why do some horses have moustaches?

Years ago, when I was 15, I went on a riding holiday with my mum. I only found out years later that she’s actually terrified of horses. And after covering 156km in under a week, being dragged across a field on her bum – she misguidedly held on to the reins for dear life, and being in the saddle when he decided to start rolling around on his back, I don’t think her general feeling towards them has changed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like she dislikes them, she just prefers to admire them from a distance, and certainly not sit on them.

Anyway, to get to the point. There is one I promise. The horses we rode on that holiday both had amazing moustaches. Not just a few whiskers around their mouths. But proper wing commander style ‘tashes, which almost looked as though they got a daily comb and wax, which has always made us laugh.

And over the years, I’ve really not seen many other horses with a comparable upper lip display. But, this morning, myself and the black dog were out on our morning walk, strolling past the ponies, as we frequently do, and what on earth should I see sitting upon the top lip of this lovely lad? That’s right, a big bushy moustache! So I got this photo as evidence and I’m now putting this question out there, why do some horses have moustaches?

I’ll be contacting Abbi (a horse fanatic I know in Cornwall) and I’ve even tweeted Stephen Fry. I’m determined to get to the bottom of this!

Cornish ponies with moustaches

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  1. **UPDATE** Another horsey friend of mine came up with this answer:

    “The moustache is developed so that the horse can feel the grass and differentiate between the types of grass. It makes feeding in poor light and conditions easier too. It’s more commonly seen in native bred ponies that have to scratch about to find the best grass. Your picture is an especially cute example!” Sophie

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