[Answer] Why are they called the “Horse Latitudes”?

Answer: There are two sub-tropical high-pressure belts extending approximately between latitudes 15 and 30 degrees to the north and south of the Equator. Horse latitudes are generally areas of high pressure marked by calm subsiding air that gets heated during descent. It is said that Spanish sailors ferrying horses to the West Indies were usually stuck for months in these calm waters and had to throw their horses into the water to conserve drinking water for themselves.
Why are they called the “Horse Latitudes”?

A likely and documented explanation is that the term is derived from the “dead horse” ritual of seamen (see Beating a dead horse). In this practice the seaman paraded a straw-stuffed effigyof a horse around the deck before throwing it overboard. Seamen were paid partly in advance before a long voyage and they frequently spent their pay all at once resulting in a period of time without income. If they got advances from the ship’s paymaster they would incur debt. This period was called the “dead horse” tim…

They would go selling and teaching other civilizations how to build sail and navigate the ships. … trade winds and high-pressure zones with light winds sometimes called horse latitudes in between. Sailors predict wind direction and strength with knowledge of high-and low-pressure areas and the weather fronts that accompany them.

Mon Jul 05 2004 14:30:00 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time) · The westerlies anti-trades or prevailing westerlies are prevailing winds from the west toward the east in the middle latitudes between 30 and 60 degrees latitude. They originate from the high-pressure areas in the horse latitudes and trend towards the poles and steer extratropical cyclones in this general manner. Tropical cyclones which cross the subtropical ridge axis into the westerlies …

In contrast around the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn the large-scale atmospheric circulation creates dry zones of high pressure called the horse latitudes which is where the temperate deserts are located more or less. It is also why very dry deserts can exist right next to oceans like the Atacama Desert.

The Hadley cell named after George Hadley is a global scale tropical atmospheric circulation that features air rising near the Equator flowing poleward at a height of 10 to 15 kilometers above the earth’s surface descending in the subtropics and then returning equatorward near the surfa…

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