How Much Does an Average Horse Weigh

The average weight of a horse is 1,100 pounds.

There are, however, 400+ different breeds of horses that are recognized to some extent in the world today. Each of these breeds has its own average weight to it as well, which means some horses may weigh more or less than 1,100 pounds and this would be considered completely normal.

For most adult horses, the weight range is generally somewhere between 840 pounds to 2,200 pounds. 

How to Figure Out How Much a Horse Weighs

There are several different ways to determine how much a specific horse actually weighs. Of course the ideal method of figuring out how much a horse weighs is to use a scale. Unfortunately, the cost of horse scales is prohibitive, so being able to access them can be somewhat difficult.

For this reason, the easiest way for many owners to weigh their horse is to use a public weigh bridge. Most communities have at least one bridge that can be accessed. You will find them at landfills, junkyards, scrap yards, and similar locations. Contact the facility, tell them what you’re wanting to do, and make sure you have time to unload the horse from its trailer.

Take the trailer with the horse onto the public weigh bridge and have the facilitator get the weight reading. Then pull off to the side, unload the horse, and have the trailer weighed once again. This will give you an accurate weight for the horse.

If you’re confident in your knowledge of the trailer weight because you have the equipment specifications in front of you, then you can just weigh the horse and trailer together. Then subtract the specification weight of the trailer from the figure you are given to figure out the weight of your horse.

You also have these additional options available to you if you need to figure out the specific weight of a horse.

#1. Use the height/girth formula. 

This formula can give you a fairly accurate estimate of a horse’s weight. You’ll just need a measuring tape and this specific formula: (Girth)2 x Length divided by 11,877. This will give you a weight in kilograms. Use the measuring tape to determine the girth and length and then plug in those figures. Length is measured from the shoulder to the point of the hind quarters. All measurements should be in centimeters.

#2. Use weigh tape. 

Weigh tapes are considered to be about 90% accurate. Most tapes are double-sided, allowing you to measure weights for ponies and adult horses. Have your horse stand square on a surface that is flat and level. Place the tape over the lowest part of the withers, then draw the tape around the horse so that it sits close to the front angles. There should be a slight angle from the top of the tape to the withers. Keep the tape close to the body, but not tight. Then take the reading and follow the instructions of the manufacturer to determine the weight.

#3. Use a basic guideline. 

This is the most inaccurate of the three methods to obtain the weight of a horse because it is based on averages. By looking at the height of the horse in hands and then looking at the type of the horse it happens to be, you can estimate its current weight. There are several guideline weight charts that are available online with a simple web search. This method is not generally useful for mixed breed horses that are of different types, such as a draught horse and an Arabian.

Interesting Facts About Horse Weights

  • The smallest horse in the world weighs just 9 pounds.
  • The heaviest horse in the world is a Shire horse named Sampson. He was foaled in 1846 and had a documented weight of 3,360 pounds.
  • There are several Shire and Clydesdale horses in the world today that are documented as weighing between 2,900-3,100 pounds.
  • The head of the horse is responsible for 10% of its total body weight.
  • You can tell if a foal is healthy because it will be about 10% of the total weight of its mother.
  • For a horse to be able to maintain a healthy body weight, it needs about 1-2% of its weight in feed every day. For a 3,000-pound horse, that would mean needing to eat up to 60 pounds of feed, even during periods of inactivity.

Why Is It So Important to Know the Average Weight of a Horse?

In horses, there are several potentially serious health conditions that are associated with obesity. There are also health concerns that occur if a horse is chronically underweight. In several recent surveys that were reported by thehorse.com, about half of all horses are considered to be overweight or obese, even though they are considered to be riding horses.

The most common reason for obesity is due to overfeeding. Some horses will eat way more than they should, but there is also a certain responsibility to the owners for limiting additional feed and ensuring horses like this get the exercise that they need.

If obesity is not addressed, a common condition called “laminitis” can occur in horses. This condition is an inflammation of blood vessels within the hoof. It is painful for the horse and can be life-threatening if it is left untreated. The tissues of the foot degrade and can cause the coffin bone to rotate downward in the foot, causing it to protrude through the sole of the hoof.

Insulin resistance is another common issue in horses that struggle with obesity. It is a condition that causes extreme changes in the blood glucose of the horse in a way that is similar to Type 2 Diabetes in humans. Frequent peaks of blood glucose in horses can lead to a greater risk of obesity, so a diet that is low in starches and sugars can help to reduce body weight, as can frequent exercise.

Maintaining high glucose concentrations can also damage blood vessels, the pancreas, and even lead to gangrene.

Lipomas, or fatty tumors that develop on horses that are elderly and obese, can result in colic because they often attach themselves to the mesentery of the intestines. Heat tolerance is also affected by obesity.

Being chronically underweight is also problematic for horses. Horses that are underweight are often under high levels of stress, either from activities, nutrition, or both. Parasites may also be responsible for a horse that is chronically underweight, which would cause a lack of nutrition being absorbed from the feed.

Horses that have poor dental health are also at-risk of being chronically underweight.

Being underweight can also lead to added risks of colic or choking. It may lead to ulcer development within the stomach, especially in older horses. The lack of nutrition may also weaken the immune system of the horse, which could lead to greater disease susceptibility from a long-term perspective.

How to Determine if You Have the Right Horse for Your Needs

Knowing the average weight of a horse can help you to know if the horse can meet your personal needs. Excluding ponies, pony-style adult horses, and miniature horses, this formula can help you to know if your horse is of the proper size.

  1. Add up the weight of the tack, rider, and horse. In this example, let’s say that the horse weighs 1,100 pounds, the rider weighs 150 pounds, and tack weighs 45 pounds. This gives us a total of 1,295 pounds.
  2. Measure the circumference of the cannon bone. You’ll want to take the measurement midway between the fetlock and the knee. In this example, let’s say that we get a measurement of 8.5 inches.
  3. Now divide the total weight by the circumference. This means we will need to divide 1,295 by 8.5. This will give us an answer of 152.35 rounded.
  4. Now we need to divide this result by two. If we divide 152.35 in half, we receive a rounded answer of 76.18.

In this formula, you will want to have a value answer fall between 75-80. If your value ends up being over 80, then it indicates that the horse has weaker legs and will struggle with slopes. If the value is between 70-75, then it means you have slightly more horse for your needs than is necessary, but it should still work out for you. Values below 70 can indicate that the horse is too big for your current needs.

How much does an average horse weigh? When all breeds are considered, the answer hovers around 1,100 pounds. When specific breeds are considered, however, the actual answer can vary greatly. By understanding what the horse needs to be healthy, including any specific nutritional medical needs, then you can work with your horse to make sure it maintains an optimal weight throughout its life.

If you have any questions about the weight of your horse and if any care adjustments may be necessary, it is a good idea to contact your local veterinarian for a consultation.

How to Put Reins on a Horse

If you want to be able to ride a horse, then knowing how to put on the reins is an essential skill that must be learned. Of course learning how to put reins on a horse is not a standard life skill that everyone needs to know, but it will help you to avoid embarrassment if a time comes when you do decide to take a ride down the trail.

Putting on the reins means being able to put on the bridle. This is the equipment you will be using to direct and lead the horse. There are leather or nylon straps that will go around the muzzle and head of the horse. You will also have the bit that the horse must accept into the mouth, which will sit behind the teeth. The reins will attach to the bit.

Here are the steps that you will want to follow.

#1a. Get the horse comfortable. 

An anxious horse is not going to accept the bit very well. You may need to tie the horse to a hitching post or keep them in their stable while beginning this process. Pet the horse for some added calm, being as confident as possible while you make your approach. If you’re nervous about putting reins on a horse, then the horse is going to be nervous about you. It helps to pet the horse on the muzzle as this will cause most horses to naturally lower their heads, making it easier to get the reins on. 

#1b. Inspect your equipment. 

Knowing how to put reins on a horse means being able to identify when your equipment is not suitable for use. Inspect the reins, the bridle, the bit, and any other equipment that you will be using. In leather reins, look for excessive cracking and fraying that indicate long-term wear. For nylon reins, look for fiber fraying, discoloration, and looseness within the material weave. Never use equipment that you feel could put you or the horse at a safety risk during a ride. 

#2. Put the bit into the mouth. 

The bit needs to be placed after the canine teeth in the horse’s mouth, but before the rear molars. This area is called “interdental space” and the bit will fit comfortably there. Encourage the horse to open its mouth by placing your thumb in this open space from the side of the mouth. Don’t worry – even if the horse tries to bite, there are no teeth there than can chomp you. Gently guide the bit over the front teeth, careful not to make contact with them, and allow the bit to sit where it is designed to work.

#3. Slide the bridle into place. 

Once you’ve successfully put the bit into its place, you’re ready to finish putting on the bridle. The crown of the bridle will slip up and over the head of the horse, going behind the ears. You should have a strap come across the forehead, just underneath the ears. If there is a harness on the horse, the bridle will go on top of it. Horses are very sensitive about their ears, so bring the bridle up and over them one ear at a time. You can fold the ears backward or forward for placement, but encourage ear movement gently.

A helpful tip: If you begin to slip the bridle up and over the ears and the horse is twitching the ears back and forth, this is generally an indication that the horse is either irritated with your actions or in distress for some reason. Before continuing, check to make sure the bit is placed properly and not bumping into any teeth. Check the tightness of the harness if it is on as well. If everything checks out, pet the horse on the muzzle once again to help establish some extra calmness before continuing.

 

#4. Attach the reins if they are not already in place. 

Once the bit is in place and the harness has been tightened, you’re ready to attach the reins. There are rings, holders, or other points of attachment that will be at the sides of the bit. Look for where the material of the bridle connects to the ends of the bit and then hook the reins into that spot. Then make one last check to make sure everything is in its proper place.

#5. Check on the tightness of the bridle. 

Horses respond to the pressure that you place on the bit through the reins. This is how you communicate to the horse that you want to speed up, slow down, or make a turn in a specific direction. There needs to be pressure placed at the point where the bit meets the harness with the reins, but you don’t want too much pressure. You can somewhat tell what the horse is experiencing by looking at home much mouth movement you receive with the bit in place.

A tighter bridle and bit is going to move upward in the interdental space, causing wrinkles near the mouth and muzzle. Look at the corner of the horse’s mouth. If there are no wrinkles in place, then the bit might be a little too loose. If you have more than two wrinkles there, then the bit might be a little too tight.

Tightness can equal discomfort. If the horse is twitchy, has more movement than normal, or you’re receiving a lot of ear action, then there’s a good chance that the bridle is not placed where the horse likes it. You may need to start over from step #1 to correct this situation.

#6. Finish getting the horse ready to ride. 

Now you’re ready to put on your saddle pad or blanket, the saddle itself, and whatever other equipment and tack that you might need for your ride. Loop the reins over the horn of the saddle once you have it in place so they don’t get dragged through the muck. Once everything is in place, you’re ready to hop into the saddle and enjoy a ride.

One more helpful tip: At this point, if your horse has been connected to a hitching post, you’ll want to disconnect. You can do this by removing the harness from underneath the bridle, though a better option is to leave the harness on and just remove the rope that connects the horse to the post.

Knowing how to put reins on a horse may be a fairly basic skill, but it is one that we all need to learn if we’re going to ride a horse. Follow these steps, be confident in your abilities, and you’ll be able to look like you’ve been doing this for years – even if it is your first time.

15 Amazing Seabiscuit Horse Facts

Foaled in Lexington Kentucky, Seabiscuit was first introduced to the world in 1933. His sire was Hard Tack and his grandfather was Man o’ War. His mare was Swing On. He was given the name from a reference to his father’s name, as hardtack is a sea biscuit, or cracker, that was eaten by sailors at the time.

He grew up during the Great Depression, a thoroughbred that was knobby-kneed and undersized. During his younger years, he was prone to long sleeping sessions. He would also feed longer than other horses. Many believed that he was too lazy of a horse to become a racing horse. Over his lifetime, however, he would prove his critics wrong, becoming the US horse of the year in 1938 and one of the industry’s most unlikely champions.

Here are some more interesting Seabiscuit horse facts to help you get to know this famous horse a little bit better.

#1. Seabiscuit lost all of his initial races. 

Seabiscuit was looked over in favor of Omaha by Wheatley Stables and trainer James Fitzsimmons. They saw some potential in the horse, but felt like he wasn’t really up to a full slate of championship training. This meant racing a heavy schedule of small races. Seabiscuit would rack up a record of 0-17 to begin his career, often finishing near the back of the field. It would lead to jokes about his ability to perform.

#2. By the time he was two, he had won five races and finished in second 7 times. 

As a two-year-old horse, Seabiscuit already had 35 races under his belt. That was a heavy racing schedule, even during this period of time. But after losing his first 17 races, he began to show his true potential. He set a new track record during a race at Narragansett Park and had a top 2 finish in three claiming races, where someone could have purchased him for $2,500. No one took the gamble.

#3. Seabiscuit’s last two victories as a 2-year-old were minor stakes races. 

His stable and trainer might have considered him to be reaching his full racing potential, but Seabiscuit was hardly a poorly performing horse in the initial stages of his career. The last two victories he earned as a 2-year-old were minor stakes races, giving him some additional attention on the racing circuit and the industry itself.

#4. Seabiscuit was purchased for $8,000 in 1936. 

In his first 12 races as a 3-year-old, Seabiscuit encountered a similar pattern to winning and losing. He won 4 of his racing, but also averaged 3 different races per month at the time. One of the races where Seabiscuit competed was an allowance race in June of 1936. Tom Smith first spotted Seabiscuit in that race and it offered Charles Howard an opportunity to purchase him. The transaction would be completed in August of that year.

#5. A different training method changed everything for Seabiscuit. 

Tom Smith would be assigned as the new trainer for Seabiscuit and his methods helped to encourage the athleticism of the horse. Pairing him with a jockey that was experienced with Mexican and Western racing, Seabiscuit would win several of his final races in 1936, including the $7,300 Scarsdale Handicap in Yonkers.

#6. At one stretch in 1937, Seabiscuit went 5-for-5 in stakes racing. 

Between late June and early August, Seabiscuit ran a series of grueling stakes races and wound up winning them all. Each victory occurred under increasing handicap weights. In total, Seabiscuit won 11 of the 15 races he entered in 1937 and wound up being the leading money winner in the United States despite War Admiral winning the Triple Crown that season.

#7. Seabiscuit disliked heavy ground. 

Seabiscuit was a finicky racer. He really didn’t like heavy ground, especially with the weight that he carried. He was forced to race on a heavy track in 1936 and struggled to finish third in that race. In 1937-1938, Seabiscuit was scratched from major races that were deemed to be too heavy for him, which prevented a much anticipated race between War Admiral and him from occurring for quite some time. 

#8. Pimlico Race Course held the Match of the Century. 

November 1, 1938 would finally bring War Admiral and Seabiscuit together. Trains came in from all over the United States, with an unprecedented 40,000 people attending the race at the time. The radio audience for this race was estimated to be 40 million people. War Admiral was given 1-4 odds by most bookmakers and was a nearly unanimous pick to win. The distance was 1.91 kilometers and despite War Admiral setting a personal best in that distance, Seabiscuit would end up winning the race by 4 lengths. This led to him being named the Horse of the Year and being the #1 newsmaker in the country.

#9. A 1939 race brought about a devastating injury. 

During a race in 1939, Seabiscuit managed to rupture the suspensory ligament in his front left leg. It was an injury which required extensive rehabilitation for the horse, including the need to relearn how to walk. Red Pollard, who had been Seabiscuit’s jockey for most races after Howard’s purchase of the horse, had also broken his leg around the same time. A common joke was that between jockey and horse, they had “four good legs” in which to race. 

#10. In 1940, Seabiscuit would finally win the one race that eluded him. 

The Santa Anita handicap, a race worth $125,000 and called “the Hundred Grander,” has been the nemesis of Seabiscuit. He’d come close to winning it in the past, but never crossed in first. After losing his first comeback race after the injury, it seemed like 1940 would be a repeat of the past. After being blocked from the start and trapped in third near the end of the race, Pollard brought Seabiscuit between the leaders and surged into the leading, winning by a length and a half over his stablemate Kayak II. The win was so thrilling for the onlookers that they stormed the track, making it impossible for anyone to reach the winner’s enclosure.

#11. On April 10, 1940, Seabiscuit would end up retiring. 

At the time of his retirement, the “lazy” horse that was not expected to perform would be horse racing’s all-time leading money winner. He would be put out to stud for the remainder of his life, siring a total of 108 foals. His continuing legacy, however, has not been spectacular. Only Sea Sovereign and Sea Swallow have seen moderate levels of racing success as his offspring.

#12. More than 50,000 people would visit Seabiscuit during retirement. 

Seabiscuit was a popular tourist attraction at Ridgewood Ranch, where he retired. His popularity continues to this day, with several books and movies written about his story. The movie Seabiscuit in 2003 was even nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. Two other films, including one starring Shirley Temple, were also made to tell the story of this horse.

#13. Seabiscuit was voted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1958. 

In 1999, the Top 100 racehorses in the United States throughout the 20th century were ranked. Seabiscuit was ranked 25th. War Admiral, the horse that Seabiscuit defeated by 4 lengths, was ranked 13th. Man o’ War, Seabiscuit’s grandfather, was ranked #1. It should be noted that War Admiral was also a sire of Man o’ War, which would make him an “uncle” to Seabiscuit.

#14. Seabiscuit finished with a career record of 33 wins in 89 starts. 

He would also finish with 15 seconds and 13 thirds. His total career earnings were $437,730, punctuated with the win at the Santa Anita Handicap in 1940 as his last race. For a horse that was shopped around in claiming races early in his career and the subject of stable jokes for his 0-17 start, Seabiscuit finished his career in a completely dominant way – even though he sometimes lost to unknown horses at the time. 

#15. Seabiscuit died at a very young age. 

Many horses today live well into their 20s and 30s, even racing thoroughbreds. Seabiscuit, however, died just 6 days of his 14th birthday. Although the cause of death is not known, it is believed that he suffered a heart attack in May of 1947. He was buried at Willits Ranch in California. Visitors can still visit the ranch. Walking tours are available to see his stall, the uniform his jockey wore, and other racing memorabilia. A statute was installed at the location in 2007 to commemorate his accomplishment. 

These Seabiscuit horse facts show that great champions can come from unexpected places. Being the underdog is just one reason why this thoroughbred was able to make such a long-lasting impression on the American public. His story will continue to be told, proving that you can start 0-17 and still be voted into the Hall of Fame. 

How to Teach a Horse to Lay Down

One of the most common mistakes handlers make when trying to teach a horse to lay down is that they attempt to force the horse into a prone position. Attempting to create domination will only create resistance. In order for this process to work, you must have an established relationship with the horse.

There are some additional factors that will also help you be able to teach your horse this skill. Make sure you have the following before beginning.

  • An enclosed area with soft footing. You wouldn’t want to lie down on a bunch of sharp pebbles. Your horse will not want to begin the learning process until there is a certain level of comfort within their environment.
  • A large enough area. Horses don’t like to lie down in areas that seem too small or confining. You’ll need to make sure that you have enough room to move away from the horse as well, just in case there are a few flying hooves.
  • A halter. Web halters are useful for stubborn horses who respond to a greater amount of pressure. Horses that are not as stubborn can successfully learn to lie down using a rope halter. Make sure that you have lead ropes, support boots or wraps, and a back cinch as well. 

You will also want to have patience available in a large amount for this exercise. You’re asking the horse to put itself into a very vulnerable position. It takes time for a horse to accept this as something that is “normal” to do.

Now You’re Ready to Get the Exercise Started

To get started, you’ll want to saddle the horse, putting the halter and one of the lead ropes on as well. The stand in front of the horse, putting pressure on the lead rope. This is asking the horse to begin backing up. Most horses are comfortable doing this, but if yours is not, you may need to spend the first day of training on this one step alone.

Do not proceed until your horse is comfortable with a command to back up. The horse should be backing up with the head down and the nose tucked towards the chest. If the head stays up while backing up, then it will be physically difficult for the horse to lie down. 

Now you’ll want to bring the lead rope that’s on the side away from you back to your side. Run it along the back of the horn on the saddle. Then stand next to the stirrup, putting pressure on the lead rope. The horse needs to keep backing up with the nose tucked toward the chest. When the horse takes a step backward, then release the pressure.

Some horses will try to turn instead of backing up. Stick by the horse and maintain the pressure until you receive the intended results. Keep practicing until you can get several steps backward in a row.

The Next Step: Getting the Hobble Right

At this point, you’re ready to begin the hobble. You’ll want to hobble the horse around the pastern, using the front leg on the side you happen to be on. Support boots or wraps are useful here. Make sure the hobble is snug because many horses like to yank their foot out. Now attach the second lead rope to the hobble, having it draped around the front of the horn so the tail of it is on the same side as you. Then let the horse get used to the feeling of the hobble.

This will allow you to begin training the cue to lie down for the horse. Most horses are comfortable with a shoulder tap, which is useful since you may need the horse to lie down while riding. Tap on the spot and then ask the horse to pick up the front foot. Use the lead rope attached to the hobble so the horse has added support. When you receive the behavior, release the pressure. 

Make sure you tap the spot you’ve chosen every time you ask for the foot to be raised. This will help the behavior to be learned with greater speed.

Once the foot can be brought up consistently and tucked next to the belly, you’re ready to keep going. Ask the horse to shift the weight backwards once again. Once the movement begins, release any pressure. Move toward touching the bent leg to the ground. Make sure to reward the horse frequently and be extra patient here as this is usually the most unnerving step for the horse.

Ask for Extended Periods of Down Time Over the Next 48 Hours

Once the horse becomes comfortable with a knee on the ground, ask the horse to stay in this position for longer periods of time. Remember to continuing guiding the front leg back to a normal position since a horse rising on three legs instead of four can create dangerous circumstances for both of you. The goal here is to reach 15-20 minutes of down time without causing distress.

When a horse reaches this stage, you will want to work on laying the horse down three times in the morning and three times in the evening for about 7-10 days. This will establish the behavior as a habit and help the horse become more comfortable with what you are asking to receive. If at any time you sense discomfort, stop the exercise and reset from the beginning.

Once you can pass this stage with your horse where laying down is no longer awkward or uncomfortable, you’re ready to begin teaching the behavior without the hobble. Some horses will immediately respond to the cues that have been taught in the past couple of weeks. A few might just lie down immediately on the tap. Others are going to be stubborn and look at you like, “You want me to do what now?”

Repeat the training steps, but without the hobble. Readily reward the horse every time there is a step backward or a shift in weight backward or toward the ground.

A Few Final Tips to Consider When Teaching a Horse to Lie Down

  • Keep things light, fun, and relaxing. You’re working on your relationship.
  • Stay behind the horse during any attempt to lie down.
  • Don’t get tangled in the legs at all. Any discomfort in this area may cause the horse to refuse to lie down in the future.
  • Never try to hold the horse down. Give yourself some distance in case the horse pops back up to the feet rapidly.

Knowing how to teach a horse to lay down can make it much easier for riders to get into and out of the saddle, especially if the rider has a physical disability. This training process may take some time, but you and the horse will have fun doing it the right way and your relationship will be deeper because of these efforts.
 

How to Desensitize a Horse

Some horses seem to be able to handle any situation they face with relative calm. Then there are some horses who seem to get spooked when the wind blows a little stronger than expected. Every horse, even those who seem relatively calm, can benefit from training that helps to desensitize them from their fears.

The first step in knowing how to desensitize a horse is to form a relationship with the animal. You need to be able to understand the fears and anxiety that the horse faces. Once you can recognize what triggers the animal’s flight-or-fight mechanism, you can begin to work on the skills required to calm the horse down.

Once you’ve built up that relationship, you’ll be ready to take on these additional steps.

#1. Start from the ground up.

If your horse is afraid of deep or moving water, you wouldn’t just throw the animal into a raging river and hope for the best. You’d slowly introduce the elements of water to the horse one step at the time.

You might start with an introduction to the sound of rushing water. The noise of water movement may be the initial trigger for the horse’s anxiety. You’d then continue with the daily introduction of this sound until the horse became familiar with it without a negative reaction.

Then you might take the horse to the rushing water just so it can be viewed.

It might take a few minutes for a horse to grow comfortable with the obstacles that trigger anxiety. You don’t want to let them run away from it. You want to use your relationship with the horse to support the animal. Be there by their side and work to keep the adrenaline levels down. That will boost the learning success you’ll experience later on.

#2. Add pressure to all aspects of the horse’s body.

Horses often associate pressure with support. It’s sort of like how you feel when you’re having a bad day and get a hug from someone you care about. The pressure of the hug lets the brain reset so you can think outside of the stress that has been affecting you. The same reaction occurs with a horse.

The only problem is that you can’t really give a horse a whole body hug on your own. What you can do is work on desensitizing one area of the horse’s body at a time.

It usually works best to work from the ground up. Give him a good rub. Use various objects that make different sounds. Let the horse experience the different ways that things might rub up against its body and make sure the horse can hear the various sounds. Tarps, plastic bags, inflatables – they all can help to desensitize the horse.

Be patient with each object. You want the horse to be able to accept each different feeling before you move onto the next one.

#3. Ride through the fear.

Once you’ve given the horse an opportunity to experience different sensations, it’s time to put that resiliency to the test. You’ve introduced the various anxiety triggers to the horse. You’ve shown the horse that different sensations might happen, but that safety has always been present. Now you’re ready to give the horse a chance to ride through its fear.

Go easy at first. Some horses can have a rather short memory. They might balk at the idea of even walking toward a river, much less think about standing next to one. If you’re working on obstacles, take it slow and ride over them at a pace that seems comfortable for the horse.

After the first couple of times, try to increase the difficulty for the horse a little bit. Go faster. Stay longer. Jump higher. Sometimes the horse may refuse. You might see some anxiety begin to return. That’s when it’s time to take a break and play one of your horse’s favorite games.

Then return to the anxiety triggers. This may take several minutes, several hours, or several days depending on the level of fear the horse experiences. Once you feel that the horse has become comfortable with what you’re asking, then it is time to go to the next step. 

#4. Advance the technique.

One of the best tools that you can use to desensitize a horse is a smoke bomb. Here’s why smoke bombs are effective, no matter what the anxiety trigger may be.

  • It teaches the horse that it must be able to trust you as the rider because it may not be able to see where you want it to go.
  • The sound of a smoke bomb can sometimes be startling, which can help you measure how effective your training has been so far.
  • Smoke bombs are relatively inexpensive.

Start with two smoke bombs and place them far apart from each other. Then walk the horse through the smoke until it begins to relax. Then place the next set of smoke bombs closer to each other and repeat. Keep going until the horse stays relaxed no matter how thick the smoke happens to be.

You might find that some horses may refuse to even try walking through the smoke. This isn’t because the horse is demanding control. When there is an anxiety trigger, some horses prefer to bolt. Others prefer to stop and refuse to move.

If your horse refuses to move, then the best tactic to take is to re-establish the benefits of your relationship with the animal. Use a long and comfortable lead to show the horse that there is nothing to fear. Walk through the smoke with the horse instead of riding through it at first.

And if your horse is a bit unruly, having a rope that won’t tear up your hands or wearing a pair of gloves is a definite necessity. 

#5. Create your own obstacles without the horse knowing.

Ever had one of those curious horses who always seemed to be peering over your shoulder? That kind of behavior can actually be a symptom of fear. The horse wants to know what you’re doing to make sure that they can stay safe.

Once you’ve reached this step, the horse you’ve been working with has come to expect a certain routine. It knows what you’re going to do and where you’re going to go, so it can prepare for the events of the day ahead of time.

That really isn’t true desensitization.

So at this stage, you’ll want to begin building your own obstacles. Use items that you know could be a potential stress trigger for the horse. Create a short course that you can take with the horse that includes loud sounds, flares, smoke, and other items and then ride through it with the horse.

You may find the horse doesn’t want to go through some obstacles. If that is the case, don’t allow the horse to inspect the obstacle this time around. You want the horse to be able to handle the unexpected.

If your horse goes through with flying colors, then you’ve successfully desensitized the horse. If not, rearrange your course so that the route is different. The obstacles will still be familiar, but because the route is different, you can work on reducing the triggers that may be causing anxiety.

#6. Then pair up the horse with a coaching horse.

Horses are social creatures. They feed off of the attitudes and energy of the other horses that are around them. If you have a horse that is relatively calm in almost any situation, then consider using that horse as a coaching animal for the horse you’re attempting to desensitize.

The calming presence of the coaching horse will naturally ease the anxiety the other horse is experiencing. Horses also have a herd mentality, so when it is you, them, and another horse, there are natural defense mechanisms of herd thinking that can come into play. This can allow you to teach the skills to the horse that you want it to have. 

As a final step, you will want to focus on your own attitudes and mannerisms. If you are impatient, then the horse will be impatient. If you become angry, then the horse may experience an anxiety trigger. Keep all of your movements as controlled and relaxed as you possibly can. Be calm, but also be authoritative in a positive way. In doing so, you will be showing the horse that everything will be okay, even if it seems like nothing will be okay in that very moment. 

Horses are amazing creatures with an incredible ability to adapt. If you give a horse the skills it needs to handle a potentially scary situation, then it will take care of you to the very best of its ability. Knowing how to desensitize a horse properly will help to give the animal the skills that it needs. Follow these steps and the two of you will be able to get to work right away. 

13 Fun Morgan Horse Facts

The Morgan horse is one of the first breeds that was developed in the United States. They have often been used throughout history as a coach horse, a general riding animal, and were even used as war horses during the US Civil War. Numerous breeds have influenced Morgans, including the American Quarter Horse, the Standardbred, and the Tennessee Walking Horse.

There are currently more than 175,000 Morgan horses that are known to live around the world. Here are some interesting Morgan horse facts that can help you get to know this breed on a more personal level.

#1. Morgans are incredibly versatile horses. 

Morgan horses are often used in both Western and English riding disciplines. This versatility is not seen in the breed standards, however, as there is just one official breed standard no matter what the bloodline or the discipline of the horse may be. They are compact horses, refined, and generally black, bay, or chestnut in coloration.

#2. The foundation sire had its name changed. 

The foundation sire for Morgans was originally named Figure. Figure was born in Massachusetts in 1789 and was believed to be sired by an English Thoroughbred. His name was eventually changed to Justin Morgan to honor the owner that helped to establish the breed. Figure would be owned by several different individuals over his lifetime, often working as a stud to pay off debts.

Despite the extensive use as a breeding stallion, records exist for only 6 of his sons. Half of them would be included as foundation bloodstock for Morgans.

#3. There are four bloodline groups within the Morgan Breed. 

There are also smaller subfamilies, but the primary bloodlines are referred to as Lippitt, Government, Brunk, and Western Working. Each family can trace their bloodlines back to certain breeding programs that existed in the 1800s and 1900s.

One of these breeding programs still exists today. The Government family is currently owned by the University of Vermont, which took control of the lineage after the US Government stopped their involvement through the USDA.

#4. The American Morgan Horse Association was founded in 1909. 

It was initially named the Morgan Horse Club. In its early days, like with many other US-based breeds, there was a great debate about whether to have the stud book be open or closed. Beginning in 1948, the stud book was declared closed to any outside blood. It would not be until 1985 when agreements between the US association and the Canadian association allowed for reciprocity. A similar agreement with UK Morgans was signed in 1990.

#5. There are multiple types of Morgan associations. 

Morgans are an average size of horse, often reaching 14.2-16 hands in size. Not every Morgan reaches this height requirement, however, and that would exclude them from the primary registry – even if the horse is purebred. To counter this issue, the National Morgan Pony Registry was created in 1996 to provide representation to Morgans who are under 14.2 hands in height.

#6. Unusually colored Morgans are supported by their own registry as well. 

Morgans can come in a wide variety of colors, although it is rare for the coat to be other than black, bay, or chestnut. The Rainbow Morgan Horse Association, which was formed in 1990, was created to support purebred Morgans that have unique coat colors and to develop breeding lines from them. The association specializes in promoting silver dapple and cream genes within the breed, but any coat color outside of the norm is supported.

#7. Morgans were the first American horse breed to compete in the World Pairs Driving competition. 

Although American horse breeds have never been very successful in the World Pairs Driving competition – no US horse has even placed in the last 30 years – the ability to compete at championship levels is a step in the right direction. The Morgans were the first horse breed to take American efforts to the highest levels in this form of competition.

#8. Morgans are state animals in 2 US states. 

The Morgan horse is the state horse of Massachusetts and the state animal for Vermont. This is because of how closely this breed’s history is tied to these two states. This happened in 1970 and 1961 respectively.

#9. Morgans have been a popular figure in US literature. 

From children’s books to poetry to movies, you can find Morgan horses have been highly influential in US literature. Robert Frost wrote a poem about a Morgan colt who is afraid of the snow in his work “The Runaway.” A children’s book published in 1945 was entitled Justin Morgan Had a Horse and was about this breed, which won a Newbery Honor. Walt Disney also made a move based on the book. Ellen Feld has written an entire series of children’s books about Morgans as well. 

#10. Morgan horses can be gaited. 

The gait of a Morgan horse is not a requirement for the breed, but it does sometimes run in certain horses within the breed. Gaited Morgans are somewhat rare, but when it does exist, they can perform lateral gaits such as the pace, rack, and foxtrot. The trait is found throughout all of the families and subfamilies of the breed, so it is not believed to be connected to any specific bloodlines.

#11. Morgan horses live longer than the average breed. 

With adequate care, Morgans can easily live into their upper 30s. According to registry information, the average lifespan for a Morgan is between 20-30 years, which makes them a fairly long-lived horse when compared to other breeds.

#12. Morgans have a distinctive head shape. 

You can tell that you’re looking at a Morgan horse just by looking at its head. The eyes are quite expressive and the Morgan stands with a graceful, upright neck. The carriage of this breed offers a distinctive appearance of pride, especially with its strongly-muscled quarters and compact, deep-bodied structure.

#13. Some Morgans used to be considered a different breed. 

A stallion named Black Hawk was the first US stallion to receive a stud fee of $100. His high-strung personality and high energy levels were considered unique and in the 1800s, he was considered to be a foundation horse for his own breed, which were called Black Hawks. Not bad for a horse who was almost gelded because of how difficult he was to work with. Over time, Black Hawk and his lineage were incorporated into the Morgan line.

These Morgan horse facts show that one of the original breeds in US history is still going strong, even if there weren’t any early breeding structures in its earliest days. Nearly as old as the United States, it is easy to see why Morgans have long been a favored mount once you see one in person.

How Much Do Arabian Horses Cost

Arabians are an amazing breed of horse. Often thought of as one of the original breeds, they are intelligent and beautiful animals. Their beauty often makes them one of the favorite horse breeds for everyone and their lineage has influence dozens of other breeds over the years. They are literally a living piece of history.

How much do Arabian horses cost? Current listings place the average price for a champion Arabia at $10,000. Other factors may influence this price, including the specific lineage of the horse, its genetics, and even the current age of the horse.

If you want to get the best possible price for an Arabian horse, then here are the specific factors that you’ll want to ask questions about.

#1. Age

The prime age for an Arabian horse is between 7-14. Horses that are older than this may still have a higher cost than others, depending on the condition of the horse and its ability to breed. It’s important to remember that horses don’t really enter into senior status until around the age of 20, so horses that are further away from that age tend to cost a little more.

Foals can often be priced for less than an Arabian in the prime age as well. This is because there has been no training given to the horse. You’ll invest more into younger horses over time than an older horse, but you can often make your initial purchase for a better price. Some younger horses may be more expensive, however, do to other pricing factors that come into play during the transaction. 

#2. Bloodline

Horses with strong Arabian bloodlines with a championship pedigree are going to fetch a higher price. Top stallions are also usually worth more, especially if they have been accepted into an Arabian association’s stud book. Top quality mares are priced a little less than stallions, but will still command a higher price than the average Arabian on the average farm or breeding project.

If bloodlines are important to you, then the price of a horse with documented genetics is worth the investment. If you’re looking for an Arabian that is more for recreational purposes, you can save some money by avoiding this pricing factor. 

#3. Training

It takes time to train an Arabian to perform certain tasks or complete certain jobs. That time and the final skill the horse has developed in completing tasks or jobs will be built into the final price of the horse. The quality of the training the horse receives will increase the price as well. If a well-known trainer has worked with an Arabian, the price of that horse will be higher.

#4. Genetics

Horses can come from strong bloodlines, but have genetic issues which affect their health. An Arabian with a known health issue or a minor injury will be cheaper in price than other Arabians, but still perfectly suited to what your plans happen to be. It is a good idea to bring in a trusted veterinarian during the sales process if you look to save money this way to make sure that the overall health prospects of the horse are still positive when looked at in the long-term.

#5. Competition Experience

Arabians that have competed in some way will always be priced higher than Arabians that have not competed. Even if the horse competed and failed to win anything, the simple act of competition drives up the price. The longer a horse spends racing, in a show ring, or performing equitation, then the more the owner of the horse is going to ask before agreeing to a sale.

#6. Personal Circumstances

Sometimes the current owner of an Arabian has a life change that needs to be handled. If someone is in a rush to sell their horse, you might be able to find a really good price for a top quality Arabian. You will also find that some owners really don’t care if they ever sell their horse or not, so they’ll ask for a top dollar amount and only sell if you’re willing to pay that price.

#7. Location

Different parts of the world can command different prices for an Arabian horse. In countries like the United States, there may even be different price structures on the East Coast when compared to the West Coast. Of course the actual cost is relative. If you live on the East Coast and the price of an Arabian is $12,000, it is still cheaper to purchase locally than to purchase a $10,000 Arabian on the West Coast and then spend $4,000 in transportation costs.

#8. Breeder Reputation

There are several well-established Arabian breeders that are operating around the world. Many of them will not only introduce you to their operations, but work with you to find a horse that is best suited to meet your needs. If you’re looking for an Arabian that will ride trails and be a therapeutic experiential treatment option, that’s a very different need than wanting an Arabian who can perform under high-pressure racing conditions.

#9. Partnerships

Some Arabians are available for purchase in a partnership or business arrangement instead of an outright payment. This is typically seen in the more expensive racing horses, but some breeding programs are allowing for partnership owners for Arabians that are more for recreation than for racing. If the final price of the horse is $10,000, you could receive a 25% ownership with a $2,500 payment and then share “custody” of the horse with three other owners.

#10. Coat Color

Arabians have black skin. It is believed that this skin coloration developed in response to their original location in the APAC region and the Middle East where deserts are prominent. Most Arabians will come in a solid color shade, including chestnut, bay, grey, and black. Certain coat colors are sought after more than others, especially if the Arabian has more white markings within the coat than normal.

If you’re willing to settle for a little less than perfection in terms of coat appearance, then you can potentially save a lot on the final price of your new Arabian horse.

#11. Personality

Arabians are highly intelligent horses. They are curious, but not overly pushy in trying to find out what you are doing. Many are mild-mannered, enjoy receiving a lot of attention, and will work with you without much of an issue.

Some Arabians are used to being the Alpha Horse of their herd. Stallions in particular can be somewhat stubborn and aggressive, especially if their behaviors have been allowed without any guidance or discipline.

When there is a hot-tempered Arabian, there is a good chance that the price for the horse is going to be lower than a comparable mild-mannered horse. If you’re used to working with horses and don’t mind implementing some behavior modification techniques, it is possible to save several thousand dollars in this category alone.

#12. Geldings

Because geldings have been castrated or neutered, their ability to reproduce becomes virtually impossible. Only in rare situations can a gelding be restored to a full stallion. Because of this and the emphasis there is on breeding within horse communities, the price of a gelding Arabian will often be less than a full stallion.

For some owners, this is a reason for them to increase the price. There is the cost of the procedure that must be considered, as well as the fact that many horses who are gelded tend to become ridable when normally this may not be the case. 

#13. Ongoing Costs

The initial investment into an Arabian horse is important to consider, but so are your ongoing costs. There will be veterinarian services that must be provided to the horse on a regular basis, including vaccinations, routine physical inspections, and potential emergencies. There are feed costs that must be considered. So even though you may pay an average of $10,000 for the Arabian initially, you’ll likely be paying an average of $300-$600 per month to care for the horse.

If you need to board your horse at a third-party stable because you don’t currently have the room to keep the Arabian on your property, then the ongoing costs may double. 

When you’re looking to purchase a horse, the bottom line will always be this: you typically get what you pay for. How much do Arabian horses cost? There’s no set answer to that question. If you take into account all of the varying factors that go into how a price is set, then you can pay a price that is fair for you and for the owner. 

Compared to other breeds, the price of an Arabian is fairly modest. Even an inexpensive horse can be very valuable to you, however, and that’s ultimately the most important factor to consider. 

Because the ongoing costs are relatively the same for expensive or inexpensive Arabians, it makes sense to purchase the best quality horse that you can afford. That way you can enjoy being a horse owner without worrying about your budget.

How Much Beet Pulp to Feed a Horse

Beet pulp is an effective dietary supplement to give to horses that are either aging or happen to be underweight. Because it is a byproduct of sugar beets, it provides a high calorie, low density feed option which allows a horse to be able to maintain its weight more effectively.

Each horse has different dietary requirements, so the amount of beet pulp to feed a horse will depend on many factors: height, current weight, healthy weight, and so forth.

You can begin to calculate how much beet pulp to feed a horse by looking at the rate of weight gain that occurs in an average horse from this product. For every 4 pounds of daily beet pulp fed to a horse daily, it can maintain its present body weight and gain up to one-half pound per day. Then, based on the amount of weight that needs to be maintained or added, the amount of feed can be quickly adjusted.

What Does Beet Pulp Provide to a Horse?

At its core, beet pulp is really just a fiber product. It’s just easier to digest than other forms of fiber that a horse eats, including the daily hay it may receive. The bacteria in the digestive tract of the horse can ferment the product easily because of its higher sugar content as well, which provides more energy to the horse.

Some believe the health value of beet pulp is nearly equal to the value of oats. It may be able to prevent incidents of colic if the fiber has been properly soaked. Beet pulp also holds water very well, which can make it possible to increase the amount of water consumption that a stubborn horse who doesn’t like to drink is able to receive.

What Horses Benefit from Being Fed Beet Pulp?

Just about any aging or underweight horse can benefit from being fed beet pulp. As with any dietary change, it is important for your veterinarian to know what your plans happen to be. The horses who tend to benefit the most from this feed option tend to face unique health challenges.

  • Horses with teeth in poor condition can be encouraged to forage because of the softer fibers that beet pulp is able to provide.
  • Horses that experience regular periods of colic or digestive upset can receive some relief by consuming beet pulp.
  • Horses that are sensitive to sugars and starches, such as a horse suffering from insulin-resistance, can also benefit from this product. Although there is a higher sugar content, it is still a feed option that has a low glycemic index.

Its greatest benefits come to horses that are hard keepers. The higher calorie content of beet pulp when compared to hay make it an affordable substitute for those horses who just don’t like to forage much.

How Much Beet Pulp Can I Safely Feed a Horse?

The actual amount of beet pulp that is used to supplement the nutrition of a horse depends on what your end goals happen to be for equine health. Are you supplementing beet pulp with grain? Are you substituting beet pulp for foraging?

In nutritional research, horses have been successfully fed a dietary regimen that includes 55% of their caloric intake coming from beet pulp. That means a 1,500-pound horse could be fed up to 13 pounds of beet pulp per day.

Beet pulp does have some nutritional deficits that must be addressed, however, if it is going to be a majority component of a horse’s diet. It contains about 10% crude protein, so other protein sources may be required. It also has a calcium-to-phosphorus ratio that is 5 times higher than is recommended.

Beet pulp also lacks Vitamin A and Vitamin E, so horses fed beet pulp in amounts that exceed 3 pounds per day should receive dietary supplements to make up for the lack of nutrients. The phosphorus content must also be taken seriously, so mixing it with grains can help to balance out the dietary needs of the horse. 

Does Beet Pulp Need to Be Soaked Before It Is Fed to a Horse?

No. Many owners believe that beet pulp must be soaked because dry beet pulp can make it easier for the horse to choke if it is consumed too quickly. Any horse can choke on any dry feed if it eats too quickly, so beet pulp on its own is not an obstructive factor.

You may find that your horse does not prefer to eat dry beet pulp. It may be due to a feed change, which in itself can cause stress for a horse. The horse may prefer to eat the beet pulp wet because it tastes better to them that way.

Each horse is a little different. Some like it lightly soaked, while others prefer to consume more of a beet pulp soup as part of their feed. You only need to soak it long enough for it to become soft, which can also be different depending on local weather patterns.

Soaking it can reduce the threat of an obstruction occurring while eating. If you are planning to serve at least 2 pounds of beet pulp to a horse, the recommendation is to soak it unless the horse prefers it dry.

How Fast Does Beet Pulp Become Spoiled?

Beet pulp does not have a long half-life. Once it has been properly soaked and it has become soft, fermenting and spoilage may occur in 12 hours or less. Even in cooler environments, the amount of time that beet pulp can stay viable is often less than 24 hours.

Any time you encounter beet pulp that smells sour or fermented, it should be thrown away instead of being given to the horse.

Dry beet pulp can also become moldy if you happen to live in a high moisture environment, such as the Pacific Northwest. Treat this product as you would treat moldy hay and avoid giving it to your horse at all costs.

Hot and humid environments can also encourage rapid spoilage. Always check on your beet pulp before feeding it. Never assume that any previously soaked feed is good to give to a horse.

If you don’t want to hassle with adding the beet pulp to the feed of your horse on your own, there are several commercial feeds that have already incorporated this food product. Some have done so in large proportions. These commercial products do not typically need to be soaked, which reduces the risk of spoilage over time.

Home much beet pulp should be fed to a horse? By following these guidelines, you’ll be able to find the correct feed ratio so that your horse can achieve and then maintain its optimal weight.

20 Interesting Friesian Horse Facts

Friesian horses are a relatively rare breed. Although it is considered a fairly popular dressage and carriage horse, there are fewer than 1,000 Friesian horses currently registered in North America according to some estimates. Here are some interesting Friesian horse facts that can help you get to know this fantastic breed a little bit better.

#1. Friesian horses are named after their origination province. 

Friesland is where the Friesian horse originates. It’s a northern province in The Netherlands, situated along the North Sea. It is a mostly rural province, known for its agricultural activities. Less than 4% of the population of The Netherlands calls this province their home. 

#2. It is an ancient breed. 

The Friesian horse has been around for nearly 1,000 years. The first documents which appear to discuss this breed and its positive qualities have been dated to before the year 1200. King Louis II, who was the ruler of Hungary, is often described as riding a Friesian horse into battle in the mid-1500s. Ancestors of the modern Friesian horse are even said to have been used in the medieval period because they could effectively carry knights and nobility into battle. 

#3. Friesians have been in the United States since its colonial days. 

The first imports to North America for Friesian horses occurred in the 1600s, immediately after colonies were established. The Dutch controlled the early areas around what is now New York and they imported their “trotters” to help tame the lands so that agricultural activities could occur as effectively as possible in those early days.

#4. Friesian horses are often black, but they have other coats as well. 

Most people picture the Friesian horse as a pure black horse. This is because Friesian horses in other coat colors are not able to be registered. Chestnut coats are also available with this horse breed and no stallions with this coloration are allowed to register. Some geldings and mares are given exceptions to this rule if all other conformation aspects are of a superior quality.

#5. Chestnut or Bay Friesians are called “Fire” horses. 

Chestnut stallions, as well as rejected mares and geldings, are eligible to register under a separate registry. These horses are called “Fire Friesians” and their registry is maintained by the Friesian Heritage Horse and Sporthorse International registry.

#6. Friesians traditionally pull their own unique carriage. 

When Friesian horses are used as a carriage horse, they traditionally pull a carriage that is unique to them. The carriage, which is called a “sjess,” is essentially a lounge-style of chair that is on wheels. Each carriage is traditionally registered, sometimes to the horse itself, and every one must be unique. They are intricately detailed, have wheels that must be 5-feet in height or higher, and there must be 14 spokes. 

#7. Only one white marking is allowed on a Friesian horse. 

Most official registries for this horse breed will only allow a small star on the forehead. Any other white markings are considered to be evidence that the horse is not a purebred, which will cause it to not be accepted as breeding stock.

#8. Friesian horses can be quite tall. 

The average Friesian horse will stand at 15.3 hands in height. Some stallions have been known to be greater than 17 hands. Some mares have been known to be just 14.2 hands in height. In order for a Friesian horse to be given the designation of “star pedigree,” it must stand at 15.2 hands at minimum. Judges will also inspect the horse for power, bone structure, and body type to determine if the star pedigree designation is deserved.

#9. Friesian horses have feathers. 

The Friesian is one of the few purebred horses that is not a warmblood, not a drafthorse, and not really a lighter breed that have feathers. Feathering refers to the longer hairs that are around the hooves of the horse. In this breed, they are traditionally kept untrimmed. This means the horse can be at a higher risk of skin issues underneath the feathers, such as rain rot, depending on the conditions where the horse lives. 

#10. There are 4 genetic disorders which are known to affect Friesian horses. 

About one-quarter of 1% of Friesian horses are affected by dwarfism, which results in the horse having a broader chest, normal-sized head, and very short limbs. Hydrocephalus, which causes cerebrospinal fluid to build up within the brain, is also known to affect the breed. There is testing available for both conditions.

Friesian horses also have a higher risk of aortic rupture and the development of an enlarged esophagus.

#11. Friesian horses are one of the breeds that is susceptible to PSSM. 

PSSM is a glycogen storage disease that effects several breeds of horse, including the Friesian. It can be managed with diet and exercise in horses that have been diagnosed with the disease.

#12. A majority of Friesian mares retain their placenta after foaling. 

Up to 54% of Friesian mares retain their placenta after foaling. There may also be laxity within tendons and ligaments that occurs, which could be due to the genetic traits that are believed to be associated with the dwarfism traits that are found within this breed.

#13. The first studbook for Friesian horses included other breeds. 

Several landowners, breeders, and farmers gathered together in 1879 to create a society that worked together to produce a horse stud book for the Friesian horses. Called the FRS (Fries Rundvee Stamboek), it included several heavy warmblood breeds in book in addition to the Friesian horse. The entire group was called the Bovenlander horses, which contributed to the virtual extinction of the Friesian breed.

#14. By 1900, there were only 3 available breeding stallions for the entire Friesian breed. 

Many of the best stallions for the Friesian breed disappeared in the late 1800s because of the preference to create Bovenlander stallions, which were much more fashionable at the time. This caused most of the stallions of the breed to be sold, disappearing into crossbreeding operations. In the early 1900's, there were just 3 registered stallions available to continue the Friesian breed. Every current Friesian horse can trace its heritage to one of these three horses.

#15. It would not be until 1943 when crossbreeding operations separated themselves completely from the Friesian studbook. 

From 1913-1943, groups such as Het Friesch Paard worked to separate Bovenlanders and other heavy breeds from the Friesian horse. In 1915, the FPS finally split into two groups so that the Friesian breed would have a chance to recover. In the middle of World War II, it was decided to completely separate crossbreeding operations from Friesian horse breeding operations.

#16. Friesian horses are still quite popular in The Netherlands. 

The Friesian horse may be a rare breed outside of Europe, but they are still extremely popular in The Netherlands. About 7% of the total horse population of its foundation country are Friesian horses. It is a remarkable recovery in the past century, considering how close the breed was to total extinction.

#17. Friesian horses may have been used as foundation stock for other breeds. 

The Morgan is the most likely breed to have Friesian genetics infused into it. Hackneys, Norfolk Trotters, and Dole Gudbrandsdals are also believed to have Friesians as part of their foundation stock.

#18. International Friesian horse associations have only been founded recently. 

The best example of this is the Friesian Horse Association of North America. It wasn’t formed until 1984. The North American association for the breed has around 8,000 horses registered to it. This is despite numerous publications announcing that there are only 1,000 or fewer purebred Friesian horses that currently live in North America. 

#19. Coat color is not the only distinguishing characteristic of the Friesian horse. 

Friesian horses are known for their dark coats, but they also have additional characteristics which make them stand out as a popular breed. This includes a mane that is thicker than other breeds, a tail that is thicker as well, and longer hair in these areas. When the Friesian horse gallops, the combination creates a “flowing” effect that is visually impressive.

#20. Many popular movies have included Friesian horses because of their personalities. 

Many war movies, such as 300 or Alexander, have featured this breed of horse. Fantasy movies like The Chronicles of Narnia and Eragon have done so as well. If you watched the modern adaptation of The Mask of Zorro, then you saw a Friesian horse as well. The camera likes this breed because of its impressive look, ability to take direction, and the calm nature of its personality. 

These Friesian horse facts show that any breed has the opportunity to thrive if it is given half a chance. Their dark elegance captures the eye while their calm disposition makes it the perfect horse for recreational or competitive activities. As time goes on, the influence of this breed will continue to shine.

How to Prevent Colic in Horses

Colic is a painful problem for a horse. Their unique digestion system prevents them from vomiting, which means anything that goes into the horse must work its way through the gastrointestinal tract. Since they can be really good at eating the wrong things, knowing how to prevent colic in horses is key information that every owner must have.

There are many types of colic that cannot be prevented. Because horses are naturally prone to this health issue, every animal will usually experience it at least once in their lives. By following these steps with your horses, you can reduce the risks of colic occurring so that they can be happy and comfortable every day.

#1. Make sure that you always have clean water available.

It only takes 60-90 minutes for a horse to be without water for its risks of colic to increase. This is especially true for horses that are 6 years of age or older.

Just having water available may not be good enough. Most horses tend to prefer drinking clean, fresh water from a bucket instead of an automatic waterer. These animals tend to ingest a large amount of water very quickly, with this action having a natural effect in preventing colic.

In winter especially, make sure that there is always clean water available. Horses will drink more water in the colder months if it has been warmed first.

#2. Be consistent with pasture turnouts.

When a horse has regular access to a pasture, then it has a lower risk of colic when compared to horses that do not receive a regular turnout. The simple act of feeding hay instead of allowing grazing to occur may even increase the chances of colic.

One reason why this is an effective preventative action against colic is that fresh grass tends to have moisture content within it. The fibrous materials of the grass then work with that moisture to push items through the gastrointestinal tract of the horse.

#3. Avoid sandy areas with horses.

Sand and other forms of loose soil are often ingested because of the natural grazing behaviors of a horse. The ingestion of these particles is known to create irritation within the gastrointestinal tract, which often results in colic.

Instead of laying out hay on the ground for a horse, consider feeding the animal by using a rack or a tub. It is also beneficial to place a catch pan or a rubber mat underneath your rack or tub so that the horse can pursue leftover scraps without risking the ingestion of sand or loose soil.

#4. Whole grains in high amounts can contribute to colic.

It is important to feed horses whole grains and pelleted feeds as a supplement to their grazing diet. This is often how horses get the vitamins and minerals that are needed for good health. Yet for every pound of feed grain or pelleted feed that is given, the risk for colic development may increase by 70%.

That’s a 70% increase for every pound. If you give a horse 10 pounds of feed grain in a day, then the risk of colic for that horse goes up by 700% compared to having no feed grain at all.

Sweet feeds are also known to increase the risk of colic when compared to a diet that is 100% hay or pasture grass.

#5. Watch for the signs and symptoms of colic every day.

Any time there is a change to the routine of a horse, their risks of colic will go up for the next 7-14 days. When farms make more than 4 changes in their feed over a 12-month period, their risks of colic increase by more than three times when compared to farms that make fewer feed changes.

Just changing to a different batch of hay carries with it an increased risk of colic.

Any time there is a change in a horse’s exercise habit, the risks of colic will go up as well. This includes increases to the amount of exercise received – not just a decrease in exercise as some may believe.

Be proactive and watch for the signs and symptoms of colic, especially when changes occur. Make gradual changes to exercise or dietary routines to keep stress levels down for the horse.

#6. Float the teeth twice per year.

Did you know that the teeth of a horse constantly grow? Horses also tend to chew a bit sideways as they grind hay, grass, and other feed. This motion creates inconsistent wear patterns on the teeth of the horse. Over time, this can mean very sharp edges and points, making it difficult for the horse to chew.

Call your veterinarian and have the points and edges filed down about twice per year. This process is called “floating” and will reduce the chances of colic because the horse will be able to chew normally.

#7. Be proactive about good health.

While the veterinarian is out there floating the teeth, it is a good idea to have a discussion about the potential benefits of using deworming products or updating the vaccinations for the animal. By be proactive against parasites so they stay under control, an incident of colic is less likely to occur.

Good parasite control can also minimize the discomfort and severity of a colic attack should it occur.

#8. Watch for signs of impaction.

Constipation is a very bad thing for a horse. If the waste materials impact within the intestines, then colic will almost always form. Look for early signs of an impaction, such as dried fecal balls or fecal materials that are smaller than usual. Horses may also change their eating or drinking habits in the early stages of an impaction colic event.

If the impact cannot be removed and stays stuck, it must be treated as a medical emergency. Surgery may be necessary to remove the impaction and save the life of the horse. If you can pick up on the subtle signs of colic before this happens, then you can prevent a potentially costly remedy from being required.

#9. Colic occurs frequently after birth.

Broodmares are at an increased risk of colic for the first 60 days after birth. Monitoring them for the early signs of colic can help you quickly respond to an incident should it occur.

Any horse that has experienced colic in the past is at a greater risk than the general horse population of having a repeat episode.

If your horse does experience colic, don’t panic. Take the vital signs of the horse and have a conversation with your veterinarian. Then by following these steps, you’ll know how to prevent colic in horses in the best ways possible to prevent future incidents. 

17 Cool Rocky Mountain Horse Facts

Despite its name, the Rocky Mountain Horse is a breed that was actually developed in Kentucky in the Appalachian Mountains. The foundation stallion was brought to Kentucky from the western US in the late 1800's, which is how the breed got its name. There are two types of Rocky Mountain horses: the foundation type and the modern type. Here are several interesting Rocky Mountain horse facts available to help you get to know this breed a little bit better.

#1. Most Rocky Mountain horses can trace their lineage to one specific horse. 

The foundation stallion for the modern type of Rocky Mountain horse was named Old Tobe. Owned by Sam Tuttle, he was often used as a trail horse at a local state park. He was also gaited, which is why this trait has become part of the modern type of this breed. Siring foals until the age of 34 and living to the age of 37, five of his sons have been named as foundation sires by the Rocky Mountain Horse Association.

#2. Rocky Mountain horses are known for their unique coat. 

The typical Rocky Mountain horse has a coat color that is described as “chocolate.” The mane and the tale are generally flaxen in color. What makes their appearance so remarkable is the influence of the silver dapple gene, which is relatively rare, and how it acts on the darker coat of each horse.

#3. The Rocky Mountain Horse Association was first formed in 1986. 

The registry prefers to have horses that have evidence of the silver dapple gene. Solid color horses within this breed are also accepted. White markings are considered to be acceptable, assuming that they are judged to be “minimal” when looking at the horse. What is not considered acceptable are any leg markings that extend above the knee. 

#4. Rocky Mountain horses have high risks for certain health disorders. 

The Rocky Mountain horse is the breed with the highest known risk of a condition called MCOA. This condition creates abnormal development around the ocular tissues, which changes how the horse is able to see. It’s generally mild when it develops and is a disease that is non-progressive. Genetic studies suggest that the reason why this breed is so greatly affected by MCOA is because the disorder is tied to the silver dapple gene, which also is the most prominent in this breed.

#5. Rocky Mountain horses don’t actually trot. 

This breed exhibits what is called an “ambling” gait. It is due to the trait that Old Tobe had and it has replaced the trot that most horse breeds typically have. The gait is called the “Single Foot” and it is a four-beat gait at the speed of a trot, which is a two-beat gait. The extra beats in the gait create a smoother ride since there is always one hoof on the ground, which reduces bounce and potential riding-related injuries.

This gait may prevent higher speeds from being achieved with this breed, but Rocky Mountain horses are known to be able to cover long distances without tiring as much because of it. 

#6. There were just 26 horses in the initial registrations for the Rocky Mountain Horse Association. 

In the past 30+ years since the association first formed, there have been over 25,000 horses in total that have been registered at some point. More than 11 countries are represented on the registry, as are 47 states of the US. 

The reason for the lower-than-normal registration numbers for this breed is due to the standards of acceptance. For a foal to be registered, the parentage must be verified through the use of DNA testing. Then, at 23 months, the horse will also be personally inspected to ensure that it meets the physical and gait characteristics that the association requires.

#7. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy has the Rocky Mountain Horse on “Watch” status. 

This means that the estimated numbers of this breed are relatively low. Part of this is due to the youth of the breed, with the modern type of Rocky Mountain horse being less than a century old. The current estimates for this breed population hover around 15,000 worldwide. Fewer than 800 new registrations occur every year in the United States.

#8. There are other interesting physical characteristics for the Rocky Mountain horse as well. 

In size, the Rocky Mountain horse is about average, standing between 14.2-16 hands for most horses. They typically have a shorter-than-average back, but a wide chest and a neck that is well-set. Their rear feet are also angled, which helps to promote the specific gait that is seen within this breed. As a breed, their ears are often described as being “foxed” and their chins are listed as being “teacup” in shape and size.

#9. Rocky Mountain horses are extremely versatile. 

For many families in Kentucky and the rural Midwest, it was important to own a horse that could perform multiple tasks for you. This was especially true for the older types within this breed that were owned during the Great Depression. At best, many families could only own one horse, so it had to pull a buggy or carriage, work the farm, ride under saddle, and deal with a wagon. That’s what this horse could do.

The modern Rocky Mountain horse is still just as versatile, though the modern requirements for a horse have definitely changed. Today’s Rocky Mountain owners are typically trail riders, though these horses are making more appearances on the competitive circuits. They are especially strong in endurance riding events and it is difficult to ignore their trademark look in a show circuit event.

#10. About half of all Rocky Mountain horses still live in Kentucky. 

When non-registered Rocky Mountain horses are added to the total population for this breed, there are about 20,000 horses in the world today. Out of that figure, about 10,000 of the horses are living in Kentucky right now.

#11. Rocky Mountain horses have a unique personality. 

For most horses, if they get startled or spooked, then their natural reaction is to run away. For this breed, when they get startled, their natural reaction tends to be a complete stop instead. Their personality also helps them be able to understand the skill level of the driver or the rider that is working with them, making sure that almost everyone has a comfortable ride.

#12. This breed is intensely curious. 

Rocky Mountain horses are like extreme micromanagers. If you’re working on something by one of these horses, you can expect to have one peering over your shoulder the entire time that you are working. They want to be where you are, know what you are doing, and be part of the activities whenever they are allowed. This makes them one of the most reliable natural companions in any breed of horse.

#13. The registry books are completely closed. 

The only horses that are allowed to enter the registry of the Rocky Mountain horse breed are the offspring of already registered Rocky Mountain horses. Because of the youth of the breed, the current goal of the association and its breeders is preservation.

#14. The Rocky Mountain horse is also a trademark. 

The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted the Rocky Mountain Horse Association with a certified trademark for the term “Rocky Mountain Horse.” This means that the only horses which are allowed to be called a Rocky Mountain horse are those that have been accepted into the registry.

This means even if a horse comes from Rocky Mountain lineage, if it does not meet the conformation guidelines for the association, it cannot be called a Rocky Mountain horse.

#15. About 2.5% of Rocky Mountain horses are Palomino. 

The vast majority of horses within this breed are chocolate or black, accounting for 2 out of every 3 horses. Other coat traits are also possible, including Buckskin, Roan, and Cremello.

#16. Rocky Mountain horses retain information extremely well. 

If you’ve taught a Rocky Mountain horse a specific task, then there is a good chance that it has retained that information. Whether they are trained once per week or once per month, they tend to retain their training and can instantly respond to commands. Part of this is due to their high levels of curiosity, which makes them strive to learn new things and receive attention from their handlers. 

#17. This horse breed is a tremendous jumper. 

Rocky Mountain horses have been known to easily clear 4-foot jumps once they have been trained in show jumping and are ridden properly. This horse will typically go anywhere and do whatever their rider wants them to do. They might fail in the effort, but they’ll keep trying until they get it right. 

Although it is rather young compared to most horse breeds, the Rocky Mountain horse stands on its own in terms of appearance, gait, and temperament. It’s been said that if you ever own one of these horses, then one day you’ll decide that you can’t own just one. These Rocky Mountain horse facts may just prove that sentiment to be true. 

How to Measure a Horse for a Girth

If you plan to ride your horse, then it is important to know how to measure a horse for girth. When you have the right size of girth, then the proper fit can help to ensure a ride that is confident and comfortable. It will allow the horse to move with more freedom with some added breathing room.

On the other hand, a girth that does not fit well may lead to rubbing. There may be issues with chafing. This can cause skin problems, cause irritation, and provide an experience for the horse which is generally uncomfortable.

How to Measure Your Horse for an English Girth

There are 5 basic steps to follow if you’re trying to find the proper size for an English girth. The goal is to make sure the girth is snug, but not too tight against the body. It must be tight enough so that the saddle does not slip or move, which could cause an injury to the horse or its rider. Before implementing these steps, make sure that the horse is standing on a level surface and that the horse has not recently eaten. 

  • Set your saddle pad and saddle on the horse. Make sure that you don’t attach the girth just yet. Place the saddle pad and the saddle on the horse where it will naturally be supported by the strong bones of the spine.
  • Locate the heart girth. This is typically located about 4 inches behind the elbow of the horse. You’re going to want to look for the slight curve that is located on the side of the area around the stomach.
  • Begin the measurement process. You’ll want to hold the start of the measuring tape at the second hole from the bottom of the billets. Different saddles can have different billet lengths, so you may need to change the size of your girth depending on the saddle that you prefer to use.
  • Wrap the measuring tape underneath the horse. You’ll want to take the loose end of your measuring tape and then wrap it underneath the horse to the location of the heart girth. Your tape should stretch from the second hole in the billets on your side of the saddle to the heart girth location.
  • Calculate your final size. Take the measurement you have obtained from the previous steps. Then you’ll want to calculate what your girth size is going to be. The measurement of your horse’s heart girth is divided by 2 and then subtracted by 3 to obtain the final size. For an English girth, most are only provided in an even-numbered size. If your calculations produce an odd number, then you will need to round up instead of rounding down to get the correct size. 

There really isn’t a shortcut to this process. Some owners may measure an older girth and then use that measurement for the new girth, but an old girth has probably stretched out. Always follow the 5 steps of measurement and your English girth will fit as comfortably as possible.

How to Measure Your Horse for a Western Girth

If you prefer a Western saddle instead of an English saddle, knowing how to measure a horse for girth is essentially the same process. If you don’t have the saddle that you will be using, then all you need to do is pass the measuring tape around the body where the girth will rest. When the two ends of the measuring tape are snug, look at the number.

Then you’ll want to use the same calculation to determine girth size as the English saddle rider. This means if your heart girth measurement is 72, then you’ll need to divide it in half so that it becomes 36. Then subtract 3 from that number, giving you 33. Since that is an odd number, you’ll want to round upwards, giving you a girth size of 34 inches.

But I already have the Western saddle I plan to use. If you already have the saddle that you plan to be using, then just place the saddle and saddle pad or blanket on the horse. Then you can follow these two steps to determine the correct size.

  • Determine the space from one rigging ring to the other. When you need to know the size of cinch that your horse is going to need, the measurement of the horse from the saddle is extremely important. You’ll want to measure the space that exists from one rigging ring to the other. Once you’ve obtained this measurement in inches, you’ll want to subtract 16 inches from your result so that the space for the latigos is accounted for.
  • Fit the actual cinch. You’ll want to place the middle of the chinch behind the front legs of the horse. Allow for the ends of the cinch to drop around 7-8 inches from the bottom of the D-rings that are on the saddle. Make sure that the D-rings have been fastened with the latigos so that your measurement is accurate.

Once you’ve obtained the measurements, you may also wish to refer to a sample girth sizing chart to see if you’ve calculated the correct size. 

Should There Be an Elastic Girth Option?

As you ride your horse, the girth is going to stretch out over time. This is a given. If your saddle feels looser than normal, then this might be the issue you are facing. Instead of purchasing a new cinch to have it fitted, you may be able to remeasure your horse and make an appropriate adjustment to the current cinch.

Because the goal of the girth is to remain tight, some may come equipped with an elastic strap built into the product. The elastic can help to fit more body styles with one general girth product, providing a more accurate fit. It expands and contracts well. It can also create moments of instability when the ribcage contracts during a ride, which may be difficult for beginner riders to handle. 

If you have a horse that has been described as “wide” or “flat,” then you may find that an elastic girth is an option to consider.

Knowing how to measure a horse for girth will ensure that you and your horse will be comfortable and confident during your next ride. Follow these steps, whether you have your preferred saddle or you do not, and you’ll be able to obtain an accurate measurement.

13 Fun Wild Horse Facts

In the 1400s, Johann Schiltberger recorded one of the first known European sightings of wild horses in Mongolia. As a prisoner of Khan, some of his writings have come into question as being either incorrect or offering outright fiction, yet some of his work is also considered to be profound, including his sketches of Islam and the peoples of Siberia, Egypt, and Arabia.

Just a century later, European explorers and then colonists would begin introducing horses to the Americas, creating the foundation stock of herds that would also begin to be called wild.

These wild horse facts show that our long fascination with these wandering breeds has helped to define who we are.

#1. Not every wild horse is actually “wild.” 

There is only one breed of horse, the Mongolian wild horse, that is considered to be an authentically “wild” horse. Every other herd or family unit is considered to be a feral horse. The difference in classification comes from their lineage and behavior. Feral horses are the descendants of domesticated horses that were able to adapt to living in the wild. 

For truly “wild” horses, their genetics help to distinguish their efforts to live without human interference.

#2. Wild horses have 66 chromosomes.

Another way to distinguish a truly wild horse from those that are feral is to look at their genetics. Horses that are truly wild will have 66 chromosomes, while horses that come from a domesticated lineage will have 64 chromosomes.

This applies only to horses, of course. There are other wild equine species that actually have 62 chromosomes, including the zebra. These wild equine species can be mated to a domesticated horse, but their offspring will usually be sterile. In comparison, if a wild horse is mated to a domesticated horse, their offspring is usually reproductively viable because of the extra chromosome pairs.

#3. The Australian Brumby is often called a wild horse, but it isn’t even native to Australia. 

This is why many wild horse facts either focus on the feral horses or only on the Mongolian wild horses instead of both. For the feral horses that are considered to be wild, with many of them never having seen humans in their lives, the simple fact is that they are an animal that is not native to that region.

For the Australian Brumby, their introduction to the continent occurred in the late 1700s with the arrival of the First Fleet. They have been referred to as Brumbies since 1880. They are often seen as a pest, but are also allowed to roam through national parks. Sometimes they are captured and domesticated, while at other times there are orders placed to cull the herd.

#4. The US has laws in place to protect feral horses that are deemed to be “wild.” 

Since 1971, the United States has had laws in place that protect any feral free-roaming horses or burros. The laws specifically state that all unbranded horses or burros that are on public lands are actually the property of the federal government and it allows the Secretary of the Interior to manage the herds in a manner that allows for “ecological balance.”

As with the Australian horses, there are times when the US government rounds up the wild horses and offers them up for sale or adoption. Property owners are expressly forbidden from harming these horses and are instead ordered to contact federal authorities to remove the animals from their property instead.

#5. Truly wild horses prefer to live in permanent family groups.

Wild horses tend to congregate together into family units before they congregate into herds. This is another change in behavior when compared to the feral horses that tend to roam around the US and Australia. For the wild horses, each family group is a single stallion and 1-3 mares, along with any offspring. For the feral horses, several stallions may be part of the structural herd.

A family group can be as small as 2 horses with wild horses, especially for a stallion and mare that are young and first starting out. The largest families of wild horses may be as many as 20 animals, but this size is fairly rare considering the birth rate that is experienced. It takes almost a full year for a pregnancy to come to fruition. 

Wild horses will bring together multiple family units to create a community herd, but these herds are not permanent. They move together in order to find food or to protect one another, maintaining their primary social existence within the family.

#6. Wild horses offer a tremendous amount of communication.

Wild horses will always maintain visual contact with their family members. If they have formed into a community herd, each horse within that herd will also be kept within sight. They also communicate with one another on a frequent basis. This includes vocalizations, tactile signals, and visual signals that are picked up by all other horses in the family or herd. Ear tilting, grooming, and kicking are all common forms of communication that lead to a complex social existence.

Domesticated and feral horses also communicate in a similar fashion, but often without the emphasis on family. They are also social horses, especially in the wild, and may have preferences with whom they associate, but the social structures are less complex.

#7. Wild horses have seasonal food preferences.

All horses will eat a variety of different plants as the primary part of their diet. This is because all horses are a grazing species. What makes truly wild horses unique is that they always tend to favor one specific plant species over others during specific times throughout the year. They will gravitate toward their preferred plants, showing a distinct seasonal food preference.

#8. Wild horses have hooves that are remarkably sharp.

This is another difference that feral horses do not have when compared to horses that are truly wild. Wild horses have very sharp hooves which allow them to access food options when there are limited grazing grounds. They can use their hooves to strip bark from trees, take down leaves from a branch, and some even dig so they can bring up roots.

Przewalski horses are also known to use their hooves to dig through snow or even ice to consume plants that may be alive underneath the precipitation.

#9. Wild horses have their metabolisms slow down during the colder months.

Wild horses go through a process that is called “hypodermis” during the winter months. This process causes their metabolism to slow down when it becomes colder outside, helping them be able to survive on a lesser food supply. Then, when the weather begins to warm up once again and food becomes more plentiful, their metabolism will begin to increase.

Wild horses will also consume water, but at lesser amounts compared to other horse breeds. A wild horse may drink as little as 3 liters of water per day. In comparison, a domesticated horse will consume at least 8 liters of water per day. 

#10. Wild horses have a mane that is shorter than other horse breeds.

Watching US or Australian horses living in the wild conjures up a picture of a long-flowing mane being tousled by the wind. For horses that are truly wild, this is something that would never happen to them. This is because their mane is extremely short and upright in comparison with other horse breeds.

To use human haircuts as an example, the feral horses would have bangs with a long bob cut. For the wild horses, they would have a military-style flat top.

#11. Wild horses have a very consistent look.

Most wild horses have a coat that is a light brown dun. There may be white or yellow markings on the coat as well, especially with the modern Mongolian wild horse, because two of the foundational horses for the breed are actually hybrids. In comparison, free-roaming mustangs or brumbies can have very different coats in all different colors and patterns.

#12. Like all other horses, a wild horse bears their weight on a single digit on each foot.

Horses pay close attention to their foot placement, putting all of their weight on a single digit on each foot. This would be like a human walking around on a single toe all of the time. This process helps to keep their hooves healthy and keeps them naturally ground down while out in the wild.

#13. Wild horses are typically much smaller than other horse breeds.

The average size of a wild horse is usually between 12-14 hands, which would officially classify them as a “pony” instead of a standard horse. Wild horses also weigh about 50% of the average domesticated or free-ranging feral horse, averaging about 660 pounds when fully mature. 

These wild horse facts may show that not every horse that is free-ranging is actually wild, but they also show that horses in general are an adaptive species. It is one of many reasons why humans and horses have had a relationship that dates back for thousands of years. 

How to Clean a Horse Hoof

If you’ve ever been around a horse, then you know that they like to find the grossest, nastiest, and smelliest stuff possible to step into. Then they stomp around all day, creating a dense material in their hoof that looks like dried-out toxic sludge. Here’s the problem: the horse cannot typically remove these materials on their own. If it stays, it can impact the health of the hoof and potentially even the overall health of the horse.

Other factors can also affect the cleanliness of the hoof. The terrain that you ride on, a spell of bad weather, the fit of their horseshoes, and even their feed can all affect the health of the hoof. 

This means you must know how to clean a horse hoof properly so that your horse remains sound. Here’s what you’re going to want to do.

#1. Get in there with a hoof pick.

That dried-out toxic sludge must come out for the horse to remain happy and healthy. Grab a good hoof pick and get in there, removing any rocks, grass, dirt, and the ever-present manure that tends to cake up. Once you get all the dried gunk out of there, you’ll want to follow up with a stiff-bristled brush to clean away any debris that is lingering in the sole.

If it is visible, it needs to come out. Any debris that remains can potentially damage the hoof and injure the horse. 

As you’re using that hoof pick, make sure that you’re taking a good look at the hoof itself. This is a great time to look for any puncture injuries, cracks in the hoof, or abscesses. You’ll also be able to tell if you’ve got a case of thrush that needs to be treated here in this first step.

Have the horse pick up the foot and then hold it to offer support. Start picking out on one side and then work your way across the hoof. Pay attention to the area where the sole of the hoof meets the outer hoof capsule.

#2. Inspect the shoes of the horse.

Once you’re confident that you’ve removed the toxic sludge from the hoof, it’s time to take a look at the shoes. Horseshoes have the nasty habit of moving to the side of the hoof, pulling away from it, or bending because the horse is practicing for its racing dreams while being turned out. A shoe that is not properly positioned can cause a severe injury, either from the metal of the shoe itself or from the nails or cinches that were used to affix it.

If a shoe has been thrown, you’ll need to remove it. Your local farrier can teach you how to do this if you’re not sure of your current skills.

#3. Repair the hoof as needed.

If you have found cracks in the hoof or other injuries that need to be addressed, then you’ll want to work on repairing the hoof as much as possible. Hoof cracks are not breed or activity specific and their presence can tell you a lot about what the horse is experiencing.

Hoof cracks are also very common. Don’t panic. Just get to work.

Horizontal hoof cracks can be evidence of a ruptured abscess or an injury. These will usually grow out in time, but if the horse seems a bit lame, you may wish to bring in your veterinarian.

Vertical cracks are much more common and may be complete or incomplete, affecting any portion of the hoof. They can occur suddenly or occur over a long period of time. Repair involves making sure the foot is properly trimmed and balanced, with all dead or loose materials removed. Then have a hoof repair kid on-hand so you can stabilize the crack, protect the damaged wall, and eliminate any bleeding or pain that may be happening.

#4. Give the horse some healthy hoof stuff in the feed.

Hoof supplements in the feed can really help to improve overall hoof health and keep each foot healthy even when the horse is mucking about. Look for supplements that include zinc or biotin for the best results. Other products that help to encourage keratin or protein growth will also help the hoof.

Many horses have specific dietary needs that must be met, so speaking to your veterinarian about the nutritional needs of your horse will be a good idea.

#5. Hoof moisture: you need some, but you don’t want it all.

If the hoof receives no moisture at all, then it will begin to dry out and this can encourage cracking. If the hoof receives too much moisture, then it will begin to soften and leave the horse more susceptible to an impact injury. To manage this moisture, consider using a topical conditioner as part of the cleaning process.

This will help to lock in the right amount of moisture while providing hooves that are hot and dry with some of the nutrients that they need. If you have a horse that is particularly sensitive to moisture changes, you may also wish to apply a sealant in the final stages of the horse hoof cleaning process.

#6. Get the horse out of the mud.

If you are turning out your horse into a muddy field or enclosure, then you’re going to give yourself a future headache. Too much mud and muck causes hoof moisture content to change, providing the foundation for an infection, thrush, or loosened shoes to cause a lot of havoc. Mud also causes slipping, falling, and a general mess that can take forever to groom out.

Having a level pasture can solve a lot of problems. Fill-in holes to prevent water buildup. Having a run-in shelter will also make sure that your horse always has some access to dry ground.

#7. Let the horse have some exercise.

Exercise encourages hooves to grow and strengthen. This allows the horse to have better health because the feet feel better. Encourage the horse to play games, run around, or go for a nice, long trail ride on a frequent basis. Having a protected pasture space will also encourage the horse to explore and get some movement.

If your space is rather limited, consider using a lunge line and working with your horse 3-4 times per week at minimum so that some exercise happens within your paddock. There are always options available. If you use them, the hoof cleaning process will get easier in time.

It can be rather unpleasant to clean out the hoof of a horse who is adventurous. Yet that impacted toxic sludge is also evidence that you and your horse have a great relationship and have been having a great time. Invest a little time and effort into making sure the hoof is clean and the shoe is properly fitted and you’ll be able to make good hoof health part of your regular routine. 

12 Amazing Mongolian Wild Horse Facts

Wild horses have long held a special place in our imagination. For the Mongolian wild horses, it was a place that almost became extinct. At one point, there were less than 20 of these majestic creatures left on our planet and all of them were kept in zoos. In the last two decades, however, there have been efforts to reintroduce these horses back into the wild.

Mongolian wild horses are a very interesting breed of horse to get to know. Here are some additional facts that will help to inspire the imagination.

#1. Mongolian wild horses go by one of two different names. 

The most common name for the Mongolian wild horse is “Prezewalski’s Horse,” named after a Russian explorer who is credited with discovering them in the 1800s. There are mentions of this wild horse in literature that date back more than 300 years, so some prefer to call this breed the Dzungarian horse. Once classified as being extinct in the wild, it has moved in recent years from being classified as critically endangered to just endangered.

#2. Just 9 horses make up the modern foundation stock of the Mongolian wild horse. 

Despite the fact that so few horses are responsible for all of the current Mongolian wild horses that are living on our planet, the breed is considered to be genetically stable. There has been a concerted effort by everyone involved in this breed’s preservation to make it as genetically diverse as possible. A studbook is kept by one of the zoos which helped to keep this breed alive and it tracks the known parentage of every single horse that is alive today.

#3. Mongolian wild horses place an emphasis on family. 

The social structures of the Mongolian wild horse are very similar to the structures that humans put together for themselves. This breed prefers to live with a family unit, which usually comprises a single stallion and then 1-3 mares. Any offspring that is produced by the family will stay with the group for around 2-3 years as well. The family units are permanent.

Then groups of family units will come together to form a herd. These communities will roam around together, searching for food, and providing mutually beneficial protection for each other. Each family unit maintains visual contact will all of their family members at all times and will do the same for the community herd as well.

#4. Young stallions can challenge for control of a family.

Once a youngster reaches the age of 3, they will begin to strike out on their own to find their own family unit. Males generally don’t reach maturity until age 5, so there is a period of 12-24 months where they are typically on their own.

During their search, a young stallion may come across a family unit with an older stallion who could be smaller or weaker. In the social structures of this breed, the younger stallion could challenge for control of the family. If he should win, the mares would go with him – along with any previous offspring that had been born.

Challenges within a family structure may also occur when there are only a handful of horses to form a herd, but this is a fairly rare circumstance.

#5. Mongolian wild horses could be their own species of horse.

The Mongolian wild horses are considered to be the only true “wild” horse that exists. They have never been domesticated. In fact, when comparing them to domesticated horses, there are some distinct genetic differences. One example of this is the number of chromosomes that the wild horses have compared to that of domesticated horses.

Mongolian wild horses have 66 chromosome pairs, while domesticated horses have just 64 pairs. Evidence suggests that the domesticated breeds and the wild horses are closely related and have experienced interbreeding in the past, but each is a distinct species. Their divergence may have occurred as far back as 250,000 years ago.

#6. The last truly wild horses of this breed were seen in 1969.

Up until the late 1700s, the Mongolian wild horses flourished in an area that ran from Northern China, through Mongolian, and then west to Kazakhstan and the Russian Steppes. The last truly wild encounter for these horses occurred in 1969, just north of the Gobi Desert.

For this reason, reintroduction efforts of this horse have occurred within these regions, as well as nature sanctuaries in Europe. This has allowed researchers to study the social and behavioral habits of this breed, allowing them to understand more about how horses think, feel, and make decisions. This research has helped to refine many horsemanship processes that are used with every breed of horse.

#7. Humans and Mongolian wild horses have co-existed for over 10,000 years.

The earliest records of the Mongolian wild horse come from paintings, engravings, and tool decorations that date as far back as the Magdalenian period. Cave drawings throughout Europe and Asia show horses that look remarkably like the Mongolian wild horse. This places the earliest interactions of humans with this breed at 9000 BC.

Some estimates have humans and these wild horses interacting with one another as early as 20,000 BC.

 #8. A Tibetan monk is likely the first to have written about the Mongolian wild horse.

The first known written account of the Mongolian wild horse is within a text that was written by Bodowa, a monk who lived around the year 900. There are additional mentions of this horse in The Secret History of the Mongols, with an encounter dated at 1226.

In Mongolia, wild horses were considered to be a rare and prestigious gift, often offered for special occasions in the 1600s and 1700s. All of this predates the modern “discovery” of this horse, but the name Prezewalski is still most commonly associated with the breed. 

#9. Mongolian wild horses are not considered to be feral, despite the fact that the current breed was kept within zoological environments.

Most wild horses today, including Mustangs and Brumbies, are considered to be feral horses instead of being wild. This is because their lineage comes from horses that were once domesticated. Instead of living in the wild, Mustangs and Brumbies adapted to the wild because of their circumstances.

For the Mongolian wild horse, they remain the only true wild horse, despite the breed being saved through captivity. This is because the social structures of this breed were never altered by captivity.

There are wild equine species, such as zebras, kiangs, and onagers, but when it comes to the actual horse, it is the Mongolian wild horse that stands alone.

#10. The offspring of Mongolian wild horses and domesticated horses is not sterile.

A Mongolian wild horse and a domesticated horse were mated once and their offspring wound up having 65 chromosome pairs. This is consistent with what happens when a domesticated horse and donkeys or zebras are mated together as well. Other equine species have 62 chromosome pairs, so their offspring with a domesticated horse would split the difference and have 63 pairs.

This makes the mule or the zorse be a sterile animal in most circumstances.

For the offspring of the wild horse and a domesticated horse, it can still reproduce despite having one less chromosome pair. This further reinforces the idea that the Mongolian wild horse is its own species in addition to being a horse breed.

#11. Mongolian wild horses have recovered very quickly.

The 9 horses that make up the current breed of Mongolian wild horses were descendants of about 15 captured horses from around the year 1900. Since 1945, when the total known population of this horse was just 13, it has risen to a number that is over 1,500 today.

This recovery is due, in part, to the adaptability of the Mongolian wild horse to different environments. One herd, for example, is thriving on its own in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, having lived there since its introduction in 1998.

#12. Mongolian wild horses are a fairly small and stocky breed.

The Mongolian wild horse is much smaller than most domesticated breeds. The average horse for this breed will stand at a maximum of 14 hands and weigh less than 700 pounds. Under regular classification groupings, this would make the Mongolian wild horse more of a pony, but it is treated as a standard horse.

Most of the horses are dun in color, often having yellow or white coloration around the belly and muzzle to compliment a fairly light brown overall coat. The legs of these horses can be striped and they typically have shorter hair and a longer dock than domesticated horses.

Mongolian wild horses are an incredibly hearty breed, requiring less food and water than the average domesticated horse. This durability has helped the breed be able to recover from near extinction and is now getting the chance to once again thrive out in the wild. They are indeed a rare gift that should be treasured whenever they happen to be seen. 

How to Break a Horse From Bucking

Maybe you’ve heard that when a horse has their head up, it cannot buck. Or perhaps you’ve been told that you should sit deep into the saddle, keeping your heels down and your shoulders back so that you can give the reins a good pull. The fact is that bucking with horses is a tool that has been used by this animal for centuries as a self-defense mechanism. If an attacker is on their back, then the mechanism of bucking protects them so they can begin to escape.

So a horse begins to buck because the pressure of having a rider on their back feels like an attack. To address the bucking behavior, the horse must begin to learn that rider pressure is a safe trigger instead of a warning trigger. This, however, is just one of many reasons why a horse may be bucking at any given time. 

Bucking can also be a form of play for younger horses. Some horses that have high levels of nervous energy might also start bucking to relieve that anxiety. Sometimes a horse may begin bucking because they are experiencing pain.

So when you have a horse beginning to drop the nose, stiffen the forelegs, and shift their weight forward, then you know bucking is about to happen. Here’s how to break a horse from bucking so that you and your horse can be safe.

#1. Make sure that you’re able to relax.

It’s something that’s easy to say now, but very difficult to do sometimes when you’re about to experience a bucking horse. Yet if you’re able to stay relaxed, this emotional energy will transfer over to the horse and provide an added sense of calm. If you start to panic, then you stop thinking about what you’re supposed to be doing as well.

So even if you’re dealing with a horse that bucks severely, make sure that you are breathing and keeping your tone of voice with the horse as calm as possible. Focus on the ride instead of focusing on the bucking. If you are on the horse, then this is where keeping your legs long and your shoulders back will help because it can keep you on the horse.

Do not squeeze your legs or hit the horse with spurs if you happen to be wearing them. This will only give more energy to the horse and increase the ferocity of the bucking behavior.

#2. Flex the horses head instead of forcing it upward. 

By flexing the head of the horse, you will encourage a turn or a tight circle. This stops the fighting between a horse who wants the head down and a rider who wants to keep the head up. Make your rein short because if you pull backward, you can throw off everyone’s balance and end up with the horse on top of you. Pull equally, but with one rein shortened, and you’ll encourage the horse to stop bucking.

#3. Make sure you are moving the shoulders of the horse.

If the horse is focused on making a turn, then there isn’t as much of a focus on bucking. Lead the head into a turn and open your inside rein so that the horse can maintain balance. This forces the weight of the horse to be directed more towards the hindquarters, which will make it more difficult for the bucking behavior to continue. 

#4. Keep the horse moving in a forward direction.

Bucking requires a horse to stop its forward momentum because it must stand on its front legs in order to kick out with the back. Even if the horse decides to jump and spin instead of plant and kick, the forward momentum of the horse is reduced and eventually stopped because the energy of the horse is being put toward bucking instead of moving forward.

If you can flex the head of your horse with a shortened inside rein and hold it in an open position away from the neck, you’ll be able to mobilize the shoulders. This will help to encourage the horse to drive forward, creating a rhythm that can be felt on both sides of the body thanks to the rider pressure. Once this occurs, there is less of a “back attack” trigger in play for the horse, reducing the chances that bucking will occur.

#5. You can also use a pulley rein to stop bucking.

If your horse is being stubborn and doesn’t want to stop bucking, don’t just assume that the horse sees itself as the “herd leader.” It could be that the horse is simply sensitive to back pressure as a trigger and it has a high need to defend itself. In this instance, using a pulley rein may be able to stop the behavior.

You’ll want to shorten both reins. Hold one taut, but not overly tight. Then you can brace your hand next to the horn or the neck. Lift the other rein upwards and sit back deep into the saddle. As you are doing this, use pressure pules to encourage the horse to either shift weight back to the hindquarters or to move the position of the head.

Once you can do this successfully, you can follow the first four options that are listed above.

Should Bucking Behaviors Be Addressed by a Veterinarian?

Bites from flies, mosquitoes, and other insects can start up bucking behaviors faster than you can actually say “bucking behavior.” Pain is often a trigger that starts bucking and the behavior won’t stop until the pain is relieved.

Although the back of a horse can accommodate a rider, not every rider may be mounting a horse properly. If the saddle placement is not correct or the horse feels like the rider is too heavy, bucking behaviors can start because pain is occurring. In this type of situation, removing the pain will stop the behaviors.

This means health issues could be causing the bucking. Instead of intensifying the pain or stress triggers, it may be wiser to dismount and contact your veterinarian to see if there is a health issue that needs to be addressed.

Riders should also be comfortable with the idea of a dismount if they feel unsafe. Sometimes this is seen as giving the horse a “victory.” Dismounting from a bucking horse does not encourage the behavior to continue. It simply gives you the opportunity to address the behavior at a future time when the horse may be more receptive to instruction.

Knowing how to break a horse from bucking often means reading the body language of the horse and then responding to it in an appropriate fashion. Don’t just draw back on the reins and shift your weight backwards to pull up the head. If you do, a strong enough horse might just buck you right off. Follow these steps instead.

14 Interesting Przewalski Horse Facts

In the United States, there is a clear difference between wild horses and feral horses. Many of the herds that are thought of as wild in the US are actual feral, the offspring of horses that were either abandoned, set free, or had escaped from their ownership. When it comes to wild horses, there is really just one true horse breed that exists today and that is the Przewalski Horse.

This breed is named after the man who is credited with their discovery: Nikolai Przhevalsky. He discovered the breed in the 1870s. It was actually discovered earlier than this, but the last name of Nikolai stuck. To be more specific, the Polish spelling of Nikolai’s surname instead of the Russian spelling stuck to the horse despite the fact that he was a Russian explorer. 

Here are some more interesting facts about this truly wild breed of horse.

#1. It is the only species of horse that has never been domesticated. 

Some might argue that all domesticated horses are descendants of the Przewalski breed, genetic evidence shows otherwise. Przewalski horses form their own clade, which means their lineage is separate from those of domesticated horses. This provides evidence to the ancient nature of this breed and how it has been kept separate from horse lineages that are thousands of years old.

What does this mean for modern horse breeds? There may be a common ancestor of both Przewalski horses and domesticated horses, but this would be like saying chimpanzees and humans share a common ancestor as well. It is a species that is not derived from the other.

#2. Przewalski horses have more chromosomes than any other equine species. 

Przewalski horses have 66 pairs of chromosomes, which is 2 more pairs than domesticated horses. This creates an interesting scenario when it comes to breeding Przewalski horses with domesticated horses.

When a domesticated horse breeds with a donkey, the offspring has 63 chromosome pairs and is considered a mule. This is because donkeys have 62 chromosome pairs, so the offspring splits the difference. The same thing occurs when Przewalski horses breed with domesticated horses. The offspring has 65 chromosome pairs, but the odd pair number doesn’t sterilize the offspring as it typically does for a mule.

#3. Przewalski horses are still surviving, but barely.

By 1900, a German merchant had captured almost all of the Przewalski horses that were in the wild. Add in the hunting that occurred with this breed and the numbers were reduced to just 12, with all of them living in two zoos in Prague or Munich. The merchant, named Carl Hagenbeck, specialized in selling exotic animals to zoos. Although his methods were often questioned, his efforts may have unwittingly save this breed.

Today there are above 1,500 Przewalski horses that are alive. About 300 of them were reintroduced into their natural Mongolian habitat in the late 1990s. The herds are protected by living within national parks and nature reserves where hunting is not allowed.

Chinese researchers who also were working on conservation efforts have also reintroduced herds into the Gobi Desert and the Askania Nova reserve in Russia.

#4. This breed is one of the few that were once classified as extinct.

The IUCN once classified Przewalski horses as being extinct in the wild. Around 2010, the horses were officially reclassified as being endangered. This makes them one of the few animal species that were once classified as extinct, but thanks to conservation efforts, have been able to come back and thrive.

#5. The lineage of Przewalski horses is considered to be genetically stable.

Despite the fact that just 9 horses are considered to be the foundation for modern Przewalski horses, their lineage as a breed is genetically stable. Part of this is due to the fact that breeding programs encouraged creating a maximum amount of genetic diversity, but the ancient genetics of this breed may also be playing a part in their dramatic comeback.

The studbook for the entire Przewalski breed is still kept at the Prague Zoo, which was responsible for helping the breed be able to recover. The book lists the parentage of every individual Przewalski horse that is currently known – with the exception of foals that may have been born in the wild after the herds were reintroduced just recently.

#6. Przewalski horses are continuously monitored.

One of the herds that was reintroduced into a natural environment currently lives in Horotbagy National Park in Hungary. Within this park, scientists are observing the Przewalski breed so that they can get to know what their natural behaviors tend to be. By studying their behaviors and social structures, horse management techniques around the world have been improved.

Herds of Przewalski horses tend to structure themselves differently than other “wild” horses. They typically live in family groups only, consisting of a stallion 2-3 mares, and their offspring. Multiple family groups will then come together so that they form a larger herd, which will move together as a community as they search for food.

Colts will live with their family units for 2-3 years. Then they move on to find and form their own family groups.

#7. One Przewalski got to receive a historical first. 

In 1999, the Minnesota Zoo performed a vasectomy on a Przewalski horse. The procedure had been completed before they realized the genetic value of the horse. In 2007, the National Zoo was able to perform a reverse vasectomy on the horse, making it the first time that any endangered animal was successfully treated in such a way.

#8. In 2014, the first artificial birth of this breed was created. 

A Przewalski mare living at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute was artificially inseminated. After a 340-day incubation period, she successfully gave birth to a foal that was named Annie. It was the end result of over 7 years of breed research so that a viable pregnancy could be established and maintained in an artificial environment.

#9. This breed has an incredible sense of smell.

Przewalski horses are able to detect smells that originate from distances that are very far away. They can also detect sounds from great distances, allowing them to protect their family units and their community herds.

#10. Each horse has a fairly consistent look when compared with others.

Przewalski horses tend to be a little smaller when compared to other horse breeds that have been domesticated. Their bodies tend to be rather stocky and their large heads are distinctive of the breed. It’s supported by a thick neck, which sports an upright mane that typically stays fairly short. 

The muzzles for this breed tend to have markings that are colored in pale white, as do the underbellies of the horse. Foals tend to be born with a lighter coloration that turns toward more of a brown dun color when they mature around the age of 3.

#11. Przewalski horses have sharp hooves for a very good reason.

The hooves of Przewalski horses are incredibly sharp compared to other horse breeds. This allows the horse to use their feet to scrape or dig at the ground. It is a technique which allows them to access groundwater tables that are close to the surface.

These horses will also use their hooves in the wild to access food resources. Like all horses, they are grazing animals, so a nice field of grass is their favorite option. They will also use their hooves to pull off bark or leaves from trees, pull fruit from a branch, or access flower buds when in season.

#12. There are no truly “wild” Przewalski herds right now.

All Przewalski horses are being monitored in some way right now. Some herds are being directly monitored, while others are simply protected on reserves, in parks, and other dedicated lands that have been reserved for them. Small groups are slowly being introduced to Mongolia’s grasslands once again, but with farming competition in their way, it is unknown if their natural habitat can actually support their once great numbers that were in the wild.

#13. One community herd of Przewalski horses lives at Chernobyl.

One of the places where Przewalski horses were placed to be away from hunting or poaching activities was the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. The community herd was placed there in 1998 and it is believed that the herd is increasing in size. These horses are the only ones that are not directly monitored on some level, living with complete protection from human interference. 

#14. A French zoo has taken a unique approach to saving this breed.

Le Villaret allows Przewalski horses to choose their own mates and adapt to conditions that are very much like living in the wild. Although the horses that are brought here were born in other zoos, they learn to forage on their own and bring back natural behaviors. This has allowed the reintroduction of the species to occur at a more rapid pace than expected.

These Przewalski horse facts show that when the world comes together with a specific mission in mind, we can create great things. This breed is back from extinction and looks to stay that way.

How Many Breeds of Horses Are There in the World

At the moment, there are 350+ breeds of horses that are currently recognized around the world right now. Each of these breeds is categorized into one of four major groups.

  • Light Horses. This group of horse breeds generally weigh less than 1,300 pounds. They are characterized by thinner legs and smaller bones. Arabians and Morgans are two popular breeds of light horses.
  • Heavy Horses. This group of horse breeds is sometimes referred to as “Draft Horses.” They can weigh up to 3,000 pounds, but most are usually between 1,600-2,000 pounds in size. They feature muscular legs, large bones, and typically have a very mild temperament. Belgians, Shires, and Clydesdales are popular breeds of heavy horses.
  • Ponies. This group of horses stands shorter than other breeds, which is usually less than 14.2 hands in height. Their proportioning and musculature are similar to other breeds, but more reflective of their smaller size. Fjords, Shetlands, and Haflingers are popular breeds of ponies.
  • Feral Horses. These horses are generally semi-wild in nature, are not currently domesticated, and have behaviors that may be unpredictable. In the United States, the primary breed of horse that fits into this category is the Mustang. Przewalski horses are sometimes classified as a feral horse because of their wild, undomesticated nature.

Although these are the primary groupings that are offered for the hundreds of horse breeds that exist today, there are additional methods of classifying horses as well. One of the most popular methods is to classify all breeds of horse based on their personality.

  • Warm Blooded Horses. These tend to be the most popular horses to own. They are generally mild-mannered, but like to work, race, and ride trails. They can be somewhat temperamental from time-to-time, but are generally a straight-forward animal that will tell you exactly what it is feeling. They are often used for discipline competitions such as dressage or equitation.
  • Hot Blooded Horses. These horses tend to be quite energetic, but this also makes them be more nervous than other horses. They can be quite competitive with one another as well, which makes them effective for racing and athletics.
  • Cold Blooded Horses. These horses typically have a mild-mannered disposition. Their work is usually agriculturally-related and they also make for great trail horses. They are heavy-bodied and large-boned.

Any horse breed may have individual animals that fit into any of these categories. The breed as a whole is given the description, however, which is why temperament groupings are usually assigned after the four major groups that are listed above.

What Are the Other Types of Horses?

There are other minor groups of horses that the 350+ different breeds are sorted into as well. These groups are often used if a specific breed does not quite fit into the standards of the major groupings that are used.

  • Miniature Horses. These horses are mature animals that stand at a height of 38 inches or less. Miniature horses in the A division must stand at 34 inches or less, while horses in the B division stand between 34-38 inches. Mature horses that meet these requirements are not usually referred to as ponies, even though that would also qualify.
  • Gaited Horses. Some light horse breeds are bred specifically because of the gait that the animal can achieve. Most horses are able to achieve three standard gaits: the walk, the trot, and the gallop. Some horses, such as the Tennessee Walking Horse, have additional gaits that come naturally other than the standard 3, which may cause them to be grouped into this category instead.
  • Non-Equine Animals. These animals are very closely related to horses and can often interbreed with them. It includes mules, donkeys, and zebras. Mules are a cross between a donkey and a horse. A zorse is a cross between a horse and a zebra. Both of these animals are often sterile.

Then there are horses that don’t really fit into any grouping. This applies to horses that are the offspring of a domesticated horse and a Przewalski horse. Because Przewalski horses have 66 chromosomes and domesticated horses have 64 horses, their offspring has 65 chromosomes. Unlike other crossbreeding scenarios, their offspring can usually reproduce. This would indicate that any offspring in this combination would likely belong to their own grouping.

The number of horse breeds in the world today has been steadily increasing, even though they originally came from just a handful of breeds that were in the ancient world. Through selective breeding practices, we may see many more horse breeds in coming generations.

13 Fun Fjord Horse Facts

The Fjord Horse, which is also referred to as the Norwegian Fjord, is a strong breed of horse that is relatively small in stature. Its natural environment may play a role in its stature as it comes from the mountainous regions of Scandinavia. They are agile as a breed, can be used as a light draught horse, and it is considered to be one of the oldest current breeds still existence in the world today.

It is believed that the Fjord Horse as a breed is at least 4,000 years old. Many also considered it to be one of the purest breeds that is still in existence. Interestingly enough, the Norwegian Fjord isn’t native to its region. Researchers believe that this breed migrated to Norway and was domesticated by the local villages at that point. 

Here are some additional Fjord Horse facts that will help you get to know these fascinating horses in a more personal way.

#1. They only come in one color. 

The coat of the Fjord Horse is only dun in color. The breed association for Fjord Horses does recognize five different shades of the dun color, but there are no alternative shades or colors allowed. As a breed, this makes it one of the most consistent-looking horses that there are in the world today.
The rarest shade of dun for the Fjord Horse is the yellow dun, which creates a stunning look with the yellow coat and a white mane and tail. Red, gray and white are also available shading options. 90% of the horses, however, will be the standard brown dun color.

#2. Almost all white marks make a Fjord Horse unsuitable for breeding. 

The only accepted white mark on a Fjord Horse is a white star on the forehead. All other white markings will disqualify the horse from being able to breed within the registry. Even the white star would be disallowed, except for the fact that one of the foundational stallions within the breed had this mark.

Just about every other horse breed allows several more white markings, which is just another reason why the Fjord has such a consistent appearance from creature to creature.

#3. Even the Vikings kept the Fjord Horse as a pure breed. 

Arabians may be the longest bred horse in terms of quality standards in the world today, but the Fjords are not that far behind. Evidence of selective breeding within this breed dates back over 2,000 years. There is even evidence from Viking burial sites that shows crossbreeding with the Fjord was disallowed.

#4. Appearance is a judgement standard for registry acceptance.

One of the qualifying factors for a Fjord to be accepted as a fully recognized horse with all breeding rights and privileges is “mote.” If a horse doesn’t have mote, then it won’t be allowed to breed, even if it meets all other color and size standards. If a Fjord “has mote,” then it has an appearance that is considered to be striking in the mind of the individuals judging the horse to be included within its association.

To put it another way: you can tell it’s a Fjord Horse because it looks like a Fjord, behaves like a Fjord, and works like a Fjord. If these components do not operate in a harmonious way, then it may not meet the established breed standards. 

#5. The primitive markings of the dun gene are very striking on Fjords. 

The Fjord Horse will often have markings that are directly associated with the dun gene with their coat. This includes a mane and tail that are darker than their standard coat. There may be horizontal stripes along the back of the forearms. Some horses even have transverse striping that runs across their withers. 

Pangare traits are also common within this breed, including lighter hair on the muzzle, belly and the inside of the legs. Some horses may have a lighter coat around their eyes as well. Njal marks, which are brown spots along the body or the head, are considered acceptable because one of the Fjord foundation stallions had these markings as well.

#6. Fjords are strong enough to perform heavy work.

Even during World War II, Fjord Horses were used when work was required in mountainous terrain. Their strength makes them suitable for plowing fields, pulling timber, and other heavy farm work. They are sure-footed as a breed, which makes them a good driving and riding horse as well. It is a breed that is even used as a sporting horse, though most events for Fjords are usually combined driving events.

#7. The Fjord Horse is a popular breed for therapeutic purposes.

There are many facets of a cold-blooded personality within the Fjord breed, though there are a number of warm-blood attributes as well. This combination creates a personality within the breed that is consistently calm and mild-mannered. Adding their smaller stature into account, Fjords are often used as a therapeutic horse for those with disabilities or for children who may benefit from experiential therapy.

Fjords are also used extensively at riding schools because of their overall patience and desire to please others.

#8. At one point, crossbreeding almost destroyed the Fjord Horse.

In the 1800s, a number of horse breeds were being improved through crossbreeding. By using horses that were stronger and taller, breeders believed that the Fjord Horse could be similarly improved. It was decided that crossing Fjords with another local breed, called the Dole, it would create the physical results that were desired.

For a few generations, crossbreeding between Fjords and Doles flourished in Norway. Then certain undesirable traits began to be seen in the new horses. Their coloring was quickly becoming unattractive. Their temperaments were becoming quite fierce. By 1907, it was decided that all Dole blood should be removed from the Fjord breed.

#9. All current Fjords have one stallion in their bloodline if their history is traced far enough back. 

A stallion named Njal (who is responsible for the Njal marks or spots that some horses have) was brought into the breeding programs after it was decided to remove Dole influences from the breed. Njal was born in 1891 and lived for about 12 years, with he and his descendants solely responsible for recovering the Fjord breed.

Because of this, Njal is often considered to be the father of the modern Fjord breed. Every living Fjord today will have him as their ancestor if the lineage is traced back far enough.

#10. Some North American breeding associations do not have the same evaluation programs.

The first Fjords began appearing in the United States around 1900. It would not be until the 1950s when foundation stock was imported to establish the breed in North America. There are currently two breed associations serving Canada and the US, called the National Fjord Horse Registry and the Canadian Fjord Horse Registry. Only purebred Fjords are registered with both organizations.

Unlike their counterparts in Norway, Canadian Fjords are not judged through an evaluation program. The US-based association does perform similar evaluations and will do so for their Canadian counterparts, having performed them since 1983 with a panel of international judges.

#11. A horse must obtain a score of 70 to be considered a “very good” horse. 

Fjord Horses are rated on a scale of 0-100 in terms of their conformation and performance. In order for the horse to be rated as a very good example of the breed, a minimum score of 70 is required. If a horse is able to achieve a score of 80 or above, it is classified as a top quality horse.

#12. Fjord Horses have a reputation for longevity and hardiness. 

A horse by the name of Gjest is still highly active, even though he is in his 30s. He is still even active within his local breeding program. Although Fjords typically stand at a maximum of 14.2 hands and may weigh as little as 900 pounds, their hardiness is never questioned.

Their eyes are round and expressive, being well-set on the head. The head itself is flat and broad at the forehead, while the overall profile should be slightly dished. Their placements should convey a flexing image at the neck and shoulder.

#13. Three types of Fjords are recognized in North America. 

Evaluators who look at Fjords in North America have come to recognize three distinctive body styles for this breed: draft, athletic, and all-purpose. Each horse must reflect the breed standards in temperament and appearance no matter which body classification an evaluator may choose to use for a specific horse.

This is then combined with three good gaits, with particular strengths at the trot and canter. This gives the breed a nice cadence, with balance and energy to spare.

These Fjord Horse facts show that this is a versatile breed of horse that is ready for a trail ride, some farm work, or some driving. Ready, willing, and able, this is a horse that is highly competitive, but mild-mannered, and that often makes it seem like the perfect horse.

How Heavy is a Clydesdale Horse

The size of a Clydesdale horse has changed quite a bit over the last 100 years. In the 1920s, the Clydesdale was a breed that was more compact and even smaller than Shires or Belgians. Since the 1940s, when selective breeding was used to create taller Clydesdales, it has slowly become one of the largest horse breeds in the world today.

When looking at how heavy the modern Clydesdale horse happens to be, the average horse will weigh between 1,800-2,000 pounds. Most Clydesdales stand between 16-18 hands in height. Males tend to be taller and weigh more, with some reaching a height of 20+ hands and weighing between 2,600-3,000 pounds.

Females tend to be at the lower end of the spectrum, often hovering around 16 hands and weighing less than 1 ton. 

A Clydesdale Horse May Be One of the World’s Largest Horses

Published in 2009, The Telegraph reports on a Clydesdale horse that is named Poe. Living on a farm in Tupperville, Ontario, Canada, Poe has been measured at 20.2 hands and weighs a total of 3,000 pounds.

In measurements, a hand is four inches, which means a horse standing at 18 hands would be 6 feet tall at the shoulder. From the ground to the top of his head, however, Poe is an impressive 10 feet in size.

Since a Clydesdale horse can pull its own weight several times over, a horse like Poe was often a prized possession for farmers. Even if the horse could only pull just 5 times its own weight, that would be the equivalent of being able to pull 7.5 tons for Poe. This is one of the many reasons why they were selectively bred for size.

Not only did the taller animals make for a more impressive visual impact, but their strength and leverage were increased as well. 

How Big is the Hoof of a Clydesdale Horse?

In order to support all of that weight, a Clydesdale horse has one of the largest feet of any horse. Just one of their horseshoes is about the same size as your average dinner plate. The horseshoe on its own weighs about 5 pounds. In comparison, the hooves of the average Thoroughbred racing horse are about 25% of this size.

Around the hoof is a lot of hair. This is referred to as “feathering,” which occurs at the spat of the leg, or where it can drape over the hoof. It was originally developed as a way to protect the legs of the horse from difficult farm and work conditions. Today, feathering is usually just for show. Some owners may even prefer to trim the feathers as they can retain moisture and could lead to health conditions like rain rot. 

A lot of food is required to support all of that size as well. The average adult Clydesdale can eat up to 50 pounds of hay every day – and sometimes more, if they have had a day with a heavy workload. They may also eat up to 10 pounds of prepared feed or grains each day in addition to their hay. 

How Much Do Newborn Clydesdales Weigh?

Even the Clydesdale foals are bigger than most other baby horses. After a typical pregnancy of about 11 months, a newborn foal can weigh up to 180 pounds at birth. A mare will then produce up to 100 pounds of milk every day for her new foal. In the first few months of life, it is not unusual for a Clydesdale foal to gain 30 pounds per week.

Despite their size, many Clydesdale horses are very affordable, assuming that their feeding requirements can be met. Most horses will sell for less than $5,000, with many often priced for as little as $1,000. Pricing for Clydesdales is often based on the color, markings, size, and age of the horse. Genetics may also play a factor.

Top-level horses in this breed, however, may often sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Can You Ride a Clydesdale Horse?

Despite their large size, Clydesdale horses can definitely be ridden. Customized equipment is often required to do so, since the bits, bridles, and saddles must accommodate their larger size. This horse typically has a mild temperament, loves to work, and remain calm in virtually any situation.

How heavy is a Clydesdale horse? They might weigh up to 1.5 tons, but most of them are about as gentle as a puppy. If you happen to see one, go on up to it and say hello. Offer a treat if it is allowed. When you do, you’ll be able to make a friend for life.