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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tuesday Trivia

Before the gods who made the gods
Had seen their sunrise pass,
The White Horse of the White Horse Vale
Was cut out of the grass. ~ G.K. Chesterton
It's been a while but I felt like doing a Tuesday Trivia again so here it is. If I've got stuff wrong I'm sure Sandra will pop in to put me right! ☺ Sandra owns horses. Sandra breeds horses & I'm sure she knows more about them than I do.

Despite my ignorance, here goes!

A horse isn't considered a horse until it is 5 years old. Five seems an arbitrary number to me but maybe horses have an extended adolescence? A horse is anything over 14.2 hands. A hand is 4 inches but I couldn't be bothered to do the math to put that into feet & inches. It's big.

A horse will drink about 10 gallons of water a day so it's no surprise to find they produce 10 gallons of saliva as well. More to the point from a house keeping view they may poop 14 times a day. Horse poop makes good garden manure & plenty of it!

Horses are weird. They can't breath through their mouth, can't vomit, don't have a gallbladder & can sleep standing up because they have the uncanny knack of locking their leg muscles so they don't fall over. Weirder yet a different image is seen by each eye unless they are looking down their nose. They see better in the dark than humans but their eyes are slower to adjust from dark to light & vise versa. However its brain is about the size of a baked potato & in point of fact their teeth take up more space than their brain!

Some of a horse's closest relatives are the tapir & the rhinoceros.

Being a handy beastie horses have been used by man for centuries. The Celts used nailed on horse shoes as early as the 5th/6th century BC. Women rode astride until the event of the sidesaddle in the 11th century & in the 11 century King Alphonso nailed his horses shoes on backwards to mislead a pursuing Moorish King. This dubious piece of historical cunning was then apparently replicated by Robert the Bruce fleeing King Edward [Longshanks] in 1303 & Duke Christopher Wurtenburg in 1530 fleeing Emperor Charles I.

And lastly I'm sure you all want to know why every rider mounts from the near side. Back in the day men all wore swords strapped to their left side & this got in the way if they tried mounting from the off side. See, everything has an explanation if you know who to ask.


Jo said...

I love the locking legs - that would be handy as I am not very good at standing still for long periods of time. I was surprised to read who their closes relatives were - is the zebra in that group I wonder?

seekingmyLord said...

I always enjoyed your Tuesday Trivia!

I will say one thing here: I agree that horse manure is a wonderful fertilizer, however the horse's digestion process also allows lots of seeds to pass, so it can encourage more things to grow in your garden than you wanted. It helps to use the hot composing process. As much as I love everything about horses, horse manure would not be my first choice for fertilizing my gardens. On the other hand, if I had horses, therefore an abundance of horse manure...waste not, want not. It is always good to make do with what you have readily available.

Ganeida said...

Jo: Indeed yes, zebras closest relatives are the horse & the ass. The word zebra comes from the old Portugese *zevra*, meaning wild ass. ☺ I can fall asleep anywhere these days so the ability to sleep standing up would come in handy.

Seeking: I usually use cow manure because of that little promblem you mention. ☺ I presume you mean compost, not compose, & indeed it is wonderful stuff. Frankly, anything is better than the fish manure they use out here though I will conceede pig beats everything else hands down for downright pong!

Sandra said...

Well I guess I missed this. I have been in a purple haze and not up to the blogging thing.

So here goes. Size of a horse does not determine if it is a horse. Only in the show ring. Ponies are a different genetic type than horses. Arabian horses typically range in size from 14H to 15.3 H. Some Arabians are under 14H, but they are still a horse and not a pony. But they ban be shown in classes calling for 'ponies'.

Horses need to produce saliva in order to digest hay. Hence the abundant saliva production.

I can attest to the manure. Oh yes I can! Scooped a ton or two of it myself. But a little correction about horses passing seeds. Horses have a slow digestion process, so by the time it comes out the other end, the weed seeds have been cooked. Cows send it through quickly and will add extras to you garden. Having had many horses oiled for colic, I know how long dinner takes to exit. : )

The orbital eyes make horses interesting and infuriating. They can see behind themselves, but the can't see what is at the end of their nose. They also see the same object differently when you change direction, making them sometimes spook at what they just spent 15 minutes looking at going the other way.

As Ganeida has pointed out a few times, I am mad. Horses have consumed my life. Don't look too deeply for an answer, because I think I am mad is it!