10. Horse Trivia
Horses cannot throw up.
Horses cannot breathe through their mouth, like a dog, but they can cough.
The hoof is actually one, big middle toe. The remaining toes were long ago transformed upwards into the bones of the lower leg.
Horses' feet stink, when trimmed.
There is a gap between the front, nipping teeth and the grinding molars in the back, which is where the bit rests in their mouth. The bit should never touch any teeth, but rather rests on the bare gums, the "bars" of the mouth.
Shod horses have to be trimmed and reshod regularly, (every 4-6 weeks,) whether or not they are being ridden, or the hoof will grow out like a big fingernail. This can cause accidents from tripping and falling, and can also create structural problems, as over-long hooves can eventually result in unnatural strain to tendons, joints, and ligaments. Left a habitual condition, poorly-trimmed feet can result in permanent disfigurement and even lameness. An unshod horse will wear down his hoof naturally, but it is good policy to keep him properly and evenly trimmed.
Horses are NOT as vocal as movies make them seem. Mainly, horses vocalize for three reasons; hunger, loneliness, and anger. They do not cry out in fear, like a dog yelps, but rather will react to fear by snorting explosively and trying to flee. Horses have a very high pain threshold, and only in dire extremity will they cry out in pain. (Twice, very sadly, I've seen horses break their legs in tragic falls, and they made not a sound.) Ordinary horse sounds include nickering in hopes of food, nickering or neighing to attract another horse's attention, and squealing in anger or irritation, a sort of a "get away!" noise. Stallions of course can be quite vocal, and mares may also make gentle sounds to their young. However, horses generally have very little to say to humans, unless they want something to eat.
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