1) The measurement ‘hand’ is 4 inches because that was considered to be the average width across a mans knuckles. One of the best questions to ask the young clients.
2) The Flehmen response is a way to direct scents in the air to specialized olfactory glands at the end of the nasal passage, and is is seem more in males than females, especially stallions. I most often see this when I let the horses eat a bit of human food – Otis`s favourite at the moment is malt loaf, and Llani loves the smell of cinnamon!
3) In Australia there were no horses until 1788. I assume that the British are responsible for introducing horses to Australia.
4) Human hair, fingernails and horse hooves are made from the same protein. I believe this is keratin.
5) Horses hooves grow approximately 1/4 inch per month, taking almost a year to grow from the cornet band to the ground. A livery horse at our yard had a keratoma removed in January and the hole is still growing out.
6) A horse trailer or ‘horse box’ was invented in England in 1836 by Lord George Bentinck. Pulled by six horses it was invented to get his race horses from one track to the next. This is interesting as I always assumed the horsebox came after the car.
7) When measuring height you use the top of the withers because the distance from the withers to the ground remains the same. (As long as the horse is standing on level ground.) If the horse was measured from the top of the head, the height could change every time. I like demonstrating this to the kids by getting them to measure the ponies` heights at different places in their body.
8) Alfalfa is thought to be the first cultivated food fed to horses by humans, probably the Parthians, around 100 b.c.
9) The first grain thought to be domesticated, and probably the first to be given to horses was barley.
10) In 1872, Leland Stanford (1824-1893) made a bet that at some point in the gallop all four of the horses legs are off the ground at the same time. Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904) proved him right by using a series of 24 cameras and photographing a racehorse named Sallie Gardner. It`s amazing that someone could predict the sequence of gallop without the aid of video footage and a rewind button!
11) Aristotle (384-322 b.c.) in the 4th century b.c. described the sequence of the horses footfalls at a walk correctly
12) William Cavendish (1592-1676) described the trot and the amble. The first person to record the difference between the canter (3 beats) and the gallop (4 beats) was Claude Bourgelat 1712-1777) but he got the sequence wrong. Etienne-Jules Marey in 1872 was the first to publish an article on the correct sequence of the canter. The gallop wasn’t firmly known until the Eadweard Muybridge’s photographs of 1872.
13) The name ‘Philip,’ and the feminine variant, ‘Philippa,’ mean ‘lover of horses.’ Funnily enough I don`t know anyone called Phillip.
14) Will Rogers (1879-1935) a political humorist had a horse named Soapsuds. Excellent name. I saw a competitor today with a horse called “Dylan the Unicorn”. It made me chuckle!
15) The horse is the state animal of New Jersey.
16) Cars with Horse names are the Ford’s Mustang, Pinto, Bronco and the Dodge’s Colt.
17) In 1961, the Morgan Horse was named the state animal of Vermont.
18) Morgan’s, being a stronger and more versatile breed, were a large part responsible for extinction of the Naragansett Pacer. This is just an example of evolution as the most well adapted species will survive.
19) The Shetland pony, the smallest pony breed, tends to be larger in the U.S. than in the U. K. Due to the harsh climate of the Shetland Isles, such diminutive breeds as the Shetland Sheepdog and the Shetland deer has been produced. Given that America is a bigger country it`s only right that their Shetlands are bigger than ours!
20) Shetland ponies were first imported into the U.S. in 1885. Again, I guess the British were responsible for that too.