Comparing Horses to Humans
 By Winniefield Park   •   8th Jan 2016   •   1,207 views   •   0 comments
Comparing Horses to Humans

When you try to compare a human body to a horse body, there are some really obvious similarities. But not all body parts are completely analogous. Hereís a look at some ways we differ from horses.

Who Has More Bones
You would think because a horse is bigger, it would have more bones. Not so, they have one less than our 206. The donít have a collar bone. Our collarbone provides a support from our upper body so our arms can hang. A horseís front legs are attached to its spinal frame by muscles, tendons and ligaments. This is pretty remarkable considering that a horse carries a little less than ⅔ of its weight on its forequarters.

Heart to Heart
Our hearts function a little differently than horses. If youíre a sprinter, or any other racer you probably wish you had a heart like a horse. Thatís because a horseís heart rate can accelerate much faster than a humanís and other organs give it a bit of help in providing oxygenated blood throughout its body. A horseís heart looks like ours, although larger, but itís in the type of muscle fiber and how those fibers are activated that the differences lie. A horseís spleen also stores extra red blood cells that are released when a horse takes flight. Humans try to mimic this function by Ďblood dopingí or injecting oxygenated blood into their bloodstream before a sporting event to boost performance.

That Knee Isnít a Knee
Look at any points of the horse picture and youíll see, about half way down, a joint labeled as the knee. It looks a bit like a human knee, and even appears to bend like a knee. But it isnít actually a knee at all. Our knees move rather like hinges and is the meeting point of four bones: the femur, tibia, fibula, and patella all topped off by a cartilage knee cap. A horseís knee moves much the same, but itís made of several small bones all bound by muscles, ligaments and tendons. And, a horse has no knee cap. These knee bones are actually more similar to our wrist. From the Ďkneeí down, the bones in a horseís legs are similar to our hands and fingers.

And you might think that the hocks on the back legs are similar to knees, but again, they are more similar to ankles then knees. The joint that most resembles a human knee is the stifle joint which is a large joint between a bone similar to our thigh bone, and the tibia that extends down to the hock.

Dual Duty Eyes
Horses see differently than we do. And I donít mean when we see a mailbox and they see a horse meat munching monster. Horses have both binocular and monocular vision. We have only binocular vision, meaning we canít separate what our eyes see, unless we cover up one eye. Even then, because our eyes are on the front of our heads, our field of vision, except for the outside peripheral is very similar in both eyes. This is good for focusing on one thing, like predators must. But a horse can process different images from both eyes.

If you or I are looking straight forward, itís easy for someone to sneak up from behind unseen. But, because a horseís eyes are on the side of the head, their field of vision is much wider than ours. And they can see further than we can. A horse can look straight ahead, using binocular vision too. If your horse has its head up and ears pricked forward, itís using both eyes to focus on something ahead of it.

Agile Ears
Some people can move their ears. There are three muscles around our ears and if you can isolate the ones behind and above your ears, you may be able to make your ears wiggle. Most of us canít, or only can with lots of practice. Because we donít have this ability, we turn our heads to focus on a sound. Horses however have ten muscles that can be used to swivel their ears front to back and side to side. By moving only its ears, a horse can focus on a sound. And of course, horseís communicate with their ears. Thatís something we definitely canít do. Not only can we read the mood of our horse by how it's holding its ears, studies have shown that other horses can tell what itís thinking or what it is looking at.
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