In our May 2010 issue's "Fun" department (Your Horse Your Life, page 28), we put your basic horse knowledge to the test with some easy--and some not-so-easy--questions. If you haven't yet had the opportunity to test yourself, do so with the following questions; then check your answers with the correct ones listed below. Good luck!
- What country has the highest horse population?
- How many horse years equal one human year?
- What does a horse with "a lot of chrome" mean?
- What natural bodily function of most mammals do horses not have?
- True or False: Horses can get the hiccups.
- What is the approximate gestation period for a mare carrying a healthy foal?
- What color or breed of horse might have a striped hoof?
1. What country has the highest horse population?
A: The United States, with more than 9 million horses.
2. How many horse years equal one human year?
A: We've likely all heard a different version of this one--and it's easy to confuse with the comparisons to dogs and cats. Here are two of the most accurate horse/human age calculators:
a. For a rough conversion of a horse's age to human years, multiply the horse's age by 2.2. Example: "Dobbin" is 15 years old. 15 x 2.2 = 33 years old (in people terms).
b. Another age calculation sometimes used is counting the horse's first year equal to 10 human years, and every year after that as 2 human years. Example: 15-year-old "Dobbin" = (1 x 10) + (14 x 2) = 10 + 28 = 38 (in people terms).
3. What does a horse with "a lot of chrome" mean?
A: "Dude, that horse is chromed out!"...i.e. a horse with a lot of white on its legs.
4. What natural bodily function of most mammals do horses not have?
A: Horses cannot vomit, because a muscular valve that leads to the stomach prevents food from going back into the esophagus, making it virtually impossible for them to vomit. This is a large part of why colic can be deadly to horses that overeat or ingest bad feed.
5. True or False: Horses can get the hiccups.
A: TRUE. Horses can get the hiccups, also known as "thumps." Whereas human hiccups are audible through the throat, hiccups in horses begin near the diaphragm and create an audible thump sound in the chest area, sometimes accompanied by a rhythmic jerk in the flank area.
Hiccups are reported more often in endurance horses and racehorses that run for prolonged periods of time. They're also known to be caused by an electrolyte imbalance, often in conjunction with colic or diarrhea.
6. What is the approximate gestation period for a mare carrying a healthy foal?
A: The gestation (pregnancy) period of a mare is normally 11 months, approximately 340 days. Foals born before 320 days' gestation are considered premature, and often have life-threatening respiratory problems.
7. What color or breed of horse might have a striped hoof?
A: Gray, spotted, or patterned colored horses, such as an Appaloosa or Pony of the Americas, often have alternating dark and white striped hooves.
How many questions did you get correct? Whether one or seven, we hope you banked some useful horse knowledge from these answers. Stay tuned for more pop quizzes in our "Fun" department.