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Learning The Why of Horses
 By Winniefield Park   •   21st Nov 2018   •   341 views   •   0 comments
There is so much to learn about horses. Truly, you could spend your whole life studying them and still need a few more lives to cover even a fraction. For example here are a few questions that start with

Why...



Don't Horses Have Gallbladders
One of the differences between the horse and human digestive system is that humans have a gallbladder and horses do not. This has to do with the amount of fat in a horseís diet, which compared to ours is very little. Our gallbladders release something called bile into our digestive tract which helps break down any fats we eat. If we didn't have a gallbladder, we would get a gut ache every time we ate fat. But there is very little fat in a horse diet and what there is can be handled by the liver. This is also why you shouldnít start just adding a large amount of oil into your horseís diet, but add it in gradually, so the liver can get used to the idea.

Donít Get Frostbite Easily
Horses do get frostbite, but itís really rare. Ear tips and other tender fleshy areas can become frostbitten in extreme cold. A human is in danger of frostbite if they are exposed to temperatures anywhere below freezing if they donít take care to protect themselves. But most horses can survive incredibly cold temperatures as long as they have lots to eat and drink and they are healthy in the first place. A horse can stand in the snow for days and not be affected by frostbite. This is because there is little tissue other than muscle, tendons and ligaments and bone in the lower leg of a horse. There is less blood flow, which means less heat loss. Another function called shunting pulls blood away from extremities and helps prevent frostbite.

Horses Donít Sit
Horses instinctively keep themselves out of positions that would make them easy prey. If they lie down, they only do so when they feel very safe. If they rest, they do so on their feet, locking their legs so they donít topple over. Sitting would be a very awkward position to get out of if they wanted to make a quick getaway. So while they can be taught to sit, they wonít do it naturally.

Donít Wild Horses Need Trims and Shoes
Wild horses travel long distances in the search for food, water, and shelter, sometimes travelling up to thirty or forty miles in the course of the day. Walking over stone and dirt will wear their hooves down and no trims are required. Our own horses travel very little and often when they do, itís on soft grass or sand. So itís necessary to have our horses trimmed every six or seven weeks. There is a combination of reasons why our horses need shoes and wild horses donít. Some domestic horses have punky feet that need protection. A wild horse with punky feet would probably become dinner for some predator. A horse that is ridden or driven may travel over much different terrain than a wild horse - such as pavement or rock hard trails. Horses such as combined driving horses, eventers and jumpers may need extra traction and protection that shoes provide.

Horses Sleep With Their Eyes or Eye Open
Horses can sleep with both eyes open, or half-closed or one eye closed. It will depend on how deeply the horse is sleeping. If your horse is in a light doze, its eyes may be still open. If it is sleeping deeply, it will have its eyes closed. This means that if your horseís posture suggests its sleeping, it probably is, and you will want to approach carefully so you donít startle it.

Do Old Paintings Of Galloping Horses Show All Four Legs in the Air
Old hunting prints, paintings and other art and illustrations depict horses at the gallop completely stretched out, so it appears the horse is completely suspended in air with all four legs outstretched. This is because the leg action of a galloping horse is too fast for the human eye to see. Artists had to guess how the legs moved. It wasnít until Eadweard Muybridge, in the late 1880s, was able to capture photos of a galloping horse with a series of cameras, that the mystery of the leg movement of a fast moving horse was solved.
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