What is National Day of the Horse?

December 2, 2022

It is a known fact that horses have played a part in much of our history. We see horses in movies and television shows, helping us win great battles and travel great distances. We read about horses in some of our favorite literature, both fiction and non-fiction. Nowadays, we watch horses compete in races and other competitions. Horses are an integral part of our history and should be honored.

So why not make a day to celebrate and honor these majestic animals?

Your wish has been granted. December 13 is National Day of the Horse! With this special day right around the corner, now is the perfect time to brush up on some of your horse histories to make this year's celebration the best yet.

Why is There a Day of the Horse?

The U.S. is home to approximately 7 million horses. This number is much higher than when they were used as tools for farming and transportation. There are so many horses here in the U.S. that we have one of the largest horse populations in the world. For some, horses are merely a tool; however, for most, horses are an obsession. With such a significant part of our culture and its history, it only makes sense that we want to honor horses.

In 2004, congress decided that December 13 would be designated National Day of the Horse. This encouraged all United States citizens to become more mindful of all that horses have contributed to the American way. The contributions extend past just entertainment and pets. They are seen in our economy, history, and country's character.

Horses helped us till our fields in the early history of the USA, round up livestock, and have contributed an estimated $9 billion to our economy.

The American Horse Council (AHC) is responsible for creating this great holiday. As many of you see, horses deserve to be celebrated. The AHC not only pushed for the National Day of the Horse but also is a representative for horses in Washington, D.C. The AHC does so much for horses and should also be celebrated for putting our Equine friends first.

Beautiful herd of American Quarter horse ranch horses in the dryhead area

The History of the North American Horse

Still, the origin of the North American horse, or Equus Caballus, is debatable. Some say that the horse we know and love today was introduced into our lands by the Spanish explorers. They were used as rides and to transport supplies. Some of these E. Caballus escaped and eventually began to populate our lands. This story does have factual evidence and is 100% true. However, the debate comes in the way of whether E. Caballus was here before the explorers brought them over.

Science is telling a different story. Recent scientific evidence of ancient horses, Equus Lamei, suggests that these magical creatures roamed our lands 11,000 years ago. These mitochondrial studies say Equus Lamei is of the same species as the horses we see today. That would imply that Equus Caballus is a native species to North America. So, if this theory is true, then that means that they died out only to be brought back by the Spanish Explorers. Regardless of what history lesson you choose to believe, it is truly a pleasure that horses are here today.

herd of ranch horses galloping

E. Caballus truly helped shape our country. From riding into battle with their master or clearing our lands to ensure westward expansion, horses are tied to almost every aspect of our history. Horses helped Native Americans restructure their hunting habits, and we cannot think of our cowboy ancestors without their trusty steeds. Horses helped define what the western day cowboys were and are.

Their history extends past plowing fields and wartimes. They have become an integral part of today's society, as well. They are used today, still, on working ranches and even as therapy animals. Horses are known to help relieve symptoms of PTSD, stress, anxiety, and other disorders many people suffer from today.

Most citizens do not see horses as more than what they see in books and movies. However, our ties to Equus Caballus are still strong, and we should celebrate that.

How can you Celebrate National Day of the Horse?

The best way to celebrate this day is to dive into the rich and important history of Equus Caballus. Read a few books, watch a few movies, or even plan a visit to a local farm to see horses in real life. The more we learn about horses, the longer their legacy will live on.

Horses are truly majestic creatures who have been a significant part of not only our but also the history of the world. From warriors to farmers, horses can do it all and should be celebrated and held in high regard.

What are Some Facts About Horses?

  • One fact or misconception is that there are such things as wild horses. The truth is that a roaming free horse is no different from a stray cat or dog. They are not considered "wild" but feral. While it might be wise to go out and ride a feral horse, you should not fear them either. They might be more dangerous than feral dogs, but this is only because they are so much larger and stronger.

  • Horses cannot breathe through their mouths. They are considered "obligate nose breathers." This means that they can only breathe through their nose.

  • Horses can sleep standing up! They have what's called a "stay-apparatus, " a system of tendons and ligaments that allows the horse to lock their legs. They use this trait to sleep while standing and rest while standing for long periods. One misconception is that a horse cannot lie down. They, in fact, do lie down when they want to get a deeper sleep.

  • Horses have a nearly 360-degree field of vision. This results from their eyes being on the side of their head. They have two blind spots, one directly behind them and the other in front of their nose.

  • Horses are brilliant animals. They can be taught skills or tasks through positive reinforcement and clicker training. Some horses have even been taught to communicate with their masters through symbols on a board.

palomino horse in the meadow at sunset. American Quarter Horse

Why Choose Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital?

Advanced Care is more than just a primary care hospital. Our patients and clients are special to us and are why we always treat everyone who comes to visit as another member of our family every time they walk through our doors. We do not treat every patient equally because we understand that each requires individualized care and attention.