4 Interesting Facts about Racehorses

4 Interesting Facts about Racehorses

Horse racing is one of the most popular sports on the planet, attracting millions of spectators on a global scale. Although horse racing is beloved in many parts of the world, people don’t know an awful lot about the racehorse itself.  

Sure, you could tell the difference between a well-trained racehorse and one that’s out of shape, but I bet you don’t know much about the actual characteristics of a racehorse. Luckily for you, we have prepared tons of information and fun facts about our fast four-legged friends in our article. 

Evolutionary Origin 

Scientists have been able to trace back the roots of today’s modern horse to an extinct species called Eohippus that lived about 50 million years ago. Eohippus, also called dawn horse, was a mammal that had three padded toes on the hind legs and four padded toes on the front legs. The first horses on planet Earth didn’t look much like a modern-day horse; they were slender, deerlike, and stood only 1–2 feet high, which is small in comparison to today’s horses. 

An Unusual Bet 

Have you ever wondered whether all horses’ hooves ever leave the ground at the same time while it’s running or trotting? Well, Leland Stanford, the former Governor of California, did back in 1872, and he even made a bet on it. Eadweard Muybridge, a renowned photographer at that time, took on the challenge of finding the answer.

At first, Muybridge wasn’t sure how to perform the experiment and win the dispute, but then he hit upon an idea of using a fast shutter mechanism that consisted of two pieces of wood. He achieved an exposure time of about one five-hundredth of a second, which was enough to capture a reasonably clear image of a horse at a gallop.  

Horses Have Big Eyes

Did you know that horses have the largest eyes of any land mammal on the planet? Also, many people think that horses are color blind, but they actually are not. Horses see brighter colors more clearly than darker shades. And since their eyes are located on the side of their head, they can see nearly 360 degrees at one time. 

Humans have three muscles in their ears, which is why we aren’t capable of moving our ears much. Horses, on the other hand, have different musculature around the ears, allowing them to turn each ear in a separate direction to listen and communicate. This is why horses can prick or rotate their ears 180 degrees. If the ears are pointed at different directions, that means that the horse is looking at different things at the same time. 

All Racehorses Have the Same Birthday

Imagine we all share the same birthday and celebrate it on the same day every year. How cool would it be? Well, all racehorses can team-up and throw mega birthday party every Jan 1 if they live in the Northern Hemisphere or Aug 1 if they are from the Southern Hemisphere. Each thoroughbred celebrates its birthday on the same day every year, regardless of the date it was born. Why? For ease of grouping them by age for training and race.