26 October 2016

Horses are a bit of a mystery to those who don’t spend at least half of their time in jodhpurs.

They have freakishly large nostrils and stand blindfolded in their fields, and seem to have no qualms about purposefully stomping on the feet of humans.

In an attempt to demystify the horse, here are 10 facts that you’d never guess about horses. They might just come in handy on a trivia night, or for when you need to impress people with your extensive general knowledge.


An average horse would eat around 9 kilograms or 20 pounds of hay per day!

Generally, horses have to eat around 2% of their bodyweight in grass or hay per day – it might not sound a lot until you work it out!

On top of this, they’ll eat a few kilograms of grain, oats or concentrate too, depending on the horse and how much exercise it does. Now you know where the saying ‘eats like a horse’ comes from!



The oldest horse ever lived to 62 years


He was a 19th century horse called ‘Old Billy’, though presumably he was just ‘Billy’ when he was younger. The average lifespan of a horse is 25-30, though many horse lovers will tell you that ponies seem to go on for far longer!


The horse is a close relative to the rhino

We’ve always known that rhinos are actually unicorns who put on a bit of weight, so it makes perfect sense that the rhino is the one of the horse’s closest relative.


Technically, donkeys and zebras are part of the same family as the horse, so they probably take the ‘closest relative’ title (unless of course, you don’t count siblings and parents as family because there’s been one too many terrible Christmas dinners) but rhinos are still way up there!



Their teeth never stop growing


People like your grandma probably used to talk about how they (or their friends, or relatives or whoever) were ‘getting a bit long in the tooth.’ Or old, as we like to call it now.

This is another expression that is derived from horses, whose teeth never stop growing. Luckily with equine dental services nowadays it isn’t a problem and horses can easily grind and chew their food way into old age. 


There are a lot of naming rules for horses

If you’ve ever gone to the races, or even just to a local show, you’ve probably seen a horse with a ridiculous name like ‘hot buttered crumpet’ or ‘zombie attack.’

Most breeders will try to include something of the parentage in a horse’s name, which can lead to some weird combinations, and some authorities such as the Jockey Club have strict rules on length, initials, famous people, re-using of horse names and various others.

Sadly, not every horse gets away with being called Flash, Star or Billy. 


Text by Sophie Baker