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National Day of the Horse

National Day of the Horse is observed annually on December 13. While horses have had a long and storied history in the U.S., National Day of the Horse wasn't officially recognized until November 18, 2004, Senate Resolution 452.

On National Day of the Horse, people are encouraged to become more aware of all that horses have contributed to the economy, history and character of the U.S. The horses that people see today, known as the Equus Caballus, was first introduced in North America by Spanish explorers. Horses who had escaped from their enclosures eventually made their way across the Great Plains.

That means that every horse in North America is a descendant of European horses, even wild ones. In 1900, there were 15,000 horses in New York City and in WWII, 6 million horses died. Because of the technology in transportation, they are not nearly as used as they were, but some departments still keep them on their force. Today, there are millions of horses, an estimated 60 million in fact. The Arab breed of horse is thought to be the oldest, experts believe they first appeared about 4500 years ago and since then, the breeds of horses has grown to over 300. There is only one single-sub-species of horse that has never been domesticated by humans, the endangered Przewalski’s horse, which is native to Mongolia.

Like people, horses have individual personalities and also have different facial expressions to show their moods. Experts once believed that horses were color blind, but this has been disproven, although they can see some colors easier than others. Their eyes are also unique, they are bigger than any other land mammal and are located on the side of head which allows them to see almost 360 degrees. Surprisingly, they also have great memories, possibly even better than an elephant!

Horses live on average 25 years, but one, named Old Billy, lived to be 62 and is the oldest horse on record! For a regular horse, they have speeds of approximately 27 miles per hour, although the fastest horse ever recorded reached 55 miles per hour. 

Horses are amazing, magnificent creatures who have a loving and gentle nature. Take some time on National Day of the Horse to learn more about their history and the strong bonds that they can create with their trusted humans.