Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pop Quiz!

 It's surprise quiz time! Let's see how how well you know your stuff. No Googling-- just take the test. Some questions are quite easy... and many others are hard. Don't worry though, there are only 11! The answers are at the bottom.

1. Aside via having twins, is it possible for a mare to give birth to more than one foal in the same year?

2. When is a Canadian Thoroughbred race horse's birthday?

3. When might an electric fence be less effective?
A. In very wet conditions
B. In very dry conditions
C. When positioned near large metal objects (like silos)
D. During times of high pollen count

4. What do feral horses do to obtain salt and other minerals?
A. Eat the livers of other dead animals
B. Eat dirt
C. Break into cattle pens for the salt licks
D. Dig for pine tree roots

5. Which of these plants can cause laminitis within 48 hours?
A. Black Walnut
B. Horseradish
C. Butternut (tree)
D. Both A and C

6. At what age can a stallion impregnate a mare?

7. At what age are a horse's back vertebrae fully matured and fused?

8. Choose the correct statement:
A. Horses had a major historical impact on all Native American tribes.
B. Horses had very little impact on any Native American tribes.
C. Horses had a somewhat powerful, but very short-term impact on some Native American tribes.

9. The top three horse meat producing countries are China, Mexico and ___________?

10. The genetic disease HERDA, which causes skin to tear deeply and easily all over a horse's body, occurs primarily in horses from which famous stallion's bloodline?
A. Affirmed
B. Makybe Diva
C. Poco Bueno
D. Mr San Peppy

11. What is Kumis?
A. A type of worming (drenching) drug, linked to spontaneous foal abortions.
B. Fermented mare's milk, popular in China (especially Mongolia) and the former Soviet Union.
C. A toxic fungus that can grow on red or white clover, causing heavy drooling and other symptoms.


1. Yes (although unlikely). Most mares come into heat one to two weeks after giving birth. Provided the mare had foal #1 in early January, was bred early in her foal heat, and delivered foal #2 successfully in the normal 11-and-a-bit months, she could produce two foals in the same year. This used to be a not-infrequent occurrence in the Thoroughbred industry, though of course it was undesirable.

2. January 1st. The official birthday of every registered race Thoroughbred is January 1st in the Northern Hemisphere or August 1 in the Southern Hemisphere, regardless of the horse's actual birthday. This is why Thoroughbred breeders attempt to have their mares foal as close to (but not before) this date as possible. A foal born later is at a disadvantage. For example, a "two year old" born 6 months later than his or her competitors would still be considered a two year old for racing purposes, despite being less developed. And yes, that means a foal born Dec. 31st in the Northern Hemisphere would "turn one year old" the following day.

3. B. In very dry conditions. If the earth is too try, the electric current will not be properly grounded, giving the fence a very weak charge.

4. They eat dirt. Sometimes, people without access to good diets and vitamins also eat dirt.

5. D. Both Black Walnut and Butternut can cause a horse to founder very quickly and very badly. A horse eating the nuts, wood or leaves from these trees, or spending time in shavings made from these woods, is in mortal danger. More information here.

6. Officially, stallions are sexually mature at 18 months. However, yearlings can and have bred mares.

7. Depending on the breed of the horse and that individual's rate of maturity, 5-8 years old.
Ages for the fusion of growth plates in other bones:
Short pastern – bottom before birth; top between 9-12 months.
Long pastern – bottom unites with shaft at or shortly before birth; top 13 to 15 mos.
Cannon bone – top unites with shaft at or shortly before birth; bottom unites with shaft at about 18 mos.
Small bones of the knee – top and bottom of each, between 18 mos. and 2 years
Radius-ulna – upper weightbearing surface, between 15-18 mos.; distal surfaces, between 3 and 3.5 years
Humerus – bottom, between 1.5 and 2 years; top, between 3 and 3.5 years
Scapula – glenoid or bottom (weight-bearing) portion – between 3 and 3.5 years

Plains tribes used dogs to pull their travois before horses.
8. C. Horses had a somewhat powerful, but very short-term impact on some Native American tribes. Only Native American tribes that fall under the Plains culture came to depend upon horses, and they did so comparatively quite late in history. Tribes in New Mexico and other early Spanish territories only began to regularly use horses after about 1650. Indians further east got them even later. French traders reported that the Cheyene Indians in Kansas only got their first horses around 1745. The vast majority of Native Americans lived in wooded or coastal regions where horses were impractical, or in areas where feeding horses over the winter was too difficult.

9. Kazakhstan.

10. HERDA originated with the AQHA stallion Poco Bueno or his ancestors. HERDA (also called HC) is a recessive gene, meaning it can hide in horses without affecting them, but when those horses are bred to another carrier, the disease strikes. Poco Bueno passed on the disease to Doc O'Lena, Doc Bar, High Brow Cat and other famous Quarter Horses. More information here and an update here, plus a test available here for $40.   P.S. Makybe Diva is NOT a stallion, apologies to that great mare.

11. B. Kumis is fermented mare's milk, though it is often now produced using treated cow's milk.
Organophosphates in worming (drenching) drugs HAVE been linked to foal abortions, but are not banned. Make sure you speak to a vet about worming a pregnant mare. Rhizoctonia fungus does grow on red and white clover, as well as alfalfa, when these plants are stressed. The fungus produces the toxin slaframine, which usually only causes drooling when a horse eats it, but can provoke more serious symptoms.

So how did you do? Can you stump us all with a harder question?


  1. Having never bred a horse, I got a lot wrong. But all the others I got! Let me impart my secret way of making my electric fence work here in the arid West. (since it has to be done every day, it will only work for some folks) For my grounding rod I use a small hollow copper tube. Keep water handy, fill the tube and a small hollow where you put the tube. Mine isn't even that deep, and I get a good shock out of it.

  2. Ah hah! Clever. I always wondered how you'd make an electric fence work out there.