Neigh Neigh-bor – Galloping In Nature
If deciding to make a poll among men questioning them about their favorite things or animals the responses may be quite varied. But, most surely horses and women or better said women and horses will certainly not fail to be mentioned in these polls. Which is the order you’d choose for these two above mentioned things?
Before you make up your mind, women can do just about the same thing trying to place in the order of importance men and horses this time, I am not going to ponder anymore but instead start the journey into the horses’ world.
What better way to do this if not quoting Lord Byron’s lines “A thousand horse and none to ride!-/ With flowing tale, and flying mane, / Wide nostrils never stretched by pain, / Mouths bloodless to the bit or rein, / And feet that iron never shod, / And flanks unscarred by spur or rod, / A thousand horse, the wild, the free, / Like waves that follow o’er the sea, / Came thickly thundering on,…”?
There are so many words one can use to describe a horse! I would start by saying that I consider them graceful, almost statuesque but at the same time robust and agile. Yet there are even more words fitted to describe them, words such as energetic, powerful, lithe, majestic, playful, fast, friendly, athletic, dreamy, quirky, ageless, wild, domestic, beautiful and why not awe-inspiring. Which of these words would you choose to describe horses? Most surely all of them are perfectly fitted when mentioning these amazing creatures.
Even so what is it that you know about horses? Besides its evident beauty you should also know that its scientific name or perhaps as some may say its exacting name is Equus Cabalus. Yet, we refer to them as horses; they have been much praised along the history in religion, art and mythology as well, playing an important role in people’s lives being used in transporting various things or even in agriculture and armed conflicts in the past. Not to mention here the long admired cowboys riding beautiful horses in movies depicting the life in the Wild West. Didn’t those horses manage to attract your attention too?
Have you ever wondered how many breeds of horses and ponies are there? Researches have shown that there are over 350 breeds of horses and ponies out there making way if I may say so to four categories or groups: first there are the so called “light” horses weighting less than 1300 pounds such as Morgan horses, Quarter horses and Arabians, then there are the so called “heavy” horses and as the name suggests it they are heavier, weighting up to 2000 pounds and being endowed by Mother nature with athletic, muscular legs and large bones such as the Shire horses, Clydesdale horses, ponies which are smaller in size as the name actually suggests it and of course feral horses which are those horses being labeled as wild.
As I keep mentioning parades in almost all my articles about animals I finally happened to get to an animal often being used in military parades most often than in any other kind of parade. You most surely happened to see such a parade and you may have found yourself exclaiming “How beautiful they are!” It is true that at times when seeing such a parade we may end up “bouche bée” as the French say or with your mouth opened as the English like to put it into words.
Therefore let’s try to find out some unusual facts about horses, or perhaps not unusual but remarkable for sure.
You most surely happened to notice the fact that they come in a wide variety of colors or at times even combinations of colors. Which are these colors? Well, they may be black, brown, chestnut, cream, dun, bay, grey or palomino. They may as well come in combinations of colors or broken colors as people usually refer to; in this category one would include the horses known as paint horses or skewbald, the spotted horses and of course the pinto horses.
When it comes to their height, did you know that in fact they are measured by hand? It is considered that a hand is the equivalent of four inches and as such a horse’s height is ‘n’ hands in fact. I find this interesting, yet there are still many more interesting things to be discovered about horses.
So, I shall continue the journey I started by mentioning that surprisingly enough despite their considerable size their brain is not bigger than a potato. This doesn’t mean that they are not smart but it should rather be taken as an amazing anatomical fact and that’s all.
Going on I shall say that another curiosity if I may say so is the fact that their stomach is quite small. When it comes to their heart it has been discovered that this one weights approximately 9 or 10 pounds. I let you decide whether this is a considerable weight or not.
If it were for us to mention some funny things about horses I’d start by saying that they are what I may call quite slavering if only mentioning the fact that they “bring out” neither more nor less than 10 gallons of saliva in a single day. If I would be asked to say a disgusting thing I’d say that they can burry one in saliva. Yet, we forgive them because they are cute to be fed and ridden.
Another funny thing is that their ears point towards the place where they are looking. So it would be good for you to pay attention to these ears. Now that I mentioned ears I must say a few words about their eyes too. Did you know that horses possess what science people usually call “monocular vision”? This comes to be translated as the fact that horses have the rather extraordinary capacity to have two images as each eye perceives its own image; in other words horses are capable of seeing two different images at the same time. But, surprisingly enough when looking down its nose, horses may as well have binocular vision, meaning a single image. This way they manage to see what they are eating, do they? As you all probably imagine horses have a better vision than us. Most animals in fact do.
Unlike us, horses cannot breathe through their mouth. As such you should make sure that their nostrils are not covered in any way and as such air gets to them. Another interesting detail comes from the fact that they are able to sleep while standing up and this mainly because they have strong, muscular legs which they usually lock when they sleep and as such they manage not to fall over. Yet, no wonder they do this since they must be really tired and unhappy. I say this regarding from our point of view, as at times we simply love to sleep; unlike us, horses only sleep about 3 or 4 hours out of the 24 hours. Poor them, they are quite deprived of sleep! Yet, after all it’s their choice! The surprising fact comes when mentioning that while laying down they in fact consume more energy than while standing up. And amazingly and at the same time intriguingly enough they spend more time sleeping in the summer than in the winter. Unlike many of us, I dare say, since during the summer we suddenly get somehow more energetic and feel like frisking around the wide natural landscape, whereas during the winter we rather feel like hibernating in our ‘dens’.
If I were asked to mention some disgusting facts about horses I would not fail to mention that they poop up quite a lot and this is why their stales come to smell really disgusting at times if not being well taken care of and that surprisingly enough horses cannot vomit. If you happened to be eating something while reading this I cannot say but “I’m really, really sorry!”
Did you ever believe that horses were able to actually perceive your words? If you did, then you would perhaps be disappointed to find out that they rather differentiate the tones you are using rather than the words in themselves.
If all you ever loved at a horse was its mane then most surely you noticed that this one falls to that side which has the shorter leg. In case you didn’t know horses are the owners of one front leg shorter than the other. The mane…a magical word being mentioned here…! At times women envy horses precisely for the beauty of this mane. Of course they would never recognize this! Hope you can all notice the irony and amusement in the above sentence. In order to amuse you even more I am going to tell you a story, a short one. The moral is to be extracted by you. Once, when I was younger, not that I am such an old spinster now, I used to feel better wearing a short hair, much like Winona Ryder used to have. I felt happy with it, meaning the hair and hope it did too with me. At that time I felt very energetic, much like the mentioned horses – quite a weird parallel if it were for me to think better, and I used to go to a fitness center. There, a guy dared to make a rather plastic, metaphorical comparison with mares asking me to imagine a field and two horses, a mare and a stallion galloping one after each other. The mare, of course had its mane blowing in the wind and as such better looking. Then I was asked to imagine the same scene this time with a bald mare. I am laughing while writing these lines. At the same time I cannot hope that you noticed the fact that many men tend to associate long hair with womanhood and as such the mare’s mane comes to be even more appreciated.
Talking about horses you may be interested to find out how many horses are there in the world? Well, I read somewhere that there are around 75 million horses in the world and about 10.000 of these are only in China. No wonder China has so many horses given the fact that there are so many people living there.
But, since I failed to mention all the outstanding physical traits of horses I shall now go on with this. Have you ever placed yourself so close to a horse as to see its teeth? I have and I was rather marked if I may say so by this experience. I say this because I think that they have just about the ugliest teeth I ever saw in my life. Therefore you may understand me when I say that a horse’s grin is not just the right thing one should wish to see.
You most surely happened to hear the following expression more than once ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’. It all starts with the fact that one can determine a horse’s age by looking at his teeth and as such one can get the truth directly from the source. Now that I mentioned the teeth horses possess I shall also say a few facts about them. An adult horse is said to have between 40 and 44 teeth. But, did you know that horses’ teeth in fact never stop growing? It is true that we can tell their age by looking at their teeth but this can be done up to when they reach 9 years of life, after that it is considered to be rather useless to keep counting on them. In fact, it has been discovered that teeth occupy even more space in a horse’s head than its brain.
They are amazing social creatures which once trained can do even more amazing things.
You probably wonder how are they able to sleep while standing and not fall over? This is possible mainly because they have some sort of a tendon system around the bones and joints of their legs which amazingly enough sustains their weight in an amazing way without getting weary.
What about their eating habits? Did you ever take your time to watch a horse eating? It is a funny image to watch since you probably saw their upper lip. They use this lip to grab almost everything and this is precisely that makes it even funnier. This upper lip is labeled as being ‘prehensile’, meaning it is used to seize and take hold of almost any meal.
Above all they seem to love eating carrots and bonbons. Try feeding them such kind of food and it is not only the horse that will be delighted but you too as you are going to be assisting to quite a show, a culinary one if I may say so.
Even so, what do horses eat? Of course grass is never missing from their meals, but during the winter they appease their senses with hay too. Yet, if they are meant to be used in harder jobs then they would most certainly become familiar with such foods as oats, maize, bran, chaff and barley. Even so you should be careful not to gorge them too much since their stomachs are little and as such they need to eat small amounts of food at once and more often if possible.
Did you know that mares spend 11 months in foal or pregnant as we use to say? Well, this is exactly what happens in the case of mares.
Now I shall introduce you to even more surprising facts about horses. Did you know that Arabians consider chestnut horses to be the fastest and bravest of all “colorful” horses? It still remains unknown to me why they consider so, but I honestly think that with a good training they can all become fast and why not even brave.
Did you know that you are not the only one who gets sunburned? Horses do too; I am referring here to the horses with pink skin.
Nowadays we highly appreciate horses, mainly because they make us feel excellent when they let us in their saddle, but also because they are beautiful. But most often we do not know or seem to care that it was the Mongolian tribes that first domesticated horses. This happened about 5000 years ago.
Ever since we have tried and learned to appreciate them even more. All it takes for us to do is learn to talk and treat them properly. Have you ever wondered why do Arabian horses have one less rib than other breeds? Probably not, but even so they do. We appreciate beautiful well taken care horses yet in order to make them even more handsome than they are we are the ones who should be taking care of them.
Once used to pull the chariots kings and emperors they can now make you feel like a king too helping you to explore nature either at gallop or at trot. Oh, you didn’t know that the only paces known by the horse are the following: walking, trotting, cantering and galloping? Walking comes to be considered a more natural and slow pace. Yet, if you enjoy experiencing strong sensations then you would prefer your horse to be either trotting, cantering or better galloping. So, which kind of person are you: one who loves routine or one who loves being shaken from its very roots?
No matter the answer to this question I have to say that I strongly agree to the following words uttered by an unknown author at some point “A horse is poetry in motion.” Or perhaps should I say “…a horse is the animal to have. Eleven-hundred pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs-it’s something you just can’t get from a pet hamster” as someone else once said, still unknown author. Do “horses lend us the wings we lack”? What do you think?
I think that they are just amazingly interesting animals and that indeed they can make one feel more powerful and relaxed. As a conclusion I dare you all those who can keep a poney or a horse and they do not have one yet to rush finding one. I would if only I had the proper place to keep a horse. Some say that life can be split in two: before and after riding. Is this your case too? If it is then a saddle and a horse, a handsome one too may be all you need around you to make you happy.11