Many children take to horses for their muscular body, long tail, and speed and grace in the running, which makes them one of the fascinating animals for them. We bring you some interesting horse facts for kids that will pique their curiosity to learn more about the equine mammal. Learning these facts may also goad your kid to learn horse riding. Scroll down for some exciting horse facts that will both educate and engage your child.
Basic Information About Horses For Children
1. What are horses called?
Based on a horse’s gender and age, it is called a (1):
- Filly – a young female horse
- Mare – a mature female horse
- Colt – a young male horse
- Stallion – a mature male horse
- Gelding – a young/mature castrated male horse
- Foal – a young male/female horse, usually under one year of age
- Yearling – a young male/female horse in its second year
2. What are the different horse breeds?
There are more than 300 breeds of horses worldwide (2). They are classified based on several different ways, including physical characteristics, utility, etc. Classification of horse breeds based on the size, weight, and build identifies them as a miniature, light, heavy breed (or draft horses), and pony. Alternatively, their classification based on utility classifies them as warmblooded, coldblooded, and hotblooded horses (3) (4).
3. In which colors are horses available?
Horses across breeds have various coat colors and patterns on the body. However, in general, there are some primary base coat colors in horses, such as:
- Bay: This coat color has variations from brown to reddish-brown to almost black.
- Dark bay: This coat color is brown with certain blackened or tanned body parts, like the head, shoulders, inside of the thighs, tail, and the mane.
- Black: Breeds with this coat color have black hair throughout the body with no brown or tan coloration areas.
- Chestnut: It is marked by various shades of reddish-brown, ranging from pale red to deep reddish-brown. There are seldom any patches of black.
- Brown: This coat color looks similar to dark bay and is sometmes brownish-black.
- Sorrel: Horses with this coat color have a light red to reddish-yellow base coat with chestnut hues.
Apart from these, horses also come in several other colors, such as gray, pinto, and dun, which came into existence due to genetic modification of the base colors.
4. What do horses eat?
Horses are herbivores and eat grass, leaves, and other parts of the plant, such as the stem or bark. However, domesticated horses often eat a diet supplemented with foods, like grains, such as oats, flax, and barley (5).
5. What is the lifespan of a horse?
Wild horses have an average lifespan of 62 years, whereas it is about 30 years for a domesticated horse.
25 Horse Facts For Children
- The domestication of horses began almost 4,000 years ago.
- A wild horse subspecies, the Przewalski’s horse, is the only wild horse type that was never domesticated.
- Horses are one of the most adaptable animals, whose habitat varies from cold, temperate grasslands to marshes and woodlands.
- The horse’s length ranges from 220 to 280cm (86.61 to 110.24in), and their weight ranges from 227 to 900kg (500 to 1982.38lb).
- Horses reach 95 to 97 percent of their height between 18 and 24 months of age.
- A foal (young horse) can stand within a couple of hours after birth.
- Horses have a 360° vision due to the placement of their eyes on the sides of their head.
- Horses have a dichromatic vision, which means their eyes can perceive colors in only two wavelength regions of the visible light.
- There are a total of 205 bones in a horse’s body.
- A horse’s ear can rotate independently up to 180°, allowing them to identify the direction of the sound.
- Horses mostly communicate with their body language using cues, like the widening of an ear, twitching of an eye, and subtle changes in body position.
- Horses pin their ears back to display emotions, such as threat, anger, or dominance. It is also a voluntary defense mechanism that saves their ear from being bitten off by a predator.
- On average, horses can walk between 4.9 and 8 kilometers per hour (kmph) and can gallop between 40 and 48 kmph.
- Horses have a sharp tactile sensation (sense of touch), enabling them to sense movement even on a single hair easily.
- A white spot or any shape found on the horse’s forehead, snout, or between the eyes is often referred to as a star.
- Horses in the wild live in a herd where one horse stays alert for predators while others rest.
- As horses age, their backs sag, and this condition is called a swayback or lordosis.
- A horse with a higher natural affinity towards cattle is often called a cow horse or cowy horse. These horses are often used in managing or herding cattle at barns and pastures.
- Horses can disperse seeds through their excretions.
- The quarter horse is the most famous horse breed in the US.
- A horse can doze off while standing and go into REM sleep while lying down.
- The oldest horse in the world, “Old Billy,” lived for 62 years before he breathed last on November 27, 1822.
- Arabian horses are shorter in length as they lack one lumbar vertebra in their backs.
- A mature horse has a 70 feet long and two-inch-wide small intestine that can hold approximately 60 liters of food.
- Horses are used for therapeutic purposes to promote physical, emotional, and occupational growth in people with disorders, like autism and cerebral palsy. This therapy is known as Equine Therapy or Equine-Assisted Therapy (EAT).
Knowing some horse facts for kids can make your child more interested in learning about the animal kingdom. You may teach them the names of male and female horses based on their age, breeds, colors, and what they eat. It can also be interesting for kids to know certain behaviors of the horses, such as pinning their ears back to express emotions, their speed, and how they are sensitive to touch. Spread as much information as you can and bring your children close to animals so they love and take care of them.
- Horses are of various kinds and colors and have been employed for domestic purposes for nearly 4,000 years.
- They mainly feed on grass, and an adult horse’s intestine could hold around 60 liters of food.
- Horses are often intriguing for children due to their uniqueness, such as their ability to sleep while standing for hours together.
2. Horses; Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science; Oklahoma State University Board of Regents
3. What is a Horse Breed?; USDA
4. Common Horse Breeds; The Open Sanctuary Project
5. Horse; University of Michigan
6. 10 Facts on Horses’ Hearing; Fédération Équestre Internationale
7. How can I measure my colt now to determine his full height when fully grown?; USDA
8. Horse Senses; USDA