Have you ever dreamt of cantering across the countryside on horseback? We have! In fact, we love horses so much that we’ve a whole Horse collection dedicated to our equestrian friends here at Sophie Allport. But, before you ‘trot on’, why not ‘hold your horses’ and take a look at these eight bizarre facts we’ve unearthed about our favourite four-legged beauties?!
1)There’s no such thing as a truly white horse. Well, kind of. White horses aren’t born white – instead, they start out as chestnut, bay or even black, but become whiter with age. For example, there’s a breed called ‘Lipizzaners’ which are solid black at birth but turn white by the age of 10.
2)Elephants aren’t the only animals with a good memory. Horses actually have a have a knack for remembering things and will remember a person who shows it kindness for as long as it lives. However, this sponge-like brain can work to our disadvantage…mischievous horses who learn how to untie themselves or open latches never, ever forget!
3)Have you ever wondered why some horses look as though they’re smiling or curling their upper lip in amusement? Well, it’s not that something’s tickled them…what they’re actually doing is using a special sniff-enhancing technique known as ‘flehmen’ to get a better whiff of a scent that’s caught their attention!
4)The names ‘Phillip’ and ‘Philippa’ mean “lover of horses” or “horse’s friend”. We think this is rather nice! It’s no surprise that human names denote our love of horses… in fact, the ancient Greeks were particularly fond of them and often represented stallions in art and mythology. Only the rich could afford to keep horses, and used them for activities like hunting, chariot riding and racing.
5)Ever wondered why horses are offered sugar cubes? It’s thought to be because horses like sweet flavours, rejecting anything that is sour or bitter. So…no Brussel sprouts for these guys!
6)Even horses have to be careful in the summertime. Horses with pink skin can easily get a sunburn! Equally as strange is the fact that some breeds of horses have a metallic coat, such as the ‘Akhal-Teke’… it’s known as the supermodel of the horse world because of its beautiful, golden sheen.
7)Are you as confused by the saying “never look a gift horse in the mouth” as we are? Here’s what it means: in olden days, horses were a common part of life for almost everyone… and if you were given a horse, it would have been rude to have inspected its teeth to learn more about its health and age. So, the saying refers to the fact that it would have been polite to just accept the gift for what it was!
8)Can you guess what the fastest running speed for a race horse is? It’s a staggering 43.97 miles per hour ran over two furlongs, and was achieved in the United States in 2008. The record was set by a two-year-old filly thoroughbred called Winning Brew.
Whether you’re a city chick or country girl, there are so many little girls (and boys!) who dream of owning a horse…and lots of big girls and boys here at Sophie Allport too! However, until we’re lucky enough to look after a horse of our own, we’ll make do with watching those marvelous creatures at the Cheltenham Festival. Will you be watching their fluid bodies and velvet noses as they hurtle down the race course with stamina and grace? We will!