Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Do horses like bananas?

Horses will eat bananas - and bananas are good for them too (horses need potassium as much as we do). Unlike us, though, horses don't peel their bananas - horses will, and should, eat the skin too.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Do horses like potatoes?

Actually, potatoes aren't a good thing to feed horses. Green and raw potatoes are poisonous (The toxin, solanine, is destroyed by cooking, at least in the tuber part). Potatoes are also likely to get stuck causing choke. Finally, potatoes are too starchy for horses - they can make them fat.

Solanine poisoning can cause excitability, decreased heart rate and respiration, gastric problems, convulsions, muscle weakness and coordination difficulties. So, no potatoes. Especially not uncooked.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Do horses like pumpkins?

Yes - albeit as an occasional treat and with the seeds removed. So, come Halloween... (Horses actually like most kinds of squash).

Friday, August 11, 2017

Were there black cowboys?

Because this has come up a few times in my hearing lately.

Yes, there absolutely were. In fact, the estimate is that one in four cowboys was, in fact, African-American. So, how did that happen?

There were a few ways, but the major one was that during the Civil War, a lot of whites went to fight...and left their slaves to tend the cattle. The slaves developed the skills and then once they were free took jobs as skilled hands.

And they found that the cowboys didn't care. White, black, Hispanic, Native American - as long as you could do the job. It only lasted for the era of mass cattle drives and the black cowboys have been mostly erased from history, pushed out of rodeos (although many black riders compete now, they were excluded for a while) and forgotten. But if you're writing westerns or weird west - remember, there were plenty of black faces under those hats.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Can horses eat wood?

Certainly, quite a few of them think they can. Chewing wood is a problem and I've encountered horses and mules who will eat bare twigs. It doesn't really do them a lot of harm...or a lot of good either, as even they can't really digest it.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Why are not all horses kept on straw bedding?

If you read anything about horses, they'll talk about using straw for bedding - and often say it's the best. Why doesn't everyone use it?

The answer is because while most horses find straw unpalatable, some will cheerfully chow down on it. And they're always the ones you're trying to keep from getting fat. Always.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Do horses like pasta?

Yes. Preferably uncooked. Some horses will absolutely do anything for it. Just uncooked pasta (says something about how different their senses were.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Do horses cry out in pain?

Only when the pain is very extreme. Horses tend not to show pain (sometimes to the frustration of their handlers). They're more likely to express pain by snapping at other horses or humans, snapping at their own body or lashing out. They may groan, too, but again, only when in a lot of pain.

Generally, if a horse "screams" they're trying to get attention, not to tell you they're in pain.

Friday, August 4, 2017

What is the normal equine body temperature?

Between 99 and 101 degrees fahrenheit. Donkeys have a slightly different range - 97.2 to 100 F.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Why are horse racing's top awards called the "Eclipse" awards?

After a horse, of course. In 1764, there was a solar eclipse on April Fool's Day - and that's when "Eclipse" was recorded as being born.

He raced for only 17 months and was retired - because he was so good he was ruining the betting industry.

He fetched 75 sterling as a yearling...and was bought by a farmer who, instead of gelding him, bet that he could be tamed by intensive training. He was untouchably fast - and a terror to handle. At the time, racehorses were run older than they are now - he made his debut at the age of 5 and won every race he was in...ignoring his jockeys the entire time (Not like they actually knew better).

He made $6 million from racing purses and stud fees, breeding over 300 mares. In fact, it's possible the horse box was invented for Eclipse (at that time, the stallion went to the mare). Over 90 percent of English Thoroughbreds trace to him.

In addition to the awards, Eclipse gave his name to a prestigious race, a racing magazine, the main building of the Royal Veterinary College and a slew of ships. (Not to mention the fact that "Eclipse" is still a common horse name, and not just amongst racehorses).

We don't know how Eclipse would have stacked up against, say, Secretariat or any other modern racehorse because they didn't have the best timing gear back then, but he was definitely insanely fast.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

How do horses feel about the barn cat?

It depends. For the most part, horses are perfectly fine with the barn cat. (Cats, on the other hand, seem to like horses for some reason. Or maybe they just like the way the grain attracts mice). Most horses will tolerate having a cat jump onto or sit on their back - the cat, after all, is a lot lighter than a human rider.

However, horses will sometimes get annoyed with cats. I know one who was so mad with a cat for jumping onto his back (While I was riding him so I wasn't exactly pleased with kitty either) that he glared at it and bared his teeth every time he saw it until the cat (which belonged to an employee) moved out. He never did forgive that cat.

Most of the time, though, they get on.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Do horses see us as other horses?

Apparently not. Horses often show very different behavior when interacting with other horses, when interacting with humans and when interacting with other species, such as the barn cat.

Horses appear quite capable of recognizing that they are a horse, you are a human, and these are not the same thing at all. This doesn't mean they can't form social bonds with us. It just means they aren't stupid ;).