Cowboys shaking hands at fence line







I always begged for a horse. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted a horse of my own. My dad always asked the “stopping question”: “Where would we put him, Cheryl? He wouldn’t be happy in our little yard. Horses need a lot of room to run.” I never got my horse, but that didn’t mean I quit wanting one!

Maybe that’s why I wanted to write westerns–my early, unrequited love for horses. I had a good friend who knew someone who had horses, and she would get to ride them sometimes. I envied her! As an adult, I never was in the position to be able to indulge my love of horses–as my dad had so often asked, “Where would we put him?”

I don’t really know a lot about horses, since I never owned one–and I found out later my mom had been the driving force behind not ever letting me have one–her cousin had gotten kicked in the head as a child and was never “right” after that–it was a huge fear for her.

But when I came across these facts about horses on Rick Gore’s site, I wanted to share them, because I found so many of them just fascinating–especially for someone like me who really doesn’t know much about these beautiful creatures and may want to learn more.

The normal horse’s small intestine is about 75 feet long. The normal horse’s large intestine is about 12 feet long.

A horse will produce 12 gallons of saliva a day to aid in digestion of hay.

Horse’s cannot breathe through their mouths and cannot vomit.

The top speed of a horse is about 45 Mph (70 Kph). A horse walks at about 3 to 4 miles per hour, so a three hour ride will cover about 9 to 12 miles.

Horses have the largest eyes of any land animal.

Horses and humans are the only animals that sweat through their skin for cooling.

While walking a horse consumes 1 Liter (.25 gallon) of oxygen a minute but at racing gallop the horse takes exactly 1 breath per stride and consumes nearly 60 Liters (15 gallons) of oxygen per minute

Horse of average size has approximately 50 pints of blood (28 liters) which circulate through his system every 40 seconds.

A horse uses more energy while lying down than it does while it is standing up.

Horses have a stay apparatus in their legs which allow them to sleep while standing without falling over.

A horse uses much more energy swimming than running. A 500 yard swim is like a mile run for a horse.

Horses have spiral shaped patterns in their hair that is called Whorls. These are unique as fingerprints. Some horse registry still use this for identification of horses.

Camargue horses are completely white as adults, but their babies are pure black when they are born.

Horses can communicate how they are feeling by their facial expressions. They use their ears, nostrils, and eyes to show their moods. Beware of a horse that has flared nostrils and their ears back.

Courtesy Rick Gore Horsemanship Site



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A native Oklahoman, I've been influenced by the west all my life. I love to write short stories and novels in the historical western and western romance genres, as well as contemporary romantic suspense! Check my Amazon author page to see my work: http://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson
I live in Oklahoma City with my husband of 40 years. I love to hear from readers and other authors--you can contact me here: fabkat_edit@yahoo.com
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  1. Hi Cheryl! Thank you for a great post on horses! There were so many interesting facts and I sure wouldn’t have guessed that horses use more energy lying down. They are great animals. We have four now and they are each so totally different in so many ways.

    • Hi Melanie!

      I doubt if I could have the energy/strength to even pull myself up on one these days, but back then, I thought if I had one I would do nothing but ride. I’m sure they each DO have their own personalities! And I am just a sucker for trivia like these horse facts.


  2. Cheryl – Fun horse facts. Like you, I asked my parents for a horse every year for Christmas. Along with a piano and a swimming pool. Never got any of those items, even though we owned about 7.5 acres when I was young. Oh, well. I get to indulge my dreams now through my writing, as you are doing. *smile* I even worked a piano into my next western. Ha!

    • Oh, Karen, I got the piano and never asked for it. LOL I took piano lessons from the time I was 7 and taught for many many years. We lived nearby a little park with a swimming pool so I could walk there and back. I just remember a horse being the one thing I wanted so so much that I knew I would never get, but still I hoped and asked and begged for one. I hope you did get your piano. There is nothing more relaxing than being able to go in and sit down and play something.


  3. I love all the interesting facts I learn here at P&P! I, too, always wanted a horse! I got siblings instead!

    • Connie, I always wanted a little brother or sister–my sisters were 10 and 12 when I came along, and I never got my horse, either.

  4. Well, Cheryl, I’ve just spent a half hour reading about camarge horses. The pictures are beautiful.
    There are also camarge cattle, often herded by camarge horses (natch).
    Very interesting and now I want a herd of camarge horses in my book. Not sure I can make that happen.

    • OK, Mary! Now I must follow suit! I have been so swamped lately — but you’ve really got my curiosity up now–so camarge research, here I come! LOL

  5. We had a horse when I was a kid. Sparky. A Welch pony with brown and white patches. Our neighbor had three horses, A Shetland pony, Sandy. A white mare (Camarge, perhaps?) and Susie had a brown colt, Flicka.

  6. We rode a fair amount but honestly those horses were a pain. Not well trained. (since kids pretty much had control of them all the time)
    Hard to catch. Hard to saddle.
    Still, I suppose we rode a fair amount. My older sister and my neighbor’s older sister were the horse lovers and they went riding a lot.

    • My cousin had a Shetland pony. I tried to ride it one summer when I stayed with her and it would go under tree limbs to try and knock me off. I didn’t give up though. I thought I was quite the horsewoman since I managed to stay on, for the most part. LOL

  7. Lots of fun facts here, Okie! When I was a little girl, the thing that amazed and confused me the most about horses was the way they sleep standing up. I always expected them to topple over any second! (It probably didn’t help that I was one of those implacably curious kids who always wanted to know WHY something happened the way it did. Me: “They sleep standing up?” Parent/grandparent: “Yes.” Me: “How come they don’t fall over?” Parent/grandparent: “They just don’t.” Me: “But WHY?” I had the same problem with fish sleeping. I’m still not sure I understand that one. 😀 )

    • Kathleen, I remember when my mom told me that about horses standing up. I had the same reaction. WHY? How was that even possible? LOL Isn’t it funny to remember those “aha” moments when we learned something?

  8. Great post, Cheryl. My neighbor has two horses that I visit with most days, but other than that, I have no personal experience with the animals either. Certainly makes it a challenge to write about them. Your info was very interesting. Have a great day!

    • Kristy, I don’t go into a lot of detail in my books about horses. I probably would if I knew more about them. I’m still very interested in them, but don’t want to write about something basic and have it be wrong. LOL

  9. I am one of the lucky ones. My parents’ business was horses, so I’ve had one my entire life. I coached horsebowl for 16 years, I had facts drilled into my head until they were cement! LOL
    I hate reading books where the author clearly doesn’t know which end of a horse to feed.

    • See, D’Ann, that’s just what I mean–I just don’t go into much about horses, because I really really do NOT want to make a total idiot of myself. LOL You are very lucky! What a wonderful childhood and youth you must have had!

  10. Great fun facts about a cowboy’s (and cowgirl’s) best friend. Interesting about the horse using more energy in water. That’s good to know if you’re writing a story and your hero/heroine is chasing the villain across a river.

    • Kirsten, that’s so true. I just stick with the facts, ma’am, as Joe Friday said–but this makes it interesting at least!

    • Oh, Sherri, I surely was, too. I used to think I’d be the happiest person on earth if ONLY I had a horse!

  11. Cheryl, what a brilliant post! So much great information. I was struck by the fact about their eyes…they look at you with those glorious eyes and there is such an instant connection! Beautiful post today!

    • Yes, and Tanya, God bless you for working with horse rescue as you do. Their eyes are so wise and all-knowing, aren’t they?

  12. I asked for a pony too for many years – we lived in the suburbs lol. I did finally get a wild barn cat though. Loved all the facts – I knew some of them but a lot were new for me.

    • Catslady, I got a cat, too. I guess they figured maybe I would hush about a horse if they got me some kind of pet! LOL

  13. I can relate to desperately wanting a horse, but always being asked the “Where would we keep him?” question. Well, at one time we lived in a house with an unfinished, dirt-floor basement. That seemed aperfectly appropriate stable to me. 🙂 Now, I didn’t have the injured cousin, but as Dad was in the Navy, we moved every three years or so. I didn’t see why I couldn’t just ride the horse to the next post, but incredibly, my parents never saw the perfect sense in that. Go figure… BTW, you’ve got some fascinating facts in the post, Cheryl!

    • LOL Lorrie! I think you and I must have been a lot alike as kids–I would have thought that made perfect sense, too–just go on, I’ll meet you in San Diego! LOL Kids have such a practical sense that it’s hard to argue with them sometimes. LOL

  14. Great tidbits! I finally got a horse when I was in high school and we moved to the country – lots of stuff they don’t tell you in the horse care manuals! Horses are darned expensive animals, I can tell you – but they make good friends.

    • JES, I have a friend who started the equestrian stuff with her daughter several years ago–all the different costumes the daughter had to have, and the care and maintenance of the horse, and grooming, and then going to the contests–it must have cost a mint!

  15. I used to ride my neighbors Shetland when young and her other horse when older. Rode some out here in Colorado, but back injury stopped that one. Like you I loved horses. At least I was able to enjoy it a bit as a child. Doris

    • Doris, you were very lucky. We lived in a small town, but of course, we were in city limits in a “Ward and June Cleaver” neighborhood. No horses allowed. LOL

  16. Like you, I wanted a horse until my teens. I did get one on my 16th birthday, a small porcelain one on my birthday cake. I had a similar experience with my mom as you did. Her cousin was on a horse when it spooked and ran out of the barn. She hit her head on the cross beam and “was never right again.”
    I have been around horse and ridden a few times. They intimidate me more than anything else. They are so big and you only control them if they let you.

    Thanks for the information in the post. It seems odd that they would be the only other creature that sweats through the skin. Had to check out the camarge horses. They appear to be a rather sturdy horse, a good working horse. Not as sleek as the Lippizan horses which also are born dark and turn white at maturity.

    • I remember, Patricia, in elementary school when we read a story about the Royal Lippizan (sp?) horses–and that just enthralled me to think a horse could be trained to do so many things and oh, they were so beautiful!

      • Cheryl, We are volunteer ushers at the local town’s venue. The Royal Lippizaner Show comes to town every 3 years or so. They are beautiful and the show is fascinating.

  17. Learned about horses- how they sleep while standing, can’t vomit, etc. Thanks for your interesting post. sm

  18. Fascinating post, Cheryl, and like you, I too wanted a horse and my answered with the same words as yours. I was lucky that my urging finally scored riding lessons for a few years–English saddle. It was the highlight of my week. Amazing to think that a horse’s eyes are larger than an elephants! Thanks for all the fun info!

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