Common Horse Myths

Top 10 Most Popular Myths About Horses

  1. Horses are not smart

This assumptions typically applies to animals that humans try to judge from the perspective of their own behavior, including dogs. Horses are a prey species that are very different from humans or predators like wolves. The goal of a horse is to survive in a potentially dangerous environment.

  1. Horses run towards fires

A horse may run into a burning barn when it makes sense to the horse. It may be in a panic. It also may associate a space within a barn with safety. A horse doesn’t understand that a barn is no longer safe because a fire started in one of its parts. Like humans, horses have reasons for doing what they do and their behavior may not make sense if you don’t understand the reasoning behind it.

  1. Horses don’t lie down when they sleep

Being prey animals, horses do have an ability to sleep while standing. Contrary to popular belief, they do lie down when they sleep for prolonged periods of time. They also do need sleep during which they lie down.

  1. Horses are not friendly to people

Many people have bad experiences with horses because they get them at poorly run stables that rent horseback riding by the hour. In many such establishments horses are not trained well and not treated well.

  1. Horses are aloof

People tend to judge a lot of animals based on their experiences with dogs and cats, many of whom are friendly and demonstrative. Horses are very different from other domesticated animals. With a horse, you first need to earn love and trust. Then, a horse will reciprocate in subtle ways, such as gently pressing its head against your chest.

  1. Horses make a lot of sounds

This myth comes mostly from the movies because movie-makers use horse whinnying for dramatic effects. In real life, horses whinny for very specific reasons, such as greeting someone or engaging in courtship.

  1. Horses are always healthy

Because many people don’t have a lot of first-hand barn experience, they only see healthy horses and assume that the species don’t get a lot of health issues, which is where the saying “healthy as a horse” comes from. In reality, horses can have all kinds of health problems. On average, a horse needs a vet visit a few times a year for minor issues.

  1. People shoot horses to put them out of their misery

This is how horse owners used to take old and sick horses out of their misery in the past, but that’s not what happens today. Nowadays a veterinarian administers an injection to euthanize a suffering horse.

  1. Old horses are used to make glue

This myth also has its roots in the past, where horses were used to make glue. Today glue is mostly made from by-products of the food-animal industry, including cows and pigs.

  1. If a horse breaks its leg, it’s going to die

This statement was true several decades ago, but it’s not true any longer. In the past, performing a surgery on an injured horse was almost impossible. Today a number of veterinarians can perform a surgery on a horse. Metal leg implants are also available on the market.