Horse Facts - Did You Know .....
- Stereotypies (cribbing, weaving, box walking etc.) are coping mechanisms for horses which help them to deal with day to day stressors such as social deprivation, lack of free movement and lack of sufficient forage opportunities.
- Water is the most important nutrient and should always be available, fresh, clean and a have a temperature of 7º C / 45º F minimum.
- Average water intake at maintenance is 5 L / 100 kg body weight.
- Horses turned out in hot weather can lose approximately 4 L of sweat per hour.
- A horse only drinks when a thirst response is triggered by an increase in sodium concentration in the body.
- Lack of sodium in the diet may cause dehydration without triggering a thirst response.
- At maintenance a horse needs 2 grams of sodium per 100 kg of body weight.
- An exercising horse needs more sodium than it will be able to get from a salt lick.
Anatomy & Physiology
- Horses deal better with cold than with heat.
- Aged horses (over 20 years old) have more difficulty to maintain their temperature in heat or cold.
- A horse's back is designed to carry what hangs under it (the enormous digestive system) and not what sits on top!
- Therefore, horses should not be carrying more than 20% of their body weight (rider including saddle!)
- For an average size horse that weighs 500 kg / 1100 lb the rider and saddle should not weigh more than 100 kg / 220 lb
- Rider balance and saddle fit are extremely important in preventing back problems in your horse.
- Rider imbalance and ill fitting saddles may not only cause your horse pain, it also causes undesired behaviour.
- Back pain in horses may go undetected for a very long time, as the horse first tries to compensate with other muscles/structures and thus putting excessive strain on those parts of its body.