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In the equestrian world, there are many myths about horses that simply aren’t true. Whether you ride horses or not, you’ve likely heard these horse myths at one point or another that are about to be busted.
When it comes to horses, there is lots of lore and traditions that surround these majestic animals.
Horses have long been included in different stories and mythical tales throughout history. Some of the beliefs that both equestrians and non-equestrians have shared for decades have proven to be false.
Here are 7 common horse myths which aren’t true:
Horses Only Sleep Standing Up
A common misconception and myth about horses is that they only sleep standing up. Though horses do often sleep standing up, as it allows them to quickly flee from predators, they will also lay down to sleep.
Horses will often lie down to get REM sleep. Sleeping while laying down also allows horses to get proper muscle and brain recovery, which can help boost their immune system.
If you see a horse lying down to sleep, it is completely normal.
Also read our guide on how do horses sleep?
Horses Only Communicate With Each Other by Nickering and Neighing
Though horses will communicate with each other by nickering and neighing, that is not their most common form of communication. Horses mostly use body language to converse with each other.
Since horses are highly social animals, they have many ways to communicate with each other. They will often use their eyes and ears as their way to speak with each other.
Also read, 8 Signs a Horse Likes You.
Horses are Colorblind
The myth that horses are colorblind is simply not true. Horses are able to see color, but it is different from the color spectrum that we see.
Horses have dichromatic vision, which means they are able to see two hues. They are believed to see blues and greens, but not be able to distinguish reds and yellows.
In addition, horses have excellent night vision, which works to their advantage in the wild.
Hot-Blooded and Cold-Blooded Horses Have Different Body Temperatures
Oftentimes, people will use the terms hot-blooded and cold-blooded to refer to different types of horses. A common horse myth is that this refers to their body temperature, but it actually refers to their temperament and body type.
Certain breeds of light horses, which are commonly used for riding, are considered hot-blooded. Hot-blooded horses, such as Arabians and Thoroughbreds, are known for being more spirited and energetic.
Cold-blooded horses refer to strong draft breeds that are commonly used for pulling and are known for their calm dispositions, like Percherons and Belgians.
To learn more, see our handy guide on the difference between hot-blood, warm-blood, and cold-blood horses here.
Horses are Not Smart
A common myth is that horses are not smart animals. Horses are in fact highly intelligent animals.
Horses are able to learn several different cues for riding and are able to remember these cues even if it has been years since they have been ridden. They are even capable of reading human emotions and recognizing people they know.
Horses are able to form strong bonds with people and show their affection to people they care about.
Also read our guide on how smart are horses?
Horse Should Not Be Allowed to Lay Down While Colicking
A common horse myth is that horses should not be allowed to lay down while they are with colic. However, veterinarians now say that horses can lay down if they are colicking as long as they are calm and lying quietly.
It is important to make sure to contact your veterinarian if your horse is displaying symptoms of colic. If your horse does start excessively rolling, it is still a good idea to walk them until the veterinarian arrives.
However, it is unlikely a horse will twist their intestines while rolling despite previous beliefs.
Horseback Riding Isn’t Exercise
Some people who have never ridden a horse think that horseback riding isn’t exercise. However, this is certainly a myth as horseback riding is an excellent form of exercise.
Horseback riding is a wonderful way to exercise different parts of your body. It has many benefits such as improving core strength, enhancing balance and coordination, increasing flexibility, toning muscles, and providing a good cardio workout.
Horseback riding working with horses in any capacity is also great for improving your mental health.
Sunday 20th of September 2020
Good things to read up on and learn from as a rider years ago always nice to see things come up as facts or none facts? .
Cindy K Roberts
Tuesday 28th of July 2020
Interesting what people will believe! I am a mule trainer and author that has been dispelling myths about mules and donkeys for over 35 years! Thank you for the educational article.