Some fun facts to teach children about horses and ponies

Some fun facts to teach children about horses and ponies

Most kids go through a phase at some point in their lives of frantically asking to go riding or even be bought their own pony. However, horse riding lessons can be expensive, and pony ownership even more so! Before you make the commitment of time and money to taking your child riding or buying them their own mount, it is wise to gauge their interest first over time, and make sure that it is not just a passing phase that they will outgrow. During this time, you can help to educate your child about horses and ponies, and build their knowledge and interest in these noble creatures.

Here are thirty fun and interesting facts about horses and ponies to share with your kids of any age.

  1. Newborn foals usually stand on their own feet within an hour of being born, and can walk and run around very shortly afterwards!
  2. Horses and ponies can sleep both lying down and standing up
  3. Horses kept in captivity generally live to around 25 years of age, but in some cases, may live well into their 30’s.
  4. The oldest known horse on record lived to 62 years old, and was named “Old Billy.” Presumably during the earlier years of his life, he was simply called “Billy!”
  5. The known history of the domestication of horses goes back for well over 5,000 years.
  6. Horses were originally domesticated to make it faster for people to cover large amounts of terrain, and for many millennia, horses were the main form of transport for people in most parts of the world!
  7. Horses and ponies are vegetarian, and do not eat any meat or animal products.
  8. The skeleton of the horse is made up of 205 different bones. Humans have 206 when adult!
  9. The horse has the largest eyes of any land-dwelling mammal!
  10. The eyes of the horse are set on the side of the head, not in the front like peoples, and so horses can see almost all the way around their bodies. They have a blind spot right at the front and right at the back, which is why you should always approach them from the side, to avoid startling them.
  11. The galloping speed of the horse is around 27mph, and for thoroughbred racehorses that are designed to run, often much faster!
  12. Fossil and skeletal evidence suggests that horses have lived on earth for over 50 million years, going through several distinct stages of evolution during this time and starting off as much smaller animals!
  13. The only distinct difference between the horse and the pony is that the horse is larger.
  14. Horses and ponies are measured in “hands,” and a “hand” is four inches. So a horse that is 62 inches tall would be called 15.2 hands high.
  15. Horses are measured from the ground to the top of the withers, not the top of the head.
  16. If the animal is under 14.2 hands high, it is a pony, and if it is taller, it is a horse!
  17. The memory of the horse is longer than that of the elephant. Horses never forget!
  18. If a domesticated horse is released back into the wild, they will usually lose all trace of their domestication very quickly.
  19. Stallions do not tend to fight over territory, but they do fight over the availability of breeding mares.
  20. Stallions usually have several mares within their herd.
  21. The horse does not have either a gall bladder, nor a collarbone!
  22. It used to be assumed that horses were colour blind, and could only see a limited range of the colour spectrum that people can. However, it is now thought that horses don’t have any problems seeing red, green and yellow shades, but do have problems viewing colours in the blue, purple and violet spectrum.
  23. Once fully grown, male horses have around 40 teeth and females have 36.
  24. Horse’s teeth keep growing throughout their lives, but are worn down to a safe length by grazing and chewing on roughage.
  25. In total, the horse’s teeth take up more space within their skulls than their brains do!
  26. The material that makes up horse’s hooves is made up of the same protein compounds that make up our own finger and toenails!
  27. Horse’s hooves are constantly growing, at the rate of around a quarter of an inch a month. They naturally get worn down through moving around, or in the case of shod horses, the hooves are trimmed by a farrier.
  28. The first horse box to transport horses was built in England in the 1800’s, and was actually pulled by other horses! It was designed to allow racehorses to arrive at the race track fresh and not tired from being ridden.
  29. The boy’s name “Phillip” means “one who loves horses.” The same is true for the female version, “Phillipa.”
  30. The Arab horse breed is thought to be among the most ancient of all breeds.
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