How Far Can a Horse Travel in One Day?
Riders planning to cover very long distances usually only average around 20 miles a day on horseback. However, on one ride that covered a total of 2,600 miles, the horses averaged 31 miles per day. Modern endurance rides cover 100 miles that must be completed in less than 24 hours.
Horses are capable of traveling much faster than 20 or 30 miles per day, but it may not be very good for their long-term health. For example, a famous race held in 1892 that covered 350 miles in 72 hours (averaging 117 miles per day) killed 13% of the horses entered. When horseback riders want to cover long distances at a high rate of speed they generally employ stages, or horse changes. For example, the Pony Express riders averaged 10 miles per hour but changed horses every 25 miles or so. By changing horses, they could routinely cover 80 to 100 miles per day.
How Far Can a Horse Run?
The farthest most horses can sustain a gallop is thought to be around 2 miles, but some Arabian horses can gallop for 2.5 miles before fatigue is a factor. The gallop is the fastest method of movement for the horse, averaging approximately 25 to 30 mph.
The American quarter horse is the fastest horse on record, galloping as fast as 55 mph in short bursts. When a horse is galloping, all four legs leave the ground, making the horse airborne for a split second. In racing horses, stride length is a possible measure of a horse’s potential competitive success. Famous racehorses such as Secretariat have comparatively longer strides than their peers. Secretariat’s stride was almost 25 feet in length.
How Fast Can Horses Run?
The average horse can run at about 30 miles per hour. Horses that are bred to run long distances have been recorded to run up to 40 miles per hour. Quarter horses bred for racing short distances have been reported to run as fast as 50 miles per hour. The highest race speed is recorded at 43.97 miles per hour by Winning Brew in Grantville, PA. on May 14, 2008.
A horse’s gait is loosely classified into two categories: the natural gait and the ambling gait. The natural gait is the way a horse walks, trots, and runs naturally. The ambling gait involves some natural movement, but with some specific breeds, it refers to learned behavior resulting from a lot of training. Once trained, the rider can request certain types of ambling gaits from the horse.
The walk is a natural gait that averages about 4 miles per hour. It keeps to a 1-2-3-4 beat, and variations of this natural gait can be trained to become ambling gaits. The trot is a two-beat gait with a variety of speeds. The average speed of the trot is 8 mils per hour. The canter is a three-beat ambling gait and averages 10 to 17 miles per hour. Gallop is similar to the canter but can be natural or controlled. It averages 25 to 30 miles per hour.
What Is a Horse's Habitat?
Most horses are domesticated, but the small numbers of wild horses in the United States live on islands near the East Coast and in 10 Western states, including Oregon, California, Arizona and New Mexico. Approximately 55,000 wild horses live on about 34 million acres managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
The BLM controls populations of wild horses and wild burros on public lands by various methods, including allowing people to adopt some of the horses. Wild horses are challenging for individuals to manage, and the horses are sometimes neglected or sent to slaughter. The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust and other groups are working to save wild horses’ habitat and help increase their numbers.
Wild horses, known as mustangs, gather in small herds typically including one male and two to eight females, along with foals. Herds graze within a defined territory and typically do not enter other horses’ territory, although they sometimes join forces with other herds to deter predators. They have a clear social order, with the herd following a lead mare to safety when a threat materializes. The male, also known as a stallion, remains in the territory to defend the herd. Males snort and paw the ground to raise dust in a show of aggression.