Pony foals are tiny and will rapidly mature to the approximate size of their parents. Horses are slower growing, some not attaining full mature size until they are six or seven years of age.
In fairness to the riders and these mounts, these size standards help prevent ponies and small horses from showing against larger animals, whose size might give them an advantage. It also isn’t safe to have very small children on tiny ponies riding around the same ring with larger horses.
Some differences between horses and ponies may not be as easy to spot as the size. They can be quite wily, which is why it’s sometimes easier to find a quiet horse for a child than a reliable pony.
They can pull or carry heavy loads with more strength than a horse, relative to their size. Their coats tend to grow thicker in the winter, which often doesn’t shed out until the hottest days of summer.
They begin to grow back their thick coats as soon as the days start to shorten. They are heavier boned and shorter legged in proportion to their bodies compared to horses.
In fact, it’s very easy to overfeed a pony, which makes them more prone to founder and laminates than horses. While some horses can be ‘hard keepers’ most ponies are the extreme opposite, apparently putting on weight just looking at the grass on the other side of the fence.
In general, you can ride them, drive them, and most importantly, pamper them like spoiled pets. Horses and ponies alike have shaped human society, letting people make agricultural and industrial advancements and helping civilizations wage wars and.
As any barn rat will tell you, the main difference between a horse and a pony is height. An equine that measures 14 hands, 2 inches at the withers (the ridge between their shoulder blades) is considered a horse, whereas those that fall below this threshold are known as ponies.
But despite the strict height distinction, how people refer to certain horses and ponies is a bit fluid. Minis were essentially designed to resemble their much-larger counterparts, just drastically smaller, as if they'd been shrunk in the evolutionary dryer.
The Icelandic Horse averages a height of 13 to 14 hands and has a heftier build. As The Horse Rider's Journal reports, the Manipur Pony of India was considered the original polo breed.
A person may call their horse a pony in the same way the owner of a full-grown dog may refer to their pooch as a puppy, but it’s a term of affection rather than an acknowledgment of age. A popular belief among many non-horse people and beginner equestrians is that ponies are baby horses, which is not true today.
A pony measures 14 hands and 2 inches at the withers (the bump that is between the neck and back)or shorter, whereas taller than that height is considered a horse. Here is a video that also explains a bit about the difference between horses and ponies.
I mentioned above that horses and ponies are measured in hands which is equivalent to 4 inches, from the withers down to the ground. As well as whether they are conditioned and trained to carry themselves in a way that puts more weight onto their hind end lifts the front end, causing the withers to become taller and the horse/pony more uphill over time.
When you go to measure the horse/ ponies height make sure the horse is standing square and on level ground. Affiliate Disclosure: These links to horse.com are affiliate links, so if you click through and end up making a purchase I will earn some coffee money.
Another thing to note is that a horse/pony full-grown height occurs when fully mature. Horses and ponies mature at different rates so it depends on the equine.
Though ponies and horses are generally determined by height, there are exceptions to this rule. There are breeds that are considered horses or ponies that don’t always follow the height rule.
But some people still debate whether to determine a horse or pony by height or breed. There are those that would argue and say that Arabian should be considered a pony based on the height.
There are several theories as to why the breed registry calls them horses, such as how much weight they can carry, their bone structure and personality. Other horse breeds that can be at pony height include Fjords, Morgans, Mustangs, Paints, Appaloosas.
Ponies that are well-trained are often great mounts for new and experienced child. They are closer to the ground in the event of a fall, whereas if a child fell off a horse which is much taller injuries could be worse.
Small adults also benefit from riding ponies, which may be more proportionate for there size. It is easier to get on, again less of a fall and the shorter rider is more able to effectively communicate the riding aids than on a horse that may be too big for them.
Horses tend to be the choice of some upper-level competitions like show jumping, dressage, and evening. But there have been some pony-sized competitors, like Teddy with Karen O’ Conner who competed evening internationally and was only just over 14.1 hands.
Before going over the common differences between horse and pony proportions, remember there are exceptions. A ponies head is often shorter in proportion to their body compared to a horse sized head which is usually longer in proportion to their body.
Ponies tend to have thicker bones than horses. Horses are commonly seen as more docile, quiet, willing and easier to work with.
Ponies are commonly seen as more clever, stubborn, cheeky and sometimes need more experienced riders. Ponies tend to have more playful and affectionate personalities compared to horses.
However, the horse and ponies behaviors and temperament can be affected from breeding, age, training, work load, handling, type, feed, care, daily routines and other factors. This also includes how heavy and thick boned the horse or pony is.
“ Ponies reach a mature age and experience a shorter and less rapid growth curve than larger horse breeds.” Kentucky Equine Research Usually horses / ponies will mature first and then their bone density, tendons, ligaments, and muscles after.
How fast a horse or pony grows typically depends on: Through AGE RANGE OF HORSE/PONY MATURITY Small Pony/ Miniature3-4 overlarge/Drafty Pony4-6 gearshift Horse5-6 yearsWarmblood6-8 aircraft Horse6-9 years Just like small dogs tend to live longer lives than bigger dogs, it is similar with horses and ponies.
However, there are horses that live long lives and have longer riding careers due to quality care and good genetics, it’s just not typical. However, many of the pony breeds commonly have strong, hardy feet.
Whereas there are horse breeds that tend to have good feet there are also quite a few horse breeds that tend to have issues with hoof quality, cracking, crumbling, particular prone, sore-footed, thin soles, seedy toe or white line disease, etc. It is common for horses to have thinner manes and tails than ponies.
Horses tend to be able to carry and pull more weight than ponies because they are bigger and heavier. Compared to horses ponies usually have a much slower metabolism known as an easy keeper.
Ever heard the saying “a horse that gets fat on air?” Ponies should get enough hay or grass and most will only need a vitamin supplement with no grain or a very small amount of grain. One problem with ponies being such easy keepers is that they are prone to foundering from eating feed that is too rich or too much food including rich grass.
Horses tend to need more hay and grain-based on their work levels, age, and unique metabolism. Equine Cushing’s disease’s medical term is pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (Paid).
This gland creates hormones in response to signals from the brain. Other symptoms include drinking and peeing a lot, losing weight, sleepiness, increased sweating.
It is believed ponies may have this because of natural selection in the wild. “The longer period of domestication of the horse may have precluded natural selection against poor healing because the wounded horse was/is tended to by man.
Yes in some cases a horse can be considered a pony when they fall under 14.3 hands. Horse and ponies by breed have different characteristics, and personalities.
Aside from breeds, horses, and ponies, the main differentiation is by height. Welsh Mountain Pony (Section A) the smallest Welsh type Welsh Pony of riding type (Section B) the more refined slightly taller than Section A. Welsh Pony of Cob Type (Section C)- Small and stocky type Welsh Cob (Section D), the tallest type sometimes ridden by adults.
In order to reduce the risk of producing a foal that the mare could have problems giving birth to its better to use a male pony and female horse. This is more likely to result in a foal that isn’t as big, but studies have shown that if the height difference is too great then this can also cause birthing complications, albeit a lower risk.
If you do want to mate a pony with or horse or vice versa then it’s important to speak to a vet beforehand. This means that it’s not as strong as a pony so it can’t carry as much weight and therefore can only be ridden by a child weighing less than 5 stone (70lbs), although they are often used for driving.
Being from the same family they obviously look pretty similar, albeit with an often noticeable height difference, but they actually have a lot more in common than just appearances. Yes horses and ponies do have a lot of things in common and yes they do come from the same family tree they are sill two different animals.
My name’s Lucy and since learning to ride at the age of five I’ve not only owned dozens of horses and ponies (and a few donkeys) but I’ve also run a very successful riding school, teaching both English and Western. I have a real passion for horses and feel that they can add so much richness and joy to our lives which is why I created this blog. I want this site to be a real Facebook for new and experienced owners and riders alike.
This blog contains affiliate links, however, I’ve only picked items that I genuinely feel may be of help to you. These links will cost you no more than the standard cost of the item(s) in question but a small percentage of the price will go towards the upkeep of this site and help me to continue with the site so that I can hopefully help others.
A Highland Pony, demonstrating the pony characteristics of sturdy bone, a thick mane and tail, a small head, and small overall size. A pony is a small horse (Equus ferns Catullus). Depending on the context, a pony may be a horse that is under an approximate or exact height at the withers or a small horse with a specific conformation and temperament.
Compared to other horses, ponies often exhibit thick manes, tails and overall coat, as well as proportionally shorter legs, wider barrels, heavier bone, thicker necks, and shorter heads with broader foreheads. The word pony derives from the old French opulent, meaning foal, a young, immature horse, but this is not the modern meaning; unlike a horse foal, a pony remains small when fully grown.
On occasion, people who are unfamiliar with horses may confuse an adult pony with a foal. The ancestors of most modern ponies developed small stature because they lived on marginally livable horse habitat.
These smaller animals were domesticated and bred for various purposes all over the Northern Hemisphere. Ponies were historically used for driving and freight transport, as children's mounts, for recreational riding, and later than competitors and performers in their own right.
During the Industrial Revolution, particularly in Great Britain, a significant number were used as pit ponies, hauling loads of coal in the mines. Properly trained ponies are appropriate mounts for children who are learning to ride.
In modern use, many organizations define a pony as a mature horse that measures less than 14.3 hands (59 inches, 150 cm) at the withers, but there are a number of exceptions. Different organizations that use a strict measurement model vary from 14 hands (56 inches, 142 cm) to nearly 14.3 hands (59 inches, 150 cm).
Many breeds classify an animal as either horse or pony based on pedigree and phenotype, no matter its height. Pony foals are smaller than standard horse foals, but both have long legs and small bodies. For many forms of competition, the official definition of a pony is a horse that measures less than 14.2 hands (58 inches, 147 cm) at the withers.
The International Federation for Equestrian Sports defines the official cutoff point at 148 centimeters (58.3 in; 14.2 hands) without shoes and 149 centimeters (58.66 in; 14.2 1 2 hands) with shoes, though allows a margin for competition measurement of up to 150 centimeters (59.1 in; 14.3 hands) without shoes, or 151 centimeters (59.45 in; 14.3 1 2 hands) with shoes. However, the term “pony” can be used in general (or affectionately) for any small horse, regardless of its actual size or breed.
In Australia, horses that measure from 14 to 15 hands (142 to 152 cm; 56 to 60 inches) are known as a Galloway “, and ponies in Australia measure under 14 hands (56 inches, 142 cm). While foals that will grow up to be horse-sized may be no taller than some ponies in their first months of life, their body proportions are very different.
While ponies exhibit some Neogene with the wide foreheads and small size, their body proportions are similar to that of an adult horse. Ponies originally developed as a land race adapted to a harsh natural environment, and were considered part of the “draft” subtype typical of Northern Europe.
At one time, it was hypothesized that they may have descended from a wild “draft” subspecies of Equus ferns. Studies of mitochondrial DNA (which is passed on though the female line) indicate that many wild mares have contributed to modern domestic breeds; in contrast, studies of y-DNA (passed down the male line) suggest that there was possibly just one single male ancestor of all domesticated breeds.
Domestication of the horse probably first occurred in the Eurasian steppes with horses of between 13 hands (52 inches, 132 cm) to over 14 hands (56 inches, 142 cm), and as horse domestication spread, the male descendants of the original stallion went on to be bred with local wild mares. Domesticated ponies of all breeds originally developed mainly from the need for a working animal that could fulfill specific local draft and transportation needs while surviving in harsh environments.
They are used for children's pony rides at traveling carnivals and at children's private parties where small children can take short rides on ponies that are saddled and then either led individually or hitched to a “pony wheel” (a non-motorized device akin to a hot walker) that leads six to eight ponies at a time. Ponies are sometimes seen at summer camps for children, and are widely used for pony trekking and other forms of Ecotourism riding holidays, often carrying adults as well as children.
Ponies are used for riding Kesäranta pilgrims in India. Ponies are often distinguished by their phenotype, a stocky body, dense bone, round shape and well-sprung ribs.
They have a short head, large eyes and small ears. In addition to being smaller than a horse, their legs are proportionately shorter.
Pony breeds have developed all over the world, particularly in cold and harsh climates where hardy, sturdy working animals were needed. Breeds such as the Connemara pony are recognized for their ability to carry a full-sized adult rider.
Nearly all pony breeds are very hardy, easy keepers that share the ability to thrive on a more limited diet than that of a regular-sized horse, requiring half the hay for their weight as a horse, and often not needing grain at all. Ponies are generally considered intelligent and friendly, though sometimes they also are described as stubborn or cunning.
The differences of opinion often result from an individual pony's degree of proper training. Ponies trained by inexperienced individuals, or only ridden by beginners, can turn out to be spoiled because their riders typically lack the experience base to correct bad habits.
Properly trained ponies are appropriate mounts for children who are learning to ride. The smallest equines are called miniature horses by many of their breeders and breed organizations, rather than ponies, even though they stand smaller than small ponies, usually no taller than 38 inches (97 cm; 9.2 hands) at the withers.
In some breeds, such as the Welsh pony, the horse-versus-pony controversy is resolved by creating separate divisions for consistently horse-sized animals, such as the “Section D” Welsh Cob. The term “pony” is also sometimes used to describe a full-sized horse in a humorous or affectionate sense.
Persons up to 25 years old are eligible for membership, and some members' ponies actually are full-size horses. ^ “PONY MEASUREMENT 2007 30 January 2007 Explanation of Article 3103.1, International Federation for Equestrian Sport Website, Accessed October 7, 2009, Archived 26 July 2011 at the Payback Machine ^ Owlet, Lorna and Philip Mathews, Ponies in Australia, Mil sons Point: 1979 ^ Bennett, Deb (1998).
^ Jansen, Thomas; Forster, Peter; Levine, Marsha A.; Else, Hardy; Hurdles, Matthew; Renfrew, Colin; Weber, Jürgen; Ole, Klaus (6 August 2002). “Limited number of patricides in horse domestication” (PDF).
When our equine companions arrived in the Americas with the Spanish conquistadors, many of the indigenous tribes began adopting them into their cultures. Many of these tribes favored loud-colored animals, and settlers often caught and used wild spotted mustangs.
Eventually, breeders began selecting traits beyond just a loud coat color. They excel at ranch work, rodeo events, but they also make a splash in stuffy English show rings as well.
Common Colors: sorrel, bay, black, brown, chestnut, dun, palomino The humble beginnings of the quarter horse began in the original American colonies.
Just chaos , via Wikimedia CommonsKnown for their smooth gaits and good-natured personalities, American Saddle bred horses excel in the show ring and the lesson barn. As English settlers brought their sleek carriage-pulling Thoroughbreds to America, they crossed them with the now-extinct Narragansett Pacer.
In the South, the “American Saddle Horse” became bigger, flashier, and provided a more comfortable ride. The “Kentucky Saddler” developed to carry plantation owners efficiently and comfortably across their lands, and they were a favorite mount of officers in the Civil War.
While you might generally see them in saddle seat performance rings, they are often shown in hunter classes or Western tack. Even before Roman times, elegant warhorses were used in Spain (and Lusitania) for hundreds of years for ranch work and bullfighting.
Affable and agile, they respond well to light aids, which is a necessary trait during a high-pressure situation (such as a bullfight) and for dressage. There are herds of wild mustangs today that trace their ancestry back to these fine riding horses.
The New Peace people acquired spotted horses from descendants of Spanish bloodstock. They began what would become a sophisticated breeding program for scrappy, hardworking range horses with good sense and tough feet.
Common Uses : Endurance, dressage, jumping, performance, pleasure and trail riding Thousands of years of meticulous breeding by the Bedouin tribes of the Arabian Peninsula created a horse that was swift, loyal, and had excellent stamina.
Common Uses : Driving, pulling, agricultural work, performance, pleasure riding The Belgian breed arrived in America in the late 1800s, but in 1904, Belgium sent “an impressive array of horses to the World’s Fair.
This sparked a public interest in these heavy, docile horses that continues to this day. These gentle giants are relatively easy to handle, and can often be found under saddle in lesson programs or out on the trails.
Common Colors: Bay and brown, usually with wide face markings and white feet Originally from Scotland, the Clydesdale is a popular draft horse for agricultural work, driving, and also riding.
In 1878, General Ulysses S. Grant was gifted two exceptional stallions during a visit with his good friend, the Sultan of Turkey. Bred for speed, stamina, agility, and talent, the Dutch Warm blood can excel at nearly every equestrian discipline.
They consistently perform in top levels of jumping and dressage competitions, including the Olympics. The breed began in Holland, as the needs shifted away from heavy workhorses to lighter riding horses.
After World War II, mechanized farming became the norm, and horses were used for recreation. They are popular choices for sport and competition in the United States, and many are imported directly from Holland.
Today, they are increasing in popularity as a nice show pony, perfect for exhibiting under saddle or driven in harness. The magnificent Frisian is known for its rich black coat, full mane and tail, and sophisticated regal appearance and way of moving.
These majestic black horses also hail from Holland, where strict breeding regulations have maintained exceptionally pure bloodlines for generations. Due to their striking appearance, these horses are also popular in movies and TV.
The Roma is an ethnic group of people that traditionally live and travel with horse-drawn carriages, pulled by striking painted horses. The Roma people have maintained extensive oral pedigrees for their animals creating a well-mannered, easy-keeping, flashy carriage horse.
A blend of Thoroughbred, Arabian, Cleveland Bay and Norfolk trotter, the Hackney is mostly known as an elegant harness horse with a high-stepping energetic trot. But the breed registry does not separate horses and ponies, but Hackney horses must stand over 14.2 hands.
You may also occasionally see them in open saddle seat competitions with Morgans and American Saddlebags. For hundreds of years, farmers in the Tyrolean area of Austria and northern Italy have used the small, stocky, good-natured chestnut Harbinger horse for plowing their rocky terrain.
They are versatile horses, suitable for pleasure riding, light farm work, and dressage. The Hanoverian began as a noble coach horse, hauling the aristocrats of the Holy Roman Empire in the 17th century.
Early Holstein er horses developed in the 13th century, plowing farms for German monasteries. France imported Holsteins by the thousands to use as cavalry horses due to their stamina, strength, and good gaits.
Eventually, farming became mechanized, and the heavy artillery horses of World War II were no longer needed. So, breeders added Thoroughbred and Arabian bloodlines to turn the Holstein er into a talented competition horse.
Despite their small stature (only standing about 12-14 hands tall), they are considered horses, not ponies. They are agreeable and tough, and make excellent mounts for children, beginners, or those with joint problems who might be looking for a smoother ride.
They excel in endurance, trekking, trail riding, and can often be found in low-level dressage or hunter rings. At my barn, we affectionately call them “expensive lawn ornaments.” Although, these intelligent animals can be used to pull carts, in free-jumping or agility, and may be ridden by children.
Common Colors: Bay, black, brown, chestnut, pinto, buckskin, cello, palomino, champagne Another gained mountain breed, the Missouri Fox Trotter is a comfortable ranch and trail horse with a sweet disposition.
Known more for their surefootedness than their flashy movements, these horses are commonly found on the trail or in backyard farms. They’re even used by the U.S. Forest Service to cover thousands of miles of trails and open land.
Many of these traits are still evident today in the Tennessee Walking Horse, Saddle bred, and Standard bred. Today, Morgans make wonderful pleasure horses for riding or driving.
They stand out in the show ring with their fine good looks, but they also make excellent trail and family riding horses as well. When Christopher Columbus and the other conquistadors sailed to the New World, they brought their fine Spanish horses with them.
As more Europeans settled in the Americas, their horses were often sold, stolen, or escaped (not many corrals in those days! After hundreds of years of natural selection, herds of wild horses now roam the American West.
While people were unofficially crossing these two breeds for a long time, now there is a registry for approved sires and dams. While the registry is open to any of the three foundation breeds to produce National Show Horse foals, they still must be approved for breeding by the National Show Horse Registry for the foal to be registered as an NSW.
The hardy little Fjord horse was traditionally used in Norway for farm work, driving, riding, and navigating the harsh rocky climate. These horses have a distinct look that sets them apart from other breeds, including primitive markings and a stiff, mohawk-like mane.
Their small stature and gentle disposition often make them good choices for children, but they’re strong enough to carry adults as well. These horses excel at equestrian sports, and you can often find them in the winning Olympic circles of show jumping, evening, and dressage.
These are well-bred horses, and the breed association has a saying, “quality is the only standard that counts.” Thus, you may have several Oldenburg's that vary slightly in type and conformation. Despite this, they are bold horses with expressive gaits, and they excel in the performance arena.
Common Colors: bay, black, brown, buckskin, chestnut, dun, gray, palomino The Peruvian Pass is a smooth-gaited horse suitable for trail or pleasure riding or exhibiting in the show ring.
Like many other ancient Spanish breeds, the Peruvian Pass developed from the need for a comfortable riding horse over rough terrain. When people spent much of their time on horseback, they wanted comfortable horses with ground-covering ambling gaits.
As roads improved and carriages became more popular, trotting horses became the norm. The Peruvian Pass is known for the unique action of its termini, which is a natural rolling movement of the front leg during their ambling gait.
Like many other American gained breeds, the Racking Horse developed as an answer for crossing large Southern plantations in comfort and style. After racing fell out of favor (although it would later become popular again), Racking Horse owners turned to shows to exhibit the skills of their comfortable breed.
Unlike Tennessee Walking Horses or American Saddlebags, Racking Horses are shown without big shoes or tail sets, and correct form and speed are prized over flashy knee action. These robust sport horses from France often dominate the show jumping arena at the highest levels of competition.
Like many athletic warm bloods, the Sell Français began as a powerful carriage and cavalry horse. Originally from the British Shetland Islands, these ponies worked in the coal mines after child labor was outlawed.
These large, heavy horses were used in England for hundreds of years as strong pack and plow animals, making their way to the Americas in the 1800s. Because they possess excellent movement, they are also often crossed with Thoroughbreds to produce talented jumpers.
The ability to trot or pace is actually determined by a gene, which scientists have recently identified as the DMRT3. Now, breeders can theoretically test young Standard bred racehorses and determine whether their career will be more successful as a pacer or a trotter.
Born in England at the very end of the 17th century, three imported stallions became the foundation sires for what is arguably one of the most popular and influential horse breeds in history. All Thoroughbreds registered with the Jockey Club can trace back their lineage to these three important stallions.
As the racing industry changed (and actually became legal), flatter and longer tracks were built. Hundreds of failed racehorses retire from the racing industry each year, and many are able to excel in other disciplines such as jumping, evening, and dressage.
With a closed studbook, they have a distinct type –these horses have excellent conformation, “compelling presence, and nobility of bearing.” At the end of World War II, hundreds of Trainers traveled across the frozen Baltic Sea, fleeing from Soviet forces.
Only the strongest survived, and these individuals built the athletic and noble horse that exists today. With an endurance that makes them successful at the top levels of competition, they also excel in evening as well.
Like the rest of the warm blood breeds you can find in the US, the Westphalia horse is exceptionally athletic. These horses trace back to those used on the rocky farmland hills of Wales.
They have pleasant dispositions and are easily trainable, making them suitable for a variety of different jobs. Horse Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalian Order: Perissodactyla Family: Equine Genus: Equus Species : Subspecies: Trinomial name Equus ferns Catullus Synonyms The horse (Equus ferns Catullus) is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferns.
It is an odd-toed ungulate mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equine. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature, Phipps, into the large, single-toed animal of today.
Horses in the subspecies Catullus are domesticated, although some domesticated populations live in the wild as feral horses. There is an extensive, specialized vocabulary used to describe equine-related concepts, covering everything from anatomy to life stages, size, colors, markings, breeds, locomotion, and behavior.
Horses are adapted to run, allowing them to quickly escape predators, possessing an excellent sense of balance and a strong fight-or-flight response. Related to this need to flee from predators in the wild is an unusual trait: horses are able to sleep both standing up and lying down, with younger horses tending to sleep significantly more than adults.
Female horses, called mares, carry their young for approximately 11 months, and a young horse, called a foal, can stand and run shortly following birth. Most domesticated horses begin training under a saddle or in a harness between the ages of two and four.
They reach full adult development by age five, and have an average lifespan of between 25 and 30 years. Horse breeds are loosely divided into three categories based on general temperament: spirited “hot bloods” with speed and endurance; “cold bloods”, such as draft horses and some ponies, suitable for slow, heavy work; and warm bloods “, developed from crosses between hot bloods and cold bloods, often focusing on creating breeds for specific riding purposes, particularly in Europe.
There are more than 300 breeds of horse in the world today, developed for many uses. Horses and humans interact in a wide variety of sport competitions and non-competitive recreational pursuits, as well as in working activities such as police work, agriculture, entertainment, and therapy.
Horses were historically used in warfare, from which a wide variety of riding and driving techniques developed, using many styles of equipment and methods of control. Many products are derived from horses, including meat, milk, hide, hair, bone, and pharmaceuticals extracted from the urine of pregnant mares.
Humans provide domesticated horses with food, water, and shelter, as well as attention from specialists such as veterinarians and farriers. Specific terms and specialized language are used to describe equine anatomy, different life stages, and colors and breeds.
Depending on breed, management and environment, the modern domestic horse has a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years. Uncommonly, a few animals live into their 40s and, occasionally, beyond.
The oldest verifiable record was Old Billy “, a 19th-century horse that lived to the age of 62. In modern times, Sugar Puff, who had been listed in Guinness World Records as the world's oldest living pony, died in 2007 at age 56.
Regardless of a horse or pony's actual birthdate, for most competition purposes a year is added to its age each January 1 of each year in the Northern Hemisphere and each August 1 in the Southern Hemisphere. The exception is in endurance riding, where the minimum age to compete is based on the animal's actual calendar age.
Most domesticated foals are weaned at five to seven months of age, although foals can be weaned at four months with no adverse physical effects. Colt : A male horse under the age of four.
A common terminology error is to call any young horse a “colt”, when the term actually only refers to young male horses. Filly : A female horse under the age of four.
The term “horse” is sometimes used colloquially to refer specifically to a stallion. Gelding : A castrated male horse of any age.
In horse racing, these definitions may differ: For example, in the British Isles, Thoroughbred horse racing defines colts and fillies as less than five years old. However, Australian Thoroughbred racing defines colts and fillies as less than four years old.
The height of horses is measured at the highest point of the withers, where the neck meets the back. This point is used because it is a stable point of the anatomy, unlike the head or neck, which move up and down in relation to the body of the horse.
In English-speaking countries, the height of horses is often stated in units of hands and inches: one hand is equal to 4 inches (101.6 mm). The height is expressed as the number of full hands, followed by a point, then the number of additional inches, and ending with the abbreviation “h” or “HH” (for “hands high”).
Light riding horses usually range in height from 14 to 16 hands (56 to 64 inches, 142 to 163 cm) and can weigh from 380 to 550 kilograms (840 to 1,210 lb). Larger riding horses usually start at about 15.2 hands (62 inches, 157 cm) and often are as tall as 17 hands (68 inches, 173 cm), weighing from 500 to 600 kilograms (1,100 to 1,320 lb).
Heavy or draft horses are usually at least 16 hands (64 inches, 163 cm) high and can be as tall as 18 hands (72 inches, 183 cm) high. He stood 21.2 1 4 hands (86.25 inches, 219 cm) high and his peak weight was estimated at 1,524 kilograms (3,360 lb).
The current record holder for the world's smallest horse is Tumbling, a fully mature miniature horse affected by dwarfism. She is 17 in (43 cm) tall and weighs 57 lb (26 kg).
The distinction between a horse and pony is commonly drawn on the basis of height, especially for competition purposes. However, height alone is not dispositive; the difference between horses and ponies may also include aspects of phenotype, including conformation and temperament.
The traditional standard for height of a horse or a pony at maturity is 14.2 hands (58 inches, 147 cm). An animal 14.2 h or over is usually considered to be a horse and one less than 14.2 h a pony, but there are many exceptions to the traditional standard.
In Australia, ponies are considered to be those under 14 hands (56 inches, 142 cm). For competition in the Western division of the United States Equestrian Federation, the cutoff is 14.1 hands (57 inches, 145 cm).
The International Federation for Equestrian Sports, the world governing body for horse sport, uses metric measurements and defines a pony as being any horse measuring less than 148 centimeters (58.27 in) at the withers without shoes, which is just over 14.2 h, and 149 centimeters (58.66 in), or just over 14.2 1 2 h, with shoes. Height is not the sole criterion for distinguishing horses from ponies.
Breed registries for horses that typically produce individuals both under and over 14.2 h consider all animals of that breed to be horses regardless of their height. Conversely, some pony breeds may have features in common with horses, and individual animals may occasionally mature at over 14.2 h, but are still considered to be ponies.
Ponies often exhibit thicker manes, tails, and overall coat. They also have proportionally shorter legs, wider barrels, heavier bone, shorter and thicker necks, and short heads with broad foreheads.
They may have calmer temperaments than horses and also a high level of intelligence that may or may not be used to cooperate with human handlers. Conversely, breeds such as the Flagella and other miniature horses, which can be no taller than 30 inches (76 cm), are classified by their registries as very small horses, not ponies.
Bay (left) and chestnut (sometimes called “sorrel”) are two of the most common coat colors, seen in almost all breeds. Horses exhibit a diverse array of coat colors and distinctive markings, described by a specialized vocabulary.
Often, a horse is classified first by its coat color, before breed or sex. Horses of the same color may be distinguished from one another by white markings, which, along with various spotting patterns, are inherited separately from coat color.
Many genes that create horse coat colors and patterns have been identified. Current genetic tests can identify at least 13 different alleles influencing coat color, and research continues to discover new genes linked to specific traits.
The basic coat colors of chestnut and black are determined by the gene controlled by the Melanocortin 1 receptor, also known as the “extension gene” or “red factor,” as its recessive form is “red” (chestnut) and its dominant form is black. Additional genes control suppression of black color to point coloration that results in a bay, spotting patterns such as pinto or leopard, dilution genes such as palomino or dun, as well as graying, and all the other factors that create the many possible coat colors found in horses.
Grays are born a darker shade, get lighter as they age, but usually keep black skin underneath their white hair coat (except pink skin under white markings). The only horses properly called white are born with a predominantly white hair coat and pink skin, a fairly rare occurrence.
Different and unrelated genetic factors can produce white coat colors in horses, including several alleles of dominant white and the sabino-1 gene. However, there are no albino horses, defined as having both pink skin and red eyes.
Gestation lasts approximately 340 days, with an average range 320–370 days, and usually results in one foal ; twins are rare. Horses are a precocity species, and foals are capable of standing and running within a short time following birth.
The estrous cycle of a mare occurs roughly every 19–22 days and occurs from early spring into autumn. Foals are generally weaned from their mothers between four and six months of age.
Horses, particularly colts, sometimes are physically capable of reproduction at about 18 months, but domesticated horses are rarely allowed to breed before the age of three, especially females. Horses four years old are considered mature, although the skeleton normally continues to develop until the age of six; maturation also depends on the horse's size, breed, sex, and quality of care.
These plates convert after the other parts of the bones, and are crucial to development. Depending on maturity, breed, and work expected, horses are usually put under saddle and trained to be ridden between the ages of two and four.
Although Thoroughbred race horses are put on the track as young as the age of two in some countries, horses specifically bred for sports such as dressage are generally not put under saddle until they are three or four years old, because their bones and muscles are not solidly developed. For endurance riding competition, horses are not deemed mature enough to compete until they are a full 60 calendar months (five years) old.
The horse's four legs and hooves are also unique structures. Their leg bones are proportioned differently from those of a human.
For example, the body part that is called a horse's “knee” is actually made up of the carpal bones that correspond to the human wrist. Similarly, the hock contains bones equivalent to those in the human ankle and heel.
The lower leg bones of a horse correspond to the bones of the human hand or foot, and the fetlock (incorrectly called the “ankle”) is actually the proximal sesamoid bones between the cannon bones (a single equivalent to the human metacarpal or metatarsal bones) and the proximal phalanges, located where one finds the “knuckles” of a human. A horse also has no muscles in its legs below the knees and hocks, only skin, hair, bone, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and the assorted specialized tissues that make up the hoof.
Hooves The critical importance of the feet and legs is summed up by the traditional adage, “no foot, no horse”. The horse hoof begins with the distal phalanges, the equivalent of the human fingertip or tip of the toe, surrounded by cartilage and other specialized, blood-rich soft tissues such as the laminae.
The exterior hoof wall and horn of the sole is made of keratin, the same material as a human fingernail. The end result is that a horse, weighing on average 500 kilograms (1,100 lb), travels on the same bones as would a human on tiptoe.
For the protection of the hoof under certain conditions, some horses have horseshoes placed on their feet by a professional farrier. The hoof continually grows, and in most domesticated horses needs to be trimmed (and horseshoes reset, if used) every five to eight weeks, though the hooves of horses in the wild wear down and regrow at a rate suitable for their terrain.
In an adult horse, there are 12 incisors at the front of the mouth, adapted to biting off the grass or other vegetation. There are 24 teeth adapted for chewing, the premolars and molars, at the back of the mouth.
Stallions and geldings have four additional teeth just behind the incisors, a type of canine teeth called “tushes”. Some horses, both male and female, will also develop one to four very small vestigial teeth in front of the molars, known as “wolf” teeth, which are generally removed because they can interfere with the bit.
There is an empty interdental space between the incisors and the molars where the bit rests directly on the gums, or “bars” of the horse's mouth when the horse is bridled. An estimate of a horse's age can be made from looking at its teeth.
The teeth continue to erupt throughout life and are worn down by grazing. Therefore, the incisors show changes as the horse ages; they develop a distinct wear pattern, changes in tooth shape, and changes in the angle at which the chewing surfaces meet.
This allows a very rough estimate of a horse's age, although diet and veterinary care can also affect the rate of tooth wear. Digestion Horses are herbivores with a digestive system adapted to a forage diet of grasses and other plant material, consumed steadily throughout the day.
Therefore, compared to humans, they have a relatively small stomach but very long intestines to facilitate a steady flow of nutrients. A 450-kilogram (990 lb) horse will eat 7 to 11 kilograms (15 to 24 lb) of food per day and, under normal use, drink 38 to 45 liters (8.4 to 9.9 imp gal; 10 to 12 US gal) of water.
Horses are not ruminants, they have only one stomach, like humans, but unlike humans, they can utilize cellulose, a major component of grass. Cellulose fermentation by symbiotic bacteria occurs in the cecum, or “water gut”, which food goes through before reaching the large intestine.
Horses cannot vomit, so digestion problems can quickly cause colic, a leading cause of death. Senses The horses senses are based on their status as prey animals, where they must be aware of their surroundings at all times.
Their sense of smell, while much better than that of humans, is not quite as good as that of a dog. It is believed to play a key role in the social interactions of horses as well as detecting other key scents in the environment.
The first system is in the nostrils and nasal cavity, which analyze a wide range of odors. These have a separate nerve pathway to the brain and appear to primarily analyze pheromones.
A horse's hearing is good, and the Penna of each ear can rotate up to 180°, giving the potential for 360° hearing without having to move the head. Noise impacts the behavior of horses and certain kinds of noise may contribute to stress: A 2013 study in the UK indicated that stabled horses were calmest in a quiet setting, or if listening to country or classical music, but displayed signs of nervousness when listening to jazz or rock music.
This study also recommended keeping music under a volume of 21 decibels. An Australian study found that stabled racehorses listening to talk radio had a higher rate of gastric ulcers than horses listening to music, and racehorses stabled where a radio was played had a higher overall rate of ulceration than horses stabled where there was no radio playing.
Horses are able to sense contact as subtle as an insect landing anywhere on the body. Horses have an advanced sense of taste, which allows them to sort through fodder and choose what they would most like to eat, and their prehensile lips can easily sort even small grains.
Horses generally will not eat poisonous plants, however, there are exceptions; horses will occasionally eat toxic amounts of poisonous plants even when there is adequate healthy food. All horses move naturally with four basic gaits : the four-beat walk, which averages 6.4 kilometers per hour (4.0 mph); the two-beat trot or jog at 13 to 19 kilometers per hour (8.1 to 11.8 mph) (faster for harness racing horses); the canter or lope, a three-beat gait that is 19 to 24 kilometers per hour (12 to 15 mph); and the gallop.
The gallop averages 40 to 48 kilometers per hour (25 to 30 mph), but the world record for a horse galloping over a short, sprint distance is 70.76 kilometers per hour (43.97 mph). Besides these basic gaits, some horses perform a two-beat pace, instead of the trot.
There also are several four-beat ambling gaits that are approximately the speed of a trot or pace, though smoother to ride. These include the lateral rack, running walk, and told as well as the diagonal fox trot.
Horses are prey animals with a strong fight-or-flight response. Their first reaction to a threat is to startle and usually flee, although they will stand their ground and defend themselves when flight is impossible or if their young are threatened.
They also tend to be curious; when startled, they will often hesitate an instant to ascertain the cause of their fright, and may not always flee from something that they perceive as non-threatening. Most light horse riding breeds were developed for speed, agility, alertness and endurance; natural qualities that extend from their wild ancestors.
Horses are herd animals, with a clear hierarchy of rank, led by a dominant individual, usually a mare. They are also social creatures that are able to form companionship attachments to their own species and to other animals, including humans.
They communicate in various ways, including vocalizations such as nickering or whinnying, mutual grooming, and body language. However, when confined with insufficient companionship, exercise, or stimulation, individuals may develop stable vices, an assortment of bad habits, mostly stereotypes of psychological origin, that include wood chewing, wall kicking, “weaving” (rocking back and forth), and other problems.
Intelligence and learning Domesticated horses may face greater mental challenges than wild horses, because they live in artificial environments that prevent instinctive behavior whilst also learning tasks that are not natural. One trainer believes that “intelligent” horses are reflections of intelligent trainers who effectively use response conditioning techniques and positive reinforcement to train in the style that best fits with an individual animal's natural inclinations.
Temperament Horses are mammals, and as such are warm-blooded, or endothermic creatures, as opposed to cold-blooded, or poikilothermic animals. However, these words have developed a separate meaning in the context of equine terminology, used to describe temperament, not body temperature.
For example, the “hot-bloods”, such as many race horses, exhibit more sensitivity and energy, while the “cold-bloods”, such as most draft breeds, are quieter and calmer. Illustration of assorted breeds; slim, light hot bloods, medium-sized warm bloods and draft and pony-type cold blood breeds”Hot blooded” breeds include oriental horses such as the Akhal-Teke, Arabian horse, Barb and now-extinct Turbofan horse, as well as the Thoroughbred, a breed developed in England from the older oriental breeds.
Hot bloods tend to be spirited, bold, and learn quickly. The original oriental breeds were brought to Europe from the Middle East and North Africa when European breeders wished to infuse these traits into racing and light cavalry horses.
Muscular, heavy draft horses are known as “cold bloods”, as they are bred not only for strength, but also to have the calm, patient temperament needed to pull a plow or a heavy carriage full of people. Well-known draft breeds include the Belgian and the Clydesdale.
Some, like the Percheron, are lighter and livelier, developed to pull carriages or to plow large fields in drier climates. Others, such as the Shire, are slower and more powerful, bred to plow fields with heavy, clay-based soils.
“ Warm blood breeds, such as the Takeover or Hanoverian, developed when European carriage and war horses were crossed with Arabians or Thoroughbreds, producing a riding horse with more refinement than a draft horse, but greater size and milder temperament than a lighter breed. Certain pony breeds with warm blood characteristics have been developed for smaller riders.
Sleep patterns When horses lie down to sleep, others in the herd remain standing, awake or in a light doze, keeping watch. In an adaptation from life in the wild, horses are able to enter light sleep by using a stay apparatus in their legs, allowing them to doze without collapsing.
A horse kept alone will not sleep well because its instincts are to keep a constant eye out for danger. Unlike humans, horses do not sleep in a solid, unbroken period of time, but take many short periods of rest.
Horses spend four to fifteen hours a day in standing rest, and from a few minutes to several hours lying down. Total sleep time in a 24-hour period may range from several minutes to a couple of hours, mostly in short intervals of about 15 minutes each.
They only have to lie down for an hour or two every few days to meet their minimum REM sleep requirements. However, if a horse is never allowed to lie down, after several days it will become sleep-deprived, and in rare cases may suddenly collapse as it involuntarily slips into REM sleep while still standing.
This condition differs from narcolepsy, although horses may also suffer from that disorder. From left to right: Size development, biometrical changes in the cranium, reduction of toes (left forefoot)The horse adapted to survive in areas of wide-open terrain with sparse vegetation, surviving in an ecosystem where other large grazing animals, especially ruminants, could not.
The earliest known member of the family Equine was the Hyracotherium, which lived between 45 and 55 million years ago, during the Eocene period. The extra toe on the front feet soon disappeared with the Mesohippus, which lived 32 to 37 million years ago.
Over time, the extra side toes shrank in size until they vanished. All that remains of them in modern horses is a set of small vestigial bones on the leg below the knee, known informally as splint bones.
Their legs also lengthened as their toes disappeared until they were a hooked animal capable of running at great speed. By about 5 million years ago, the modern Equus had evolved.
Equip teeth also evolved from browsing on soft, tropical plants to adapt to browsing of drier plant material, then to grazing of tougher plains grasses. Thus, photo- horses changed from leaf-eating forest-dwellers to grass-eating inhabitants of semi-arid regions worldwide, including the steppes of Eurasia and the Great Plains of North America.
By about 15,000 years ago, Equus ferns was a widespread Arctic species. Horse bones from this time period, the late Pleistocene, are found in Europe, Eurasia, Bering, and North America.
Yet between 10,000 and 7,600 years ago, the horse became extinct in North America and rare elsewhere. The reasons for this extinction are not fully known, but one theory notes that extinction in North America paralleled human arrival.
Another theory points to climate change, noting that approximately 12,500 years ago, the grasses characteristic of a steppe ecosystem gave way to shrub tundra, which was covered with unpalatable plants. A small herd of Przewalski's Horses A truly wild horse is a species or subspecies with no ancestors that were ever domesticated.
Therefore, most “wild” horses today are actually feral horses, animals that escaped or were turned loose from domestic herds and the descendants of those animals. The Przewalski's horse (Equus ferns przewalskii), named after the Russian explorer Nikolai Przhevalsky, is a rare Asian animal.
It is also known as the Mongolian wild horse; Mongolian people know it as the take, and the Kerry people call it a airbag. The subspecies was presumed extinct in the wild between 1969 and 1992, while a small breeding population survived in zoos around the world.
In 1992, it was reestablished in the wild due to the conservation efforts of numerous zoos. Today, a small wild breeding population exists in Mongolia.
There are additional animals still maintained at zoos throughout the world. The Tarzan or European wild horse (Equus ferus) was found in Europe and much of Asia.
It survived into the historical era, but became extinct in 1909, when the last captive died in a Russian zoo. Attempts to have been made to recreate the Tarzan, which resulted in horses with outward physical similarities, but nonetheless descended from domesticated ancestors and not true wild horses.
Periodically, populations of horses in isolated areas are speculated to be relict populations of wild horses, but generally have been proven to be feral or domestic. For example, the Roche horse of Tibet was proposed as such, but testing did not reveal genetic differences from domesticated horses.
Similarly, the Sorrier of Portugal was proposed as a direct descendant of the Tarzan based on shared characteristics, but genetic studies have shown that the Sorrier is more closely related to other horse breeds and that the outward similarity is an unreliable measure of relatedness. The most common hybrid is the mule, a cross between a “jack” (male donkey) and a mare.
A related hybrid, a Ginny, is a cross between a stallion and a jenny (female donkey). Other hybrids include the horse, a cross between a zebra and a horse.
With rare exceptions, most hybrids are sterile and cannot reproduce. Bhimbetka rock painting showing a man riding on a horse, IndiaDomestication of the horse most likely took place in Central Asia prior to 3500 BC.
Two major sources of information are used to determine where and when the horse was first domesticated and how the domesticated horse spread around the world. The first source is based on pathological and archaeological discoveries; the second source is a comparison of DNA obtained from modern horses to that from bones and teeth of ancient horse remains.
The earliest archaeological evidence for the domestication of the horse comes from sites in Ukraine and Kazakhstan, dating to approximately 3500–4000 BC. By 3000 BC, the horse was completely domesticated and by 2000 BC there was a sharp increase in the number of horse bones found in human settlements in northwestern Europe, indicating the spread of domesticated horses throughout the continent.
The most recent, but most irrefutable evidence of domestication comes from sites where horse remains were interred with chariots in graves of the Sintashta and Petrov cultures c. 2100 BC. Domestication is also studied by using the genetic material of present-day horses and comparing it with the genetic material present in the bones and teeth of horse remains found in archaeological and pathological excavations.
The variation in the genetic material shows that very few wild stallions contributed to the domestic horse, while many mares were part of early domesticated herds. This is reflected in the difference in genetic variation between the DNA that is passed on along the paternal, or sire line (Y-chromosome) versus that passed on along the maternal, or dam line (mitochondrial DNA).
There are very low levels of Y-chromosome variability, but a great deal of genetic variation in mitochondrial DNA. There is also regional variation in mitochondrial DNA due to the inclusion of wild mares in domestic herds.
Another characteristic of domestication is an increase in coat color variation. In horses, this increased dramatically between 5000 and 3000 BC.
Before the availability of DNA techniques to resolve the questions related to the domestication of the horse, various hypotheses were proposed. One classification was based on body types and conformation, suggesting the presence of four basic prototypes that had adapted to their environment prior to domestication.
Another hypothesis held that the four prototypes originated from a single wild species and that all different body types were entirely a result of selective breeding after domestication. However, the lack of a detectable substructure in the horse has resulted in a rejection of both hypotheses.
Feral horses are born and live in the wild, but are descended from domesticated animals. Many populations of feral horses exist throughout the world.
Studies of feral herds have provided useful insights into the behavior of prehistoric horses, as well as greater understanding of the instincts and behaviors that drive horses that live in domesticated conditions. There are also semi-feral horses in many parts of the world, such as Dartmoor and the New Forest in the UK, where the animals are all privately owned but live for significant amounts of time in “wild” conditions on undeveloped, often public, lands.
Owners of such animals often pay a fee for grazing rights. The concept of purebred bloodstock and a controlled, written breed registry has come to be particularly significant and important in modern times.
Sometimes purebred horses are incorrectly or inaccurately called “thoroughbreds”. Thoroughbred is a specific breed of horse, while a “purebred” is a horse (or any other animal) with a defined pedigree recognized by a breed registry.
Horse breeds are groups of horses with distinctive characteristics that are transmitted consistently to their offspring, such as conformation, color, performance ability, or disposition. These inherited traits result from a combination of natural crosses and artificial selection methods.
An early example of people who practiced selective horse breeding were the Bedouin, who had a reputation for careful practices, keeping extensive pedigrees of their Arabian horses and placing great value upon pure bloodlines. These pedigrees were originally transmitted via an oral tradition.
In the 14th century, Cartesian monks of southern Spain kept meticulous pedigrees of bloodstock lineages still found today in the Andalusian horse. Breeds developed due to a need for “form to function”, the necessity to develop certain characteristics in order to perform a particular type of work.
Thus, a powerful but refined breed such as the Andalusian developed as riding horses with an aptitude for dressage. Heavy draft horses were developed out of a need to perform demanding farm work and pull heavy wagons.
Other horse breeds had been developed specifically for light agricultural work, carriage and road work, various sport disciplines, or simply as pets. Some breeds developed through centuries of crossing other breeds, while others descended from a single foundation sire, or other limited or restricted foundation bloodstock.
One of the earliest formal registries was General Stud Book for Thoroughbreds, which began in 1791 and traced back to the foundation bloodstock for the breed. Worldwide, horses play a role within human cultures and have done so for millennia.
Horses are used for leisure activities, sports, and working purposes. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that in 2008, there were almost 59,000,000 horses in the world, with around 33,500,000 in the Americas, 13,800,000 in Asia and 6,300,000 in Europe and smaller portions in Africa and Oceania.
The American Horse Council estimates that horse-related activities have a direct impact on the economy of the United States of over $39 billion, and when indirect spending is considered, the impact is over $102 billion. In a 2004 “poll” conducted by Animal Planet, more than 50,000 viewers from 73 countries voted for the horse as the world's 4th favorite animal.
Communication between human and horse is paramount in any equestrian activity; to aid this process horses are usually ridden with a saddle on their backs to assist the rider with balance and positioning, and a bridle or related headgear to assist the rider in maintaining control. Many horses are also driven, which requires a harness, bridle, and some type of vehicle.
Historically, equestrians honed their skills through games and races. Equestrian sports provided entertainment for crowds and honed the excellent horsemanship that was needed in battle.
Many sports, such as dressage, evening and show jumping, have origins in military training, which were focused on control and balance of both horse and rider. Other sports, such as rodeo, developed from practical skills such as those needed on working ranches and stations.
Horse racing of all types evolved from impromptu competitions between riders or drivers. All forms of competition, requiring demanding and specialized skills from both horse and rider, resulted in the systematic development of specialized breeds and equipment for each sport.
The popularity of equestrian sports through the centuries has resulted in the preservation of skills that would otherwise have disappeared after horses stopped being used in combat. Horses are trained to be ridden or driven in a variety of sporting competitions.
Examples include show jumping, dressage, three-day evening, competitive driving, endurance riding, gymkhana, rodeos, and fox hunting. Horse shows, which have their origins in medieval European fairs, are held around the world.
They host a huge range of classes, covering all the mounted and harness disciplines, as well as “In-hand” classes where the horses are led, rather than ridden, to be evaluated on their conformation. The method of judging varies with the discipline, but winning usually depends on style and ability of both horse and rider.
Examples of these sports of partnership between human and horse include jousting, in which the main goal is for one rider to unseat the other, and burkas, a team game played throughout Central Asia, the aim being to capture a goat carcass while on horseback. Horse racing is an equestrian sport and major international industry, watched in almost every nation of the world.
There are three types: “flat” racing; steeple chasing, i.e. racing over jumps; and harness racing, where horses trot or pace while pulling a driver in a small, light cart known as a sulky. A major part of horse racing's economic importance lies in the gambling associated with it.
There are certain jobs that horses do very well, and no technology has yet developed to fully replace them. For example, mounted police horses are still effective for certain types of patrol duties and crowd control.
Cattle ranches still require riders on horseback to round up cattle that are scattered across remote, rugged terrain. Search and rescue organizations in some countries depend upon mounted teams to locate people, particularly hikers and children, and to provide disaster relief assistance.
Horses can also be used in areas where it is necessary to avoid vehicular disruption to delicate soil, such as nature reserves. They may also be the only form of transport allowed in wilderness areas.
Law enforcement officers such as park rangers or game wardens may use horses for patrols, and horses or mules may also be used for clearing trails or other work in areas of rough terrain where vehicles are less effective. Although machinery has replaced horses in many parts of the world, an estimated 100 million horses, donkeys and mules are still used for agriculture and transportation in less developed areas.
This number includes around 27 million working animals in Africa alone. Some land management practices such as cultivating and logging can be efficiently performed with horses.
In agriculture, less fossil fuel is used and increased environmental conservation occurs over time with the use of draft animals such as horses. Logging with horses can result in reduced damage to soil structure and less damage to trees due to more selective logging.
The first archaeological evidence of horses used in warfare dates to between 4000 and 3000 BC, and the use of horses in warfare was widespread by the end of the Bronze Age. Although mechanization has largely replaced the horse as a weapon of war, horses are still seen today in limited military uses, mostly for ceremonial purposes, or for reconnaissance and transport activities in areas of rough terrain where motorized vehicles are ineffective.
Horses have been used in the 21st century by the Janjaweed militias in the War in Darfur. The horse-headed deity in Hinduism, Hayagriva Modern horses are often used to reenact many of their historical work purposes.
Horses are used, complete with equipment that is authentic or a meticulously recreated replica, in various live action historical reenactments of specific periods of history, especially recreations of famous battles. Horses are also used to preserve cultural traditions and for ceremonial purposes.
Countries such as the United Kingdom still use horse-drawn carriages to convey royalty and other VIPs to and from certain culturally significant events. Public exhibitions are another example, such as the Budweiser Clydesdale's, seen in parades and other public settings, a team of draft horses that pull a beer wagon similar to that used before the invention of the modern motorized truck.
Horses are frequently used in television, films and literature. They are sometimes featured as a major character in films about particular animals, but also used as visual elements that assure the accuracy of historical stories.
The horse frequently appears in coats of arms in heraldry, in a variety of poses and equipment. The mythologies of many cultures, including Greco-Roman, Hindu, Islamic, and Norse, include references to both normal horses and those with wings or additional limbs, and multiple myths also call upon the horse to draw the chariots of the Moon and Sun.
People of all ages with physical and mental disabilities obtain beneficial results from an association with horses. Therapeutic riding is used to mentally and physically stimulate disabled persons and help them improve their lives through improved balance and coordination, increased self-confidence, and a greater feeling of freedom and independence.
The benefits of equestrian activity for people with disabilities has also been recognized with the addition of equestrian events to the Paralympic Games and recognition of para-equestrian events by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI). Hippo therapy and therapeutic horseback riding are names for different physical, occupational, and speech therapy treatment strategies that utilize equine movement.
In hippo therapy, a therapist uses the horse's movement to improve their patient's cognitive, coordination, balance, and fine motor skills, whereas therapeutic horseback riding uses specific riding skills. Horses also provide psychological benefits to people whether they actually ride or not.
“Equine-assisted” or “equine-facilitated” therapy is a form of experiential psychotherapy that uses horses as companion animals to assist people with mental illness, including anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, mood disorders, behavioral difficulties, and those who are going through major life changes. There are also experimental programs using horses in prison settings.
Exposure to horses appears to improve the behavior of inmates and help reduce recidivism when they leave. Products collected from living horses include mare's milk, used by people with large horse herds, such as the Mongols, who let it ferment to produce Luis.
Horse blood was once used as food by the Mongols and other nomadic tribes, who found it a convenient source of nutrition when traveling. Drinking their own horses blood allowed the Mongols to ride for extended periods of time without stopping to eat.
The drug Remain is a mixture of estrogens extracted from the urine of pregnant mares (pregnant ma res' your in e), and was previously a widely used drug for hormone replacement therapy. The tail hair of horses can be used for making bows for string instruments such as the violin, viola, cello, and double bass.
Horse meat has been used as food for humans and carnivorous animals throughout the ages. Approximately 5 million horses are slaughtered each year for meat worldwide.
It is eaten in many parts of the world, though consumption is taboo in some cultures, and a subject of political controversy in others. Horse hooves can also be used to produce animal glue.
Specifically, in Italian cuisine, the horse tibia is sharpened into a probe called a Shinto, which is used to test the readiness of a (pig) ham as it cures. In Asia, the saga is a horsehide vessel used in the production of Luis.
Checking teeth and other physical examinations are an important part of horse care. Horses are grazing animals, and their major source of nutrients is good-quality forage from hay or pasture.
They can consume approximately 2% to 2.5% of their body weight in dry feed each day. Sometimes, concentrated feed such as grain is fed in addition to pasture or hay, especially when the animal is very active.
When grain is fed, equine nutritionists recommend that 50% or more of the animal's diet by weight should still be forage. Horses require a plentiful supply of clean water, a minimum of 10 US gallons (38 L) to 12 US gallons (45 L) per day.
Although horses are adapted to live outside, they require shelter from the wind and precipitation, which can range from a simple shed or shelter to an elaborate stable. Horses require routine hoof care from a farrier, as well as vaccinations to protect against various diseases, and dental examinations from a veterinarian or a specialized equine dentist.
If horses are kept inside in a barn, they require regular daily exercise for their physical health and mental well-being. When turned outside, they require well-maintained, sturdy fences to be safely contained.
Regular grooming is also helpful to help the horse maintain good health of the hair coat and underlying skin. System natural per Regina trial natural :second classes, or dines, genera, species, cum characterizes, differential, synonyms, Louis.
Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). “Usage of 17 specific names based on wild species which are predated by or contemporary with those based on domestic animals (Lepidoptera, Osteichthyes, Mammalian): conserved.
The Manual of Horsemanship of the British Horse Society and the Pony Club (6th edition, reprinted 1970 ed.). Kenilworth, UK: British Horse Society.
101 of the Most Perplexing Questions Answered About Equine Enigmas, Medical Mysteries, and Befuddling Behaviors. “World's smallest horse has tall order”.
^ “2012 United States Equestrian Federation, Inc. Rule Book”. ^ “Annex XVII: Extracts from Rules for Pony Riders and Children, 9th edition” (PDF).
^ For example, the Missouri Fox Trotter, or the Arabian horse. 52–63 ^ Cane, p. 200 ^ “Chromosome Numbers in Different Species ".
^ “Sequenced horse genome expands understanding of equine, human diseases”. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
“A misses mutation in the gene for melanocyte-stimulating hormone receptor (MC1R) is associated with the chestnut coat color in horses “. “Allele Heterogeneity at the Equine KIT Locus in Dominant White (W) Horses ".
MAU, C.; Ponce, P. A.; Butcher, B.; Stranger, G.; Raider, S. (2004). “Genetic mapping of dominant white (W), a homozygous lethal condition in the horse (Equus Catullus)”.
“Rare Twin Foals Born at Vet Hospital: Twin Birth Occurrences Number One in Ten A Thousand”. Communications Services, Oklahoma State University.
“Developmental Orthopedic Disease: Problems of Limbs in young Horses ". Story's Guide to Training Horses : Ground Work, Driving, Riding.
^ “Eye Position and Animal Agility Study Published”. Press Release, citing February 2010 Journal of Anatomy, Dr. Nathan Jeffery, co-author, University of Liverpool.
“Horse Handling and Riding Guidelines Part 1: Equine Senses” (PDF). “Horse Pasture is No Place for Poisonous Plants”.
Conquerors: The Roots of New World Horsemanship (First ed.). 122–123 ^ Examples are the Australian Riding Pony and the Connemara, see Edwards, pp.
Florida Museum of Natural History. “Evolution, Systematic, and Paleogeography of Pleistocene Horses in the New World: A Molecular Perspective”.
“Ancient DNA reveals late survival of mammoth and horse in interior Alaska”. “A calendar chronology for Pleistocene mammoth and horse extinction in North America based on Bayesian radiocarbon calibration”.
Boulder, CO: Roberts Richard Publishers. ^ “An extraordinary return from the brink of extinction for worlds last wild horse”.
The Foundation for the Preservation and Protection of the Przewalski Horse. Oregon couple revives prehistoric Tarzan horses ".
Álvarez, I.; Beja-Pereira, A.; Molina, A.; Fernández, I.; Jordana, J.; Gómez, E.; Gutiérrez, J. P.; Gouache, F. (2005). “The Origins of Iberian Horses Assessed via Mitochondrial DNA”.
“Ancient DNA reveals traces of Iberian Neolithic and Bronze Age lineages in modern Iberian horses (PDF). Wilson & Reader's mammal species of the world.
^ “Befuddling Birth: The Case of the Mule's Foal”. ^ Outran, A. K.; Stare, N. A.; Kendra, R; Olsen, S; Kasparov, A; Albert, V; Thorpe, N; Ever shed, R. P. (2009).
Shaping World History: Breakthroughs in Ecology, Technology, Science, and Politics. ^ “Horsey-aeology, Binary Black Holes, Tracking Red Tides, Fish Re-evolution, Walk Like a Man, Fact or Fiction”.
^ a b LAU, A. N.; Peng, L.; Got, H.; Chem nick, L.; Ryder, O. “Horse Domestication and Conservation Genetics of Przewalski's Horse Inferred from Sex Chromosomal and Autosomal Sequences”.
^ Lindgren, Gabriella; Nicolas Backstroke; June Swinburne; Linda Hellebore; Annika Einarsson; Key Sandberg; Gus Cochran; Charles Vila; Matthew Binds; Hans Allergen (2004). “Limited number of patricides in horse domestication”.
“Widespread origins of domestic horse lineages”. ^ a b c CAI, D. W.; Tang, Z. W.; Han, L.; Speller, C. F.; Yang, D. Y. Y.; Ma, X. L.; Can, J. E.; AHU, H.; Zhou, H.; et al. (2009).
“Ancient DNA provides new insights into the origin of the Chinese domestic horse” (PDF). “Early Horse Domestication: Weighing the Evidence”.
In Olsen, Sandra L; Grant, Susan; Choke, Alice M.; Bartosiewicz, Laszlo (eds.). “Domestication Features in Animals as Functions of Human Society”.
^ Ludwig, A.; Provost, M.; Weissmann, M.; Bedecked, N.; Brockman, G.A. “Coat Color Variation at the Beginning of Horse Domestication”.
^ “Most Comprehensive Horse Study Ever Reveals A Nearly $40 Billion Impact On The U.S. Economy” (PDF) (Press release). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 25, 2006.
Portal, VT: Story Communications, Inc. pp. 376–377 ^ a b Edwards, p. 360 ^ Collins, Tony; Martin, John; Sample, Way (2005).
“The Earliest Horseback Riding and its Relation to Charity and Warfare”. “In Sudan, Militiamen on Horses Uproot a Million”.
New York: Checkmark Books (Facts On File imprint). “House votes to outlaw slaughter of horses for human consumption”.
Bone, Antler, Ivory and Horn: Technology of Skeletal Materials Since the Roman Period. Eating Up Italy: Voyages on a Vespa.
Nee nah, WI: Russell Meeting Company Ltd. ISBN 978-0-929346-65-6. Price, Steven D.; Spector, David L.; Rent sch, Gail; Burn, Barbara B., eds.