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.

13 Cool Lipizzaner Horse Facts

The Lipizzaner horse, sometimes called simply the Lipizzan, is a breed that is directly associated with haute ecole dressage. This form of dressage movements is one of the highest levels that current exists and requires the horse to leap off of the ground. One of the top riding schools in the world that teaches this dressage, the Spanish Riding School of Vienna in Austria, is closely associated with this breed of horse. 

Lipizzaner horses have been trained in the same way for hundreds of years, with the first documented training of the breed coming in the 1500s from the Hapsburg nobility. The name of the breed comes from one of the first stud farms for the breed, located in the village of Lipica. In Italian, however, the name of the village is spelled “Lipizza.”

Here are some more interesting Lipizzaner horse facts to discover about this wonderful breed.

#1. Lipizzaner horses have been endangered numerous times. 

With the various wars that have been fought in Europe over the past 500 years, there have been numerous instances when the Lipizzaner breed was almost completely wiped out. One of the reasons why it continues to exist is because of rescue efforts taken by US troops during World War II to save the breed. Walt Disney documented these efforts in the movie Miracle of the White Stallions.

Part of the reason for this endangerment was how private the breeding process was for Lipizzaner horses. Until 1916, the stud farm was a private possession of the Hapsburg family. The horse lines would only expand when a horse needed to be sold or given to someone, which would create other small breeding farms.

#2. Just eight stallions are considered to be the foundation stock of the breed. 

All of the stallions for the Lipizzaner horses were foaled either in the late 1700s or the early 1800s. All modern horses of the breed can trace their lineage to these eight stallions and every breeding stallion has included in their name the foundation sire for their bloodline. Up to 35 mare lines are also recognized through the various breed registries that are maintained around the world.

Each foundation line for the Lipizzaners is referred to as a “dynasty.” There are six dynasties that are considered to be “classical.” Two additional lines are found in Eastern Europe and North America and are considered to be equal to the classic dynasties that are traditionally recognized.

#3. The largest Lipizzaner breed registry has just 11,000 horses. 

The Lipizzan International Federation is, by far, the largest breed member organization for these horses in the world today. It covers horses that are in 19 countries and includes 9 state studs that reside in Europe. Most Lipizzaner horses live in Europe, though some are also on other continents.

There are currently about 1,700 horses that are registered through the Federation in North and South America. Australia and African have about 100 horses registered each.

This includes all qualifying Lipizzaner horses, including those that may not be purebred. The total number of actual purebred Lipizzans in the world today is believed to number fewer than 3,000 and only a handful of foals are born each year from this number.

#4. Although they are often called a “white” horse, Lipizzaner horses are usually gray. 

Most Lipizzaner horses are a grey, somewhat off-white color in terms of their coat. There are some solid color horses in this breed which may be black or bay. These horses have black skin and dark eyes. Most Lipizzans are actually born with a darker coat that becomes whiter as they get older. Their coat reaches a full gray color, which may be almost white, by the time they reach 10 years of age.

Until the 1700s, Lipizzans had many other coat colors, including chestnut, dun, piebald, and skewbald. The royal family preferred the grey coat, so the color became emphasized in breeding during the 18th century. For stables that maintain Lipizzaners, it is a tradition to include at least one solid bay horse in residence.

#5. The history of the Lipizzaner lineage dates back to the 600s.

Lipizzaner horses come from the same stock of other Iberian breeds, such as the Andalusian. This means their origination is traced back to when Barb horses were brought to Spain and crossbred with local stock.

#6. Disease almost decimated the Lipizzaner breed in the 1980s. 

A viral epidemic hit one of the major breeders of Lipizzaners in 1983. The Piper Stud lost 40 total horses and 8% of their expected foals. In the next 10 years, the Stud would grow to 100 mares and by 1994, pregnancy and birth rates rose to over 80% thanks to improved veterinary care available in the area. 

#7. Slovenia recognizes Lipizzaner horses as a national animal. 

This is because Lipizzans are considered to be the only breed of horse that was developed in the country. You’ll find these horses on local euro coins and mounted regiments of law enforcement regularly use this breed. This is despite the fact that the Slovenian Lipizzaner Breeding Association was not established until 1991.

Today visiting the stud farm in Lipica is one of the primary tourist attracts that the nation offers. Not only is it one of the oldest still operating stud farms in the world, guided tours are regularly available for visitors to be able to get to know this majestic breed.

#8. The training methods for Lipizzaner horses is thousands of years old. 

Much of the training that is used by the Spanish Riding School and others who focus on the Lipizzaner breed comes from Xenophon of Athens. He was a writer in Ancient Greece who studied the attitudes and psyche of horses in great detail. Much of his work was initially lost, but it was rediscovered in the 1500s and much of it is very applicable still today. 

Xenophon was a student of Socrates and recorded the history of his time, including the aftermath of several wars. He was also a mercenary soldier and is one of the few people of his era to hold citizenship in both Athens and Sparta. Athens would eventually exile him for this, as well as possibly other causes, and his work on horsemanship is considered the earliest extant works that is known.

#9. Lipizzaner horses have a relatively long lifespan. 

The average expected lifespan for a healthy Lipizzaner is around 30-35 years. This is about 5-10 years longer than the average horse breed. They are generally mild-tempered, though not considered to be a cold-blooded horse. Formal training for a Lipizzaner horse does not even begin until the horse reaches the age of 5. 

#10. Because of the naming rules, there can be several duplicate names. 

Not only do stallions need to have the name of the foundation stallion as the first part of their name, the dam must be the second part of the name. Mares are also traditionally given names that must end with an “A.” Because of this, there can be several duplications of a name, especially within certain breeding programs.

When this occurs, the horses are distinguished with Roman numerals after their names, much like the traditional family names over multiple generations.

Horses that are only part Lipizzan are not allowed to carry on the naming traditions as the purebred horses.

#11. Lipizzaner horses are usually not very tall. 

Most Lipizzaner horses reach a height of 14.2-15.2 hands when they reach a full adult stage, which makes them a fairly average horse in that regard. Some Lipizzans are able to reach a height that exceeds 16 hands. 

What makes this breed stand out is the crested neck, muscular hind quarters, and its powerful legs and shoulders. The joints are sturdy and the tendons have good definition, which is what allows the horse to perform the advanced dressage air movements.

Lipizzaner horses also have ears that are small, but remain alert, and eyes that are both large and appealing. Their convex nose provides evidence of their Spanish upbringing, as does the compact body. 

#12. Despite their general rarity, purchasing a Lipizzaner horse is rather affordable. 

Many Lipizzaner horses are available for around $5,000. This makes this breed one of the most affordable breeds that is considered to be “rare” in the world today. Several breeding programs throughout the world make it possible for virtually everyone who wants a Lipizzaner horse to be able to have one.

#13. Lipizzaner horses which do not excel in dressage are still highly coveted. 

Although the first purpose of this breed is typically for show, Lipizzaner horses are a very flexible breed. Those that are not suitable for school training go on to become excellent driving horses, fantastic hunters, and small-event horses. 

These Lipizzaner horse facts show that with careful training, selective breeding, and careful management, it is possible to have a highly intelligent, strong, and skillful horse that can do almost anything. This makes this breed of horse one of the most popular and sought after breeds in the world today. 

How to Treat Laminitis in Horses

Laminitis is a very painful condition that horses can develop. It is a disease that can be potentially crippling and even be life-threatening in severe cases. To know how to treat laminitis in horses means understanding what it is and why it occurs.

For the hoof wall of the horse, there is a layer of outer insensitive tissues and a layer of inner tissues that are very sensitive. The outer layer is referred to as the “horn,” while the inner layer is called the “laminae.” When laminitis occurs, it affects how much blood flows to the sensitive inner tissues. This results in swelling and inflammation within the hoof of the horse.

This swelling also causes intense pain for the horse, which causes the animal to stop moving around.

As the condition continues, the inner tissues become starved of oxygen. This causes them to begin deteriorating and they will eventually die if oxygenated blood flow is not restored to the area. It requires immediate treatment to prevent cell death. You will typically find laminitis in the front feet, but it can occur in any hoof. 

If the laminitis is allowed to continue, it may cause the pedal pone to protrude from the sole of the foot. It will sing and then rotate because the inner tissues have died and cannot support it any more. Once this occurs, many cases of laminitis cannot be reversed.

All horses are at risk for developing laminitis.

What Are the Causes of Laminitis?

Laminitis can be caused by a number of different conditions and factors. Some horses may even be genetically predisposed to the development of this condition. The most common factor, however, is weight. Horses that are overweight have a higher risk for laminitis compared to horses of normal weight. A previous case of laminitis also increases the risk of this condition developing.

Here are some of the other causes of laminitis that may be worth examining so an effective treatment plan can be developed.

Stress: Horses that travel frequently or experience continual changes of environment experience stress triggers that may result in laminitis. Mares also experience stress triggers as a result of foaling.

Diet: Horses which have a diet full of starch and sugars cause a reduction of oxygen within the blood. This is due to excess sugars being passed through the gut. This oxygen reduction then causes laminitis to begin.

Infection: Horses that have a severe bacterial infection may see oxygen changes in their blood that can result in laminitis. This also applies to severe instances of colic, prolonged diarrhea, or placenta retention.

Concussion: Horses that are working on hard surfaces for a prolonged period of time can damage the hoof. This risk is increased if the horse has poor-quality hooves. The trauma creates cell damage and this results in a case of laminitis.

Genetics: A horse that has been diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease is at a higher risk of developing laminitis. This is because of a pituitary gland issue which causes extreme hunger and thirst in the horse.

What Are the Symptoms of Laminitis?

Laminitis symptoms are generally separated into acute cases and chronic cases of this condition.

In acute laminitis, the symptoms occur suddenly and can be very severe. The horse may have an immediate desire to lie down. There may also be a reluctance to walk or an unwillingness to stand up. The horse will be visibly lame, especially when walking on a hard surface, and may lean to one side in order to relieve pressure from the affected hoof.

Horses with acute laminitis will also walk more on their heels to prevent placing pressure on the affected tissues.

In chronic laminitis, less severe symptoms are usually present in comparable ways to acute laminitis. The symptoms will be ongoing and may come in “cycles” or “attacks” during a flare-up of tissue damage. You will notice that the affected hoof will have growth rings around the hoof wall and the heel tends to grow faster than the toe.

How to Effectively Treat Laminitis in Horses

If the symptoms of laminitis are seen, then it is necessary to call your veterinarian immediately. Your vet will create a treatment plan that must be followed exactly. A correct treatment must be given in order to prevent long-term damage to the inner tissues of the hoof.

Before the vet arrives, you can move the horse to a smaller stable, pen, or area. Provide a deep bed that is soft so that painful pressure is not applied to the sensitive tissues. You will want to use bedding that can form around the hoof and frog so that the horse has standing supports.

Feed should be removed, but water that is clean and fresh should always be provided to prevent colic from developing as well. After the examination, your veterinarian will recommend a specific diet to follow as part of the treatment plan.

Because stress is a major trigger for laminitis, especially after it begins, it becomes important to make the horse be as comfortable as possible. This includes making sure that a favorite companion is nearby.

Do not expose the hoof to cold water. The myth that cold water helps to treat laminitis is one that needs to be addressed. The cold water seems to work initially because it helps to reduce the swelling and inflammation that is within the hoof. This is why many owners will have their horse stand in a cold stream or use a cold-water hose to cover the hoof. The cold water also constricts blood vessels, preventing even more oxygen from reaching the sensitive inner tissues, so it will hasten cell death.

You may need to take your horse for x-rays to determine if any rotation has occurred. You may also need to bring in your farrier so that a rotation can be addressed, if possible, and to create the best possible conditions for a future recovery.

How to Prevent Laminitis in the First Place

One of the easiest ways to prevent laminitis is to promote a healthy weight for each horse. Monitor the diet of each horse carefully and feed according to breed, type, and workload. Feed little and often for best results. Never starve a horse.

Implementing a good exercise program will also help to prevent obesity if one is not in place already.

Horses also need regular attention from a farrier or a knowledgeable owner. A visit should occur every 4-8 weeks, depending on the breed of horse. This will make sure that each hoof is always as healthy as possible and will catch cases of laminitis early.

Knowing how to treat laminitis in horses can help you stop a disease that can be very painful and extremely debilitating. Prevention is always the best option, but if it does occur, make sure your veterinarian knows right away so that together you can stop this disease quickly.

18 Interesting Arabian Horse Facts

Arabian horses are one of the oldest breeds that are known. It is often considered to be the first domesticate breed of horse and is recognized as being over 5,000 years old. Originally bred in the Middle East, Arabians are now throughout the world and the oldest purebred horse in the world today. Many of today’s “modern” breeds have Arabian genetics at some point within their bloodlines.

Here are some additional fascinating Arabian horse facts so that a greater familiarity with this very popular breed can be obtained.

#1. Arabians are known for the physical endurance. 

The original Arabians were bred by the Bedouin tribes along the Arabian Peninsula. Dating as far back as 3000 BC, they used their horses for travel and war because of their physical endurance. Arabians have a large lung capacity and great strength, giving them the ability to travel long distances in desert conditions without much difficulty.

#2. All Arabian horses have the same physical trait. 

Arabian horses always have black skin underneath their coat. The only exception to this skin trait is when there is white hair as part of the coat. It is believed that this skin color developed as a way for the horse to be protected from the hot desert sun that is present in the Middle East.

#3. Arabians are usually bay in color. 

Bay is the most common coat color for this horse breed. Other color variations include black, grey, chestnut, and roan. Some Arabians may have palomino coloring, but this coat color may not be recognized as part of the breed standard and could prevent the horse from being registered.

#4. The skeleton of an Arabian is different than any other horse. 

Horses today have skeletons that offer 18 pairs of ribs and 6 vertebrae. Arabians have one fewer vertebrae and two fewer ribs. This hasn’t affected their overall height or stature when compared to other horses, however, as the average Arabian will stand at least 14.1 hands in height and weigh between 850-1,000 pounds.

#5. Arabians were once given the nickname the “Drinkers of the Wind.” 

This nickname was due to their overall speed, strength, and endurance. During the later days of the Egyptian empire, these horses were often used to pull chariots. Sometimes they may have even been used for racing in addition to the benefits of having an Arabian around for transportation needs.

#6. There are specific breed racing events held in the US for Arabians. 

Arabian horse racing events that are breed-specific have existed in the United States since 1959. The average race for Arabians is 6 furlongs and the biggest event of the year is the Arabian Cup Championship. Arabian racehorses are one of the most affordable racing investments that exists in this part of the horse industry, with the average price for a racing horse falling between $5,000-$20,000 in most circumstances.

#7. More than 500 horse shows for Arabians are held every year. 

In the US, more than 500 sanction Arabian Horse Association events are held annually. These events are sanctioned by the US Equestrian Federation and several different competitions are available for the breed. This includes equitation, sidesaddle, and dressage. Each horse that competes accumulates points toward various achievement awards.

#8. Arabian horses have several genetic concerns as a breed. 

There are 7 specific genetic disorders that commonly affect this breed of horse, which is more than average for modern horse breeds today. This includes cerebellar abiotrophy, lavender foal syndrome, juvenile epilepsy, and Wobbler’s Syndrome. Certain immune system disorders are also common within this breed, as are certain physical malformations.

#9. Arabians are one of the few breeds of horses that can actually dance. 

Dancing might be too strong a term, considering the techniques used for dancing are more like dressage techniques and show gaits. The tradition of dancing Arabians, however, dates back for more than a century and is often included as an informal part of shows around the world.

#10. Arabian horses are a foundational component of many myths and legends. 

There are several stories that involve Arabian horses that have been offered throughout history. It is said that King Solomon was gave an Arabian stallion as a gift and every hunt that included this horse was successful. Another says that the Prophet Muhammad had five mares return to him after he set his herd loose to drink at an oasis and these mares became the five strains of Arabian horse.

Another says that an angel told the wind to stop swirling, so it gathered itself and the dust into a horse that would become the first Arabian.

#11. The lineage of many Arabian horses can be tracked for hundreds of years. 

For the Bedouin tribes, the ancestry of each horse was tracked through oral traditions. Crossbreeding horses with “non-pure” blood was expressly forbidden. The Bedouins didn’t believe in gelding male horses either, so very few colts were kept and this helped to increase the strength of the Arabian bloodline while providing foundational genetics for several other horse breeds.

#12. Arabian horses were introduced to Europe because of war. 

It is believed that the earliest horses with Arabian genetics came to Europe in the late 1000s because of wars that were being fought. When armies from Europe invaded Palestine, including during the years of the Crusades, the victorious knights would often return home with Arabians as part of their victory. As larger horse breeds were developed, Arabians then became light cavalry horses that were used for war until the 1900s.

#13. The rapid increase of Arabians in Europe came from a single failed attack. 

In 1522, the Ottoman Empire sent more than 300,000 horse-mounted troops into northern Europe. The goal was to conquer Hungary and the surrounding region. The Hungarians, joined by the Polish armies, were able to defeat the Ottoman advance in 1529 near Vienna and captured a majority of the horses brought in the process. Many of these horses would become foundational bloodstock for Europe’s major studs.

#14. One breeding operation had a profound effect on the Arabian breed. 

The Crabbet Park Stud was one of the most influential breeding operations in all of Europe. It was started in 1877 and numerous trips were taken to the Middle East so that the best Arabians could be brought back to England for breeding. Over nearly 100 years, this program would breed and export world-class Arabians around the world, having a dramatically positive impact on the breed.

The only thing that stopped the Crabbet Park Stud was the creation of a motorway through the property that forced its sale. This dispersed the horses and ended the program that arguably made the modern Arabian the horse that it is today.

#15. In the early 1900s, the Arabian breed was almost completely decimated. 

The Russian Revolution stopped almost all breeding programs for Arabians under their control. World War I stopped most breeding programs as well. In Europe, there were believed to be just 17 purebred Arabians that remained by 1932 that were documented in studbooks. More studs were lost or destroyed in the aftermath of World War II. At one point in Europe, just three breeding programs were operational.

#16. The end of the Cold War brought a recovery in the Arabian breed. 

Arabian horses were rare in the Americas until 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed. Those that were in the Americas were often half- or quarter-breed horses. The few pureblood Arabians that did get imported were highly prized and sought after. It wouldn’t be until the 1990s when breeding programs in the West would be started.

This added interest and breeding caused the formation of the World Arabian Horse Association to be formed around the time the European Union was formed. Today Arabian horses can be traded all over the world.

#17. George Washington rode a half-Arabian mount in the Revolutionary War. 

One of the primary mounts for General George Washington was named Blueskin. He was a half-Arabian who was believed to be sired by a stallion that was owned by the Sultan of Morocco. There is a rich tradition of owning Arabians in the Presidential lineage of the US. Martin Van Buren received two Arabians in 1840 as a gift and Ulysses S. Grant receive an Arabian stallion as a gift as well.

#18. All American Arabians were lost after the Civil War. 

There was an effort to breed Arabians in the United States in the mid-1800s. A. Keene Richard was known to specifically breed Arabians, but all of his horses were lost during the Civil War. He was also suspected of crossbreeding Arabians and Thoroughbreds. There are no known purebred descendants.

With their high tail carriage and the height of how they carry their head, Arabians continue to be one of the most distinctive horse breeds in the world today. These Arabian horse facts show that even if a breed is ancient, it still has the power to influence the modern world in many ways.

How to Treat Colic in Horses

If you suspect that your horse may be suffering from the pain and discomfort of colic, then it is necessary to contact your veterinarian right away. Horses are unable to vomit, so colic is the result of something that is passing through their gastrointestinal tract that may not supposed to be there. Without treatment and attention, the intestines of the horse may shift or twist, creating life-threatening circumstances.

Colic is also relatively common and horses can suffer from several different types. This means the symptoms being experienced by the horse may vary in severity. Even if there is just mild discomfort being displayed, however, any type of colic should be treated as a medical emergency.

What Are the Symptoms of Colic?

Horses respond to colic in many different ways. Some animals may appear to be unaffected by the discomfort and continue on with their daily routine as if nothing is wrong. Others may become lethargic and may roll around on the ground. Pawing and rolling are two common behaviors that are seen when colic is present.

Some horses that are suffering from colic may also develop an inability to pass waste products. A lack of defecation should be reported to a veterinarian immediately.

These additional generalized symptoms of equine colic may also be noticed. 

  • Anxiety that is above and beyond what the horse normally displays.
  • A lack of appetite and thirst, which may include playing with their food or their water bucket.
  • A pulse rate that is abnormally high, sometimes 50+ beats per minute.
  • Excessive sweating that is combined with the horse constantly looking at its flanks.

Horses suffering from colic may also make frequent attempts to urinate in order to stimulate movement in their gastrointestinal tract. Upon examination, normal gut noises may not be present with the horse.

Certain types of colic can also produce specific symptoms.

Spasmodic Colic: This gas-based form of colic produces loud gut sounds and makes the horse become very anxious. There will be frequent attempts to roll around, though the actual painful symptoms may be sporadic in nature.

Impact Colic: This form of colic prevents fecal production due to an impacted colon. This will create dark mucus membranes and a long-term reluctance to eat. The horse will also experience a drop in body temperature.

How Do I Know if My Horse is Suffering from Colic?

There are three key factors to look at in determining if a horse may be suffering from colic: their heart rate, their respiratory rate, and the color of their mucus membranes. Any changes to the baseline of these factors, when combined with the other symptoms of colic, are a good indication that the next step should be a phone call to the veterinarian.

Once your vet has arrived, there are a series of examination and diagnostic procedures that may take place. This includes an evaluation of gut sounds, along with another evaluation of the horse’s vital signs. If the pain is severe, a sedative may be given. Then there will be a thorough interview regarding the behavior of the horse over the past few days.

A rectal exam may be necessary to make sure a portion of the colon has not become twisted. A nasogastric tube may also be introduced so that fluids and be directly administered to the stomach of the horse. In severe instances, a stomach tap to collect fluids that are building up may also be required so that the direct cause of the colic can be determined.

After the examination has been completed and colic is the diagnosis, your veterinarian will work with you to develop a specific treatment plan to address the issue.

What Are the Different Treatments Available for Colic?

The cause of colic will always dictate what the treatment will be.

One of the most common first treatments for colic is the administration of an analgesic. Banamine is one that is commonly used. It is introduced for virtually all cases of colic because it helps to control the abdominal pain that is being experienced by the horse.

If gas is considered to be one of the causes of colic, the nasogastric tube can be used to relieve gas pressure at the same time it provides a hydration option for the horse. Depending on the severity of dehydration, an IV line may be given to the horse as well.

For colic that is caused by an impacted colon, the only way to relieve the pain is to remove the impaction. The first step in this process is to administer some type of laxative to the horse, which is usually offered in the form of mineral oil. Then the horse must be kept off of its feed until the impaction can be released. Once defecation occurs, the symptoms of colic will typically begin to fade and then disappear.

Sometimes the colic can cause a loop in the bowels or cause the colon to twist. In this circumstance, the only treatment solution is surgery. If the loop or twist is not resolved, then the health of the horse will be at-risk. This is why every case of colic should be treated as a medical emergency. 

How to Be Proactive Against Colic

Colic can often be resolved with minimal interventions. Deny food to the horse based on your vet’s recommendations and administer any medications that are recommended to ease the symptoms being experienced. Then, as the horse recovers, be sure to return them to their daily routine slowly and methodically. Make sure to watch for abdominal pain symptoms that may reoccur.

Sometimes horses will appear to suffer from colic for no known reason. This is why being proactive in preventing colic can often stop a painful episode from every starting in the first place. 

The best thing to do for every horse is to make sure they always have access to water that is fresh and clean. When winter comes and the water turns to ice, this increases the risks of the horse suffering from an impaction colic incident. Horses are very picky about their water and don’t like drinking very cold water. Purchasing a water heater can be a great investment.

Horses also need a lot of roughage in their diet since they are a grazing animal. Receiving too many grains and sugars without access to the bulk of hay or grazing can promote gaseous forms of colic. Combine this with regular dental checkups to make sure the horse can properly grind its food for best results.

But grazing also needs to be controlled. Sending a horse out to pasture with lush Spring grass is like putting a large birthday cake in front of a toddler and letting them eat as much as they want. Grazing should be a slow process and it may need to be controlled.

In following these steps, you’ll be able to know how to treat colic in horses. Always contact your veterinarian for consultation, even if you feel that you’re sure about what to do, so that the health of the horse can be protected.

16 Amazing Falabella Horse Facts

Falabella horses have a well-developed blood line with foundations from Andalusian and Iberian horses. Descended from horse stock in South America, this breed was developed in isolated conditions throughout much of the 1800s. This has led to a breed of horse that is equally proportioned to all other horse breeds, but one with one key difference: size.

A formal breed registry for Falabella horses was created in the 1940s and this effort has helped to stabilize the characteristics of the breed. In the first days of the registry, a Falabella horse conformed to breed standards when they stood at 40 inches. Today the breed standard hovers 10 inches below this. 

#1. Falabella horses are one of the smallest breeds in the world today. 

This horse seldom stands taller than 8 hands. In comparison, the average height for most other horse breeds is around 15 hands. This makes it qualify in size for “pony” status, but the breed is actually classified as a miniature horse.

#2. Falabellas weigh about the same as a large dog. 

The average weight of a Falabella horse is about 70 pounds. This makes it about the same overall size as a large house dog. It also means this breed is one of the lightest ones that exists today, coming in at over 950 pounds lighter than the average horse. 

Unlike dogs, however, the Falabella horse doesn’t typically show a craving for personal attention from their owner. They prefer to remain focused on the tasks that they are asked to complete. These horses are affectionate, but they prefer grooming and personal activities more than snuggling and games.

#3. Most US-based Falabella horses have the same bloodline. 

Most of the miniature horses that are approved for meeting breed standards in the United States come from just 12 stallions. This is because the first horses of this breed were not brought into the US until 1962. A winery in California purchased a dozen stallions from John Aleno and they were used to drive a small stagecoach in local parades as a way to promote their wine.

#4. A direct descendent of the breed founder started the breed registry. 

Julio Falabella is credited as being the first to create a formal registry for Falabella horses. The association was officially called the Falabella Horse Breeders Association.

#5. Several color variants and patterns meet breed standards. 

Falabella horses are most commonly black or bay in color. This breed is also known to have palominos, pintos, and other spotted patterns. The genetics within the breed also allow for some of the Falabellas to resemble miniature Appaloose horses, though this is a rather rare circumstance.

#6. Falabella horses are one of the most consistent breeds available today. 

Falabella horses are known for passing down their temperament to their offspring. Conformation and sizing is also consistently passed along from parents to foal. The foals of this breed are incredibly small, often standing just 12 inches tall at birth. It typically requires a Falabella horse 3 years for it to reach its mature adult size.

#7. It is possible to ride Falabella horses. 

Because of their size, most people cannot ride a Falabella horse. The exception to this rule is small children, which can make it a good early training horse for some toddlers. Most Falabella horses are considered to be in-hand show horses, but they can be taught to drive carts. Show jumping is also a competitive exercise for this breed, though the jumping occurs without a rider.

#8. Falabella horses make excellent guide animals. 

Due to their intelligence and relatively small size, Falabella horses can be trained to make an excellent guide animal. They can adapt to several disabilities and provide protections, insight, and assistance to those who may need extra help throughout their day. 

This makes younger horses within this breed a valued commodity, though older horses are typically available in most communities. Older horses may be priced at $750, but younger horses may be priced at $10,000 or more based on their training and conformity.

In order for a Falabella to qualify as a guide horse, it must pass certain standards. It must stand less than 26 inches at the withers for accessibility. There must also be no health issues or genetic defects that could affect the future health of the horse. 

#9. This breed is considered to be a warm-blooded horse. 

Falabella horses have the agility of larger breeds, a certain quickness for their size, and other hot-blooded features, but the milder temperament of cold-blood breeds. A Falabella is generally a healthy horse breed, though some horses in this breed may be undersized compared to their already small adult size conformation. 

Most Falabella horses, assuming they remain healthy and receive consistent care, can live well beyond 30 years. There are some instances of Falabella horses living well into their 40s.

#10. Falabella horses can be kept inside. 

Although these horses will often live in stables with larger breeds, the Falabella horse is also small enough to be kept inside. With regular bathing and grooming, their presence is virtually odor-free indoors. Certain homes may wish to look at fitting their horse with rubber shoes or sneakers to prevent falls or damage to floors if they are going to be kept inside as a guide animal or a pet.

#11. Falabella horses eat the same things as other “regular” horse breeds. 

Falabella horses are a grazing animal, so they prefer natural grasses and grains as part of their diet. Because of their size, the amount of “pasture” this horse needs are very minimal. A typical backyard will often produce enough grass for a single horse. Owners may need to provide trace mineral and salt supplements, however, to make sure the horse is able to meet its daily diet regimen.

#12. This breed of horse has a very severe sweet tooth. 

Falabella horses love to eat sweet things. In a domestic environment, they can often learn how to access sweets that are stored in cabinets, closets, and even the refrigerator. Their favorite foods tend to be apples and sweet cereals, but this breed has also been known to steal a can of soda, eat candies, and will go to great lengths to steal chocolate if it happens to be around.

Because of this extreme sweet tooth, owners of Falabellas must be very careful about where they store sweets and how many they feed to the horse. The threat of an injury from trying to access sweets can be severe in some homes and the added calories from these sweets can be detrimental to the overall diet of the horse.

#13. Colic is a major problem for Falabella horses. 

Although Falabella horses are a very hardy breed, their desire to pursue sweets can also put them at a high risk of colic. Since a horse cannot vomit, anything the horse eats must pass through their digestive tract. The size of the Falabella makes a colic incident more serious and is the reason why it is the most common cause of preventable deaths within the breed.

#14. Falabealla horses establish a social order the same way other horses do. 

This small horse breed might look sweet and cuddly, but they still have the same behavioral issues and social order establishment procedures as other horse breeds. They will kick, bite, and be aggressive in other ways. The owner must become the “pack leader” for a successful experience. This also means that horses which show consistent aggressiveness will not qualify to become guide animals.

#15. Falbella horses do not get fleas. 

For whatever reason, fleas are not attracted to miniature horses. This makes them a safe addition to virtually any home as a pet or a guide animal. These horses do shed twice per year and require a farrier to trim their hooves about every other month, but otherwise their care needs are rather minimal.

#16. Dwarfism isn’t a health concern with the Falabella breed. 

Many veterinarians believe that all miniature horse breeds, including the Falabella, have some genetic markers that come from equine dwarfism. Thanks to the in-breeding and selective small-horse breeding from other breeds in the foundational days of the Falabella, the health effects from dwarfism are minimized and often non-existent.

There are more than 300 different types of equine dwarfism that are none to exist. The one issue that owners do face is a high incidence of birth defects and delivery issues simply because of the levels of in-breeding that once occurred with this breed.

These Falabella horse facts are a fun way to get to know this small breed in a better way. They are friendly horses, can make an excellent pet, and are a wonderful companion animal to children and those who may have physical disabilities. In many ways, they can even be a lifelong companion due to their longevity. 

Their intelligence can sometimes make for difficult ownership moments, but overall, if you ask a miniature horse owner about their daily routine, they wouldn’t change a thing. 

How to Steer a Horse with Reins

Steering is one of the fundamental skills that are needed for riding a horse. This means knowing how to steer a horse with reins is a skill that every rider should learn. The only problem is that if you ask 100 training professionals what they believe is the best way to steer a horse, you’ll receive 100 different answers.

To some extent, every horse will steer a little differently. This is especially true when looking at the reins as your main steering option. Yet with a few simple strategies, you can maintain your balance, provide the horse with the cues it needs, and remain in control. All you need to do is focus on these fundamentals. 

#1. You might be using the reins, but you must also use your body.

The reins are just one part of the equation when it comes to being able to steer a horse. You must also be able to use your body to communicate to the horse what you want it to do. When you are able to maintain a proper balance and alignment, the pressure you are able to apply with your positioning combines with the communication being provided to the horse through the reins. This allows the horse to understand the steering command and head in the correct direction.

It will be helpful to angle your legs so that they are under your hips to encourage additional steering cues as you use the reins. Don’t keep a tight grip on the horse in this position, but do maintain your own balance. 

#2. Keep your shoulders stacked over your hips.

One of the most common mistakes that occurs when steering a horse is that the rider moves forward in order to move the reins back in order to steer. This puts the rider into a vulnerable position. Your back is no longer stable and your center is off-balance. At the same time, when you move forward on a horse, this adds weight to the front of the horse.

There are two concerns that happen when you place forward weight on the horse.

  1. It often causes the horse to believe that you wish to go faster.
  2. It makes it more difficult for the horse to actually follow the steering commands that you’re trying to give.

By making sure your shoulders stay stacked over your hips, you’ll be able to maintain a better overall balance. This will then give you the opportunity to communicate better through the reins so the horse will steer in the direction you wish.

#3. Look where you want to go.

Think “chin up.” Look in the direction where you wish to go. The amount of weight that is in the skull can actually offset your balance when steering the horse. Many riders tend to look down while riding and this creates a different communication cue through the reins than if the head of the rider was in a more upward position.

How you look in the direction where you wish to go also matters. If you make a quick snap of the head so you’re looking at where you wish to steer, then this “immediacy” will cause the horse to sense the emotional state and react accordingly. If you seem anxious, upset, or frustrated, then this emotion transfers to the horse and steering through the reins becomes more difficult.

Think about making small, light head movements instead. Maintain what might be called a “soft” gaze. This confidence will then give the horse extra confidence.

#4. Make sure that you’re using your hips with the reins.

As you’re steering a horse, maintaining your balance and keeping your chin up, you’ll feel the movement of the horse within the hips. By applying gentle pressure with the hip while applying gentle pressure with the rein, you’ll give the horse the communication cues it needs to understand the direction you wish to head.

At this point, you will either have a horse that willingly responds to what you’re asking or you will have a horse that begins to pull its head down. Bringing the head down is a way to throw a rider off-balance. When you are off-balance, then you do not have the same steering control through the reins.

Instead of correcting the horse if you feel a pull, remember the basics of balance and then maintain them. This will help you to be able to know how to steer a horse with reins even when the horse may have a different direction in mind.

#5. Squeeze your legs as you execute a steering command.

With your shoulders and hips stacked and balance achieved, issue the steering command through the reins as you squeeze the horse with your legs. Squeeze behind the girth of the leg which is outside of the turn you wish the horse to make. To turn right, you would be using your left leg in combination with the reins.

At the same time, use your inside leg as you rotate your hips into the turn to apply pressure to the girth of the horse. This movement should correspond with pressure on the reins on the inside of the turn as well.

Think of your position as a straight line. If you wish to turn left, then you would have left rein pressure, left inside girth pressure, and right outside girth pressure. Turning right would create the opposite need. Each cue then creates a straight line through you as the rider to encourage the turn.

#6. Remember to control the speed of the horse.

When you begin to turn, no matter how balanced you may be, you are in a more vulnerable position than if you were riding straight. This makes it necessary to control the speed of the horse as the steering command occurs. You can do this by moving your hips with the movement of the horse.

If the turn is occurring while the horse is in a trot, it will be necessary to control your “bounce” in addition to the steps described above. You do not want to be moving up and down as you communicate the need to make a turn because this may confuse the horse. Move gently with the movements of the horse instead and this will help you to be able to achieve the control you need.

Although knowing how to steer a horse with reins is an essential skill, it is one that is best achieved when you put your whole body into it. Just tugging on the reins to turn the horse’s head will not guarantee the movement you want and it may irritate the horse to an extent that refusals begin to occur. Stay in control, keep your balance, and you’ll be able to steer with regularity.