Saturday, August 9, 2008

Horses and Heat

You know I've been watching the horses lately when it has been so hot.

I stand in the shade to watch them, especially when it is above 100. In fact, I also wear my baseball cap.

But you know the horses just graze away out there in the blazing sun. Sometimes they stop grazing and they stand absolutely still and have one hoof kind of relaxed.

Did you know that horses have 205 bones and humans have 206? I thought that was strange and interesting. Horses have no muscles below the knee. And the knee of a horse is roughly equivalent to a human wrist.

Ours probably weigh about 1,100 pounds or more each. Supposedly they eat about 15 to 25 pounds per day and drink about 10 gallons of water - each one. I think ours eat a bit more than average though. Pretty staggering when you add that up for a month: 2400 pounds of food and 1200 gallons of water for our group. Eat like a horse indeed.

Anyway I learned some of that when I was trying to find out about them kind of ignoring the sun. Because if I were a horse I think I would come over and stand in the shade when it was really hot. But it must not be as bothersome to them as it is to me.

They sleep standing up usually but they lie down, too. They don't sleep all at once like we do (or some of us at least - me). But they do sleep - usually in short little spells. I read that they sleep from a few minutes to a few hours per day. They sleep better when there are other horses with them. Because they are known as prey animals and so they need to have someone on lookout duty for them. They have what is called a "stay apparatus" in their legs that allow them to just lock the legs and stay like that without using any muscles at all.

Their vision is their most important sense I read. But all senses are better than ours which I suppose isn't saying that much. Horse sense?

Never did find out about why they just stand out there in the sun though.


Lori1955 said...

Interesting. I pass fields of horses almost everyday and you are right, they are just out there in the sun. On the other hand there is a field of bulls across from the casino and they all gather under the trees when it is hot.

I am always amazed when looking at a horses leg from the knee down that they can carry all that weight. Now I'm even more amazed since you said they don't have muscles in that part of the leg. Hmm.

rilera said...

I think horses are amazing. Thanks for further enlightening me!

~Betsy said...

I wonder if the horses you speak of are more accustomed to the heat than mine. Our mare (an Arabian) will hang out in the sun, but our pony searches for shade.