Long tail, muscular torso, and blazing fast running speed, horses truly outstand several mammals. Their graceful physique and ability to run long distances make them the center of attraction for children. You can nurture your child’s interest and affection for horses by sharing some interesting facts about these beautiful animals.
This post shares several engaging and exciting horse facts that you can discuss with your children to help them know horses better.
Basic Information About Horses For Children
1. What are horses called?
- 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 sometimes 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).
Understanding horses, their behavior, and their evolution can be an interesting learning activity for children. You can discuss these facts with your child. You may also present the information through books, science programs, or online presentations to foster your child’s inquisitiveness towards horses.
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