Monday, October 16, 2017

Are horses born with hooves?

Yup - but they have a pad on them so they don't damage the mare's womb when they kick or during birth. It comes off pretty quickly.

They need their hooves to be able to run, after all.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Are horses loyal?

From my observation, yes. Horses can tell people apart and studies show they can recognize people who treated them well (or just treated them, ahem) after months of separation. And as herd animals they are loyal to their herd.

In fact horses, like dogs, are amongst the most loyal animals on the planet.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Are horses afraid of pigs?

It's a common understanding that horses are terrified of pigs.

Horses that aren't used to pigs will often shy away from them - perhaps because pigs are omnivores that wouldn't shy away from a meal of horse meat.

Pigs also smell funny even to humans and make strange noises. Oh, and they're inclined to come running up to say hi, which horses also don't appreciate.

However, I've also known an entire of herd horses to welcome a pet pig as a once they get used to them they're fine. Or perhaps once they realize that pig is being well fed by the humans...

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Can horses count?

The jury is actually out on whether horses can count. Most "counting" horses react to the body language of their handler. However, show jumpers often seem to know exactly how many strides they need to put in.

I suspect they can't count the way we can, but they have a sense of rhythm that can make it look like they are at times.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Can horses eat granola bars?

They eat grain, after all.

Horses can eat granola bars, although some don't like them. Others will do anything for one, or at least for a bit of one. It wouldn't be a good idea to give them too many, though - lots of calories. Also, they should be broken up - horses don't do well if they eat too quickly and swallow something that size whole.

Friday, October 6, 2017

What is the closest living relative to equines?

Not cows or pigs.

The two closest living relatives to the horse are the rhinoceros and the tapir. All three animals are part of the perissodactyl group - odd number of toes rather than even numbered.

(Despite the fact that hippopotamus means "river horse," horses are not particularly closely related to hippos).

This close relationship is why some people joke that rhinos are unicorns. (More likely the species that inspired the unicorn legends was a deer or antelope).

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Do old horses get grouchy?

You know, like some old humans seem to.

I've definitely seen some horses develop grumpiness as they age or have bad days. On the other hand, I've seen grouchiness in younger animals too. One issue old horses may have is finding it harder to lie down to get REM sleep, resulting in sleep deprivation - and sleep deprivation makes all of us grumpy.

And, of course, a lot of older horses have arthritis, which isn't exactly going to improve their mood.

So, yeah, some older horses are very much inclined to do the equine equivalent of shaking a stick and telling you to go away.