Bryony's Facts

May 2021
In partnership with
 University of Surrey


Who knew?

One of the great things about horses is that there’s always something new to learn! Our Stewart Hastie Veterinary Student Champion, Bryony Lovegrove, has been learning huge amounts in her lectures and wants to share some very interesting facts with you.

Did you know?

The most common site of impaction in a horses digestive system is the pelvic flexure. This is a narrowing after the caecum with a 180 degree turn.

Did you know?

Horses have the widest range of gestation of all common domestic species. The average length of pregnancy is 335 days, however it can be anywhere from 320-400 days.

horse and foal

Did you know?

Being an equine vet is one of the most dangerous civilian jobs in the UK with injuries being commonplace (so please look after your vet!).

Horse being injected
Photo credit: Royal Veterinary College

Did you know?

Horses have hypsodont teeth – this means that the crown is large and continually erupting so that it can resist the wear and tear of chewing on rough and fibrous diets for long periods of time. The only exception to this is if horses have canines which do not grow throughout their lifetime.

Examination of the teeth

Did you know?

A horses liver lies completely within its ribcage. A horse has to lose over 70% of its liver function before signs are usually shown, meaning many horses can survive and lead a normal life without a fully functioning liver.


Did you know?

That horses produce 1ml of saliva for every chew that they make?

And that the amount of saliva that a horse produces depends on the type of food that they are eating? This means that over the course of a day an average horse can produce around 35 litres of saliva. Saliva is very useful in the digestive system, especially in the stomach, as it can help act as a buffer to protect the stomach from stomach acid. Dietary fibre is key to encouraging saliva production, and saliva can also help protect against certain conditions such as gastric ulcers.

Horse eating grass 


Did you know?

There are 8 major blood groups in horses?

C, D, K, P, Q, U and T, with more than 30 different factors for which they can be positive or negative.

Neonatal isoerythrolysis describes a potentially fatal condition when a foal’s blood type is incompatible with the mare’s, and the mare’s own antibodies are harmful to the foal.

When the antibodies pass to the foal in the colostrum (first milk), the foal can become lethargic, anorexic, dehydrated and depressed very quickly.

Taking blood samples from a horse 

A vet taking a blood sample from a horse

Did you know?

It takes 12 tonnes of force to break a horse’s superficial digital flexor tendon?

There are 3 main tendons in a horse’s lower front leg. The superficial digital flexor tendon and the deep digital flexor tendon are at the back of the forelimb, with the extensor tendon at the front of the forelimb.

The tendons are incredibly strong, and able to withstand a lot of force; the superficial digital flexor tendon can withstand up to 12 tonnes of force before it breaks.

Horse Tendons

A Vet checking a horse's tendon

equine disease prevention

horse health

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