One of our oldest friends, workers and pets, horses have been with mankind for thousands of years. Whether pulling our wagons or getting us from Point A to B, the horse is as much a part of the human fabric as apple pie. Today, though their necessity has been diminished with time, those statuesque creatures remain a pillar of American tradition. But what don’t we know about Horses? Below are some little-known facts about our four-legged friends that are sure to flip your lid.
Laughter: Though often mistaken for a hilarious attempt at a human smile, horses have a nasal technique called a flehmen response. By tilting their head and curling their lip, horses can direct the flow of air into their nasal passages and to a special set of olfactory glands. The flehmen response is more common in males than females, as it’s the primary way a male horse can determine if the female is in heat. Remember, the next time you see a horse smiling at you, they’re just giving you a whiff.
Eyes: Some say that horses have soulful eyes, and they wouldn’t be wrong. Staring into those nearly two-inch-wide eyes (largest of any land mammal), some say they find kinship. Over nine times the size of a human’s eye, legend states that horses can see objects “larger” than a human sees them. An explanation for why the smallest objects scare such a large creature. This, of course, is not true. Science tells us that a horse’s eye is rather advanced, though. With three eyelids designed to clean the eye and keep it free from dirt, their benefits don’t stop there. Without the ability to focus like a human eye, a horse’s is designed like bifocal lenses, where one portion can see at a distance and the other is better suited for closer objects.
Breeds: There are many different species of Horse, each with their own traits. With the advent of genetic science and cloning, crossbred horses are becoming a regular occurrence. Whether part zebra, donkey, or pony, these combinations create hilariously adorable mishmashes of each component with adorably apt names like “Zonky” or “Hebra.” However, on the other end of the spectrum runs what some consider to be the purest of all horse breeds. The Arabian horse, bred in the desert for thousands of years by horse nomads, is thought by many to be not only the most beautiful, but powerful. Years of proper breeding may have left the Arabian horse apart from its equine brothers, evidenced by their skeletal structure being almost completely different, they are amazingly strong. Able to run 100 miles without rest or water, the Arabian horse is truly a wonder.