small dogs!
They used to roam ancient forests and had three toes instead of a hoof. As the climate changed and forests gave way to wide open plains, they needed to be able to run faster to survive. They evolved in many ways, including size and speed, to become the majestic creatures we know today.
3. Horses cannot vomit or breathe through their mouths.
Because the sphincter muscles in the lower part of the throat are so much stronger in the horse than in most animals, and the it is nearly impossible for any pressure in the stomach to force the throat to open, meaning horses cannot vomit.
Horses have a piece of tissue in their mouths called the soft palate. This blocks off the pharynx from the horse’s mouth except when they are swallowing food. This means that a horse can only breathe through its nostrils and the mouth is used strictly for the ingestion of food.
4. The equine eye is one of the largest of any land mammal.
The horse is active during both day and night, and it is a prey animal, meaning vision is one of its most vital senses. The eyes of a horse are about 3.4cm in diameter, exceeded only by the eyes of whales, seals and ostriches.
5. Horses enjoy music.
Horses are often very receptive to calming or cheerful instrumental tracks and are often found gathering around the source of music of their own free will.
6. A bonus fact! Equinophobia is the fear of horses…
And it’s probably a good fear to have as they will take over your life, steal your heart and make sure your bank account stays empty! 🤣