World Horse Day, also known as horse protection day is May 1st and what better way to celebrate our hooved friends than to look at some fun facts that you may or may not know.
When we think of the American Spirit, it includes the horse; visions of cowboys, farms, horse racing and ponies comes forefront to mind. They are strong and powerful, yet majestic, intelligent and beautiful.
Horses are an icon of Freedom and have been man's best friend for centuries, carrying them cross-country, being their faithful comrades in battle, pulling the wagons that carried their families, their supplies and materials for their homesteads. Many families would not have had a home if it weren't for the tireless efforts of their horses, hauling hundreds of pounds of supplies and water back and forth for miles and weeks at a time.
With their gentle nature and deep emotional soul they offer friendship and help to heal people with disabilities and emotional distress and are often used for rehabilitation because they create such a strong bond between horse and rider and can rebuild trust and confidence in people that have been abused, have mental and physical disabilities, traumatic stress disorders and many other conditions.
There are also some fun facts about horses.
1. Did you know that a horse's eyes are among the largest of any land mammal, and are positioned on the sides of the head (that is, they are positioned laterally) This means horses have a range of vision of about 350°, with approximately 65° of this being binocular vision and the remaining 285° monocular vision.
This provides a horse with the best chance to spot predators. The horse's wide range of monocular vision has two "blind spots," or areas where the animal cannot see: in front of the face, making a cone that comes to a point at about 90–120 cm (3–4 ft) in front of the horse, and right behind its head, which extends over the back and behind the tail when standing with the head facing straight forward. Therefore, as a horse jumps an obstacle, it briefly disappears from sight right before the horse takes off.
Horses are not color blind, they have two-color or dichromatic vision. This means they distinguish colors in two wavelength regions of visible light, compared to the three-color trichromic vision of most humans. In other words, horses naturally see the blue and green colors of the spectrum and the color variations based upon them, but cannot distinguish red. Research indicates that their color vision is somewhat like red-green color blindness in humans, in which certain colors, especially red and related colors, appear greener.
2. Horses can sleep both lying down and standing up. The reason horses can sleep while standing up is because it allows them to quickly escape an attack by a predator. The method by which horses stand while sleeping is called the "stay apparatus" and it's a system of ligaments and tendons that keep them upright with relative ease.
3. There are about 75 million horses in the world and the fastest recorded sprinting speed of a horse was 55 mph!
4. The largest horse ever recorded was 7 feet 2.5 inches and 3,360 lbs and the smallest horse recorded was only 14 inches and 20 lbs.
Horses are truly amazing creatures and deserve to be celebrated!