Horse Myths Busted

Giba Horse Trails Durban KZN

Horse Myths

We’ve all heard these things, but are they true?

 

Horses are mean

There are thousands of horses that were never properly trained or are constantly mistreated. Yes, the horses may behave badly, since they have learned that people can’t be trusted.

Horses that have grown up with kindness and love form humans are gentle, friendly, and pretty much will do anything you ask of them.

Horses will run into a burning barn

Where did this crazy idea come from? I guess a hundred years ago a confused and panicked horse did run back to its

stable where it believed it might be safe, since no horse understands that a building on fire at one side, will soon be burning up the whole place.

Old horses go to the glue factory

A hundred years ago, many old horses were killed and sent to the glue factory. But today, most glue is made from the bones and hooves of cattle, which thanks to the fast-food burger places, there are a lot of these by-products to be used.

A horse with a broken leg has to be shot

Yes, they used to have to do this. In many parts of the country, they do still shoot horses for any reason that “puts it out of it’s misery”.

Now-a-days, a broken leg doesn’t automatically mean the horse must be destroyed. Until a few years ago, the fact that a horses legs couldn’t be put in a cast because of the size of the leg and the weight of the horse, a fractured leg was a death sentence.

There are now many skilled veterinarians who perform surgery on horses, and there is equipment and metal leg implants large enough for the horse.

Horses always sleep standing up

Horses do sometimes sleep while standing on their feet. This is probably because in the wild, they have to be ready to take off running when approached by a hungry coyote (just kidding).

But this kind of sleep is really just dozing. To get what we call REM sleep, and all horses need it, they either lie on their side or squat down with their nose on the ground.

Horses never get sick

Ponies are a hardy animal that can sometimes go years with no health problems.

Horses, however, need to be seen by the vet about twice a year on the average. They can have all kinds of health problems.

Whinnying and rearing.

I’m not sure why these two are often written together. Horses rear out of fear, frustration, when they are in pain, of if they have too much energy. Horses whinny to call to someone, usually another horse or their human. A whinny is not a scream. A horse will not rear in fear and whinny at the same time. I see this in almost every fictional setting horses are in. Why? I have no clue. To add drama, maybe?

Hay and straw aren’t the same.

 If you feed a horse straw, you’ll have a problem later. For that reason, stalls aren’t bedded with straw. Now, I’m sure some people might still do this, but I’ve yet to meet someone in today’s day and age who beds with straw.

Hot horses and water.       

It used to be believed that letting a horse drink water after riding was bad. We now know this isn’t true, and that depriving a horse a drink is bad for them. During exercise, a horse can lose 5-10% of their body weight through sweat. They need to replenish that or risk getting heat excretion, which is fatal if not treated. Don’t deprive your horse of water!

Horses are big, dumb animals.

If you’re going to write a horse like this, please stop. Horses are sensitive, emotional creatures able to read body language and social cues. They pick up on everything. They remember everything. They have feelings and can think.

Horses are easy to care for.

Other than the obvious (grooming, exercise, stall cleaning) horses need to have their hooves taken care of every 4-6 weeks. Temperatures need to be monitored in extreme heat (fans in stalls, frequent cooling with cold water, extra water to drink) and cold (extra food for extra calories, blankets for horses unable to keep warm without). You need to be careful with sun exposure; horses can get skin cancer and sunburn. Wet turnouts can lead to rainrot, hoof issues, slips and falls. You need to monitor spring grass intake and deal with insects. The list goes on and on. Horses take a lot of time and commitment if they are to be cared for properly.