Amazing Facts About Horses

Posted at 4:28 PM, Dec 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-15 16:28:04-05

Sunday is the National Day of the Horse, where the contribution of these noble creatures to American history and culture is recognized.

There are currently around 9 million horses in the U.S., and nearly 1,780,000 households own a horse as of 2012, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The List’s Donna Ruko is no horse expert (no one at The List for that matter) so she sought the expertise of Stonewall Farm Owner and Event Director for ArabFarm Tour David Cains, for more about these stunning creatures.

Stonewall Farm is a premiere Arabian horse farm that produces some of the top Arabian horses in the world. ArabFram Tour is an annual event held over New Years’ , this year from December 31 – January 3. During the event, over a dozen of Arizona’s top Arabian horse farms open their doors to the public for a tour of their facilities and of course – to see horses!

Here’s a look at horses in America By The Numbers:

  • Horses are among the top 10 animals for sense of smell.
  • Horses can rotate their ears 180 degrees.
  • 650 grams (22 ounces) is the weight of an average adult horse brain, which is about half the weight of a human brain.
  • The horse has the largest and heaviest head in relation to length of neck of any mammal alive today. The head makes up for 4 - 5 percent of the total weight of a horse.
  • A horse breathes between 10 and 15 times a minute when resting.
  • A horse's heart beats 42 to 46 beats per minute. If it’s frightened or excited, this can rise quickly to over 250.
  • A mare will be in foul for 11 months. That’s horse-talk for how long a female horse will be pregnant for.  A male horse is a stallion.
  • Arabian horses are measured in hands, which are measurements of four inches.  An average Arabian horse will grow to be about 14 – 15 hands tall. The tallest horses are Clydesdales and Belgium Draft horses, which grow to be about 18 hands tall.
  • Wild horses graze (eat) up to 20 hours a day! Cains says that his horses particularly love carrots above all other foods. That if it were up to them, they would eat them non-stop all day! Some of his horses also enjoy apples and peppermint candies.
  • The horse possesses the largest eye of any land mammal currently in existence. The equine eye is considerably larger than other mammals, such as the elephant or whale that greatly exceed the horse in size and mass. Arabian horses have extremely long eyelashes, evolved to protect their eyes against debris and dust. The skin around their eyes is black, to reflect the sun.
  • The early 1500s, was when horses were re-introduced to north America by Spanish conquistadors. Horses had previously been extinct in the region for 10,000 years.
  • 1815 to 1915 were the years that a horse and buggy were the primary mode of short distance personal transportation.
  • Between 1914 and 1918, the United States sent almost 1 million horses to the European forces. When America entered World War I, another 182,000 horses were taken overseas, only 200 horses returned.
  • In the 1930s, during the great depression, the hoover wagon was an automobile converted to be pulled by horses due to the expense of automobiles.
  • During the late 1940s and early 1950s farm equipment manufacturers stopped building horse-drawn equipment.  In 1954, the number of tractors on farms exceeds the number horses and mules for the first time.
  • In 2007 the last 3 horse slaughter plants operating in America closed.
  • $8 million is how much American Pharoah earned throughout his racing career; ranking him among the top earning horses in history.
  • In April 2015 congress introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (safe) Act (h.r.1942/s. 1214) to prohibit the export of American horses abroad for the purpose of horse slaughter.