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.
Stallion : A non-castrated male horse four years old and older. 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. Skeletal system The skeletal system of a modern horseshoe horse skeleton averages 205 bones.
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.
The most sensitive areas are around the eyes, ears, and nose. 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. The cold-blooded group also includes some pony breeds.
“ 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. 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. Sports such as polo do not judge the horse itself, but rather use the horse as a partner for human competitors as a necessary part of the game.
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.
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.
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.
^ International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (2003). “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.
American Endurance Riding Conference. 101 of the Most Perplexing Questions Answered About Equine Enigmas, Medical Mysteries, and Befuddling Behaviors.
^ “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. Wade, C. M; Giotto, E; Sigurdsson, S; Zola, M; Genre, S; Island, F; Lear, T. L; Abelson, D. L; Bailey, E; Bell one, R. R; Blocker, H; Distal, O; Edgar, R. C; Garber, M; Lee, T; Marcel, E; MacLeod, J. N; Opened, M. C. T; Raisin, J. M; Sharpe, T; Vogel, J; Anderson, L; Amtrak, D. F; Big, T; Binds, M. M; Chaudhary, B. P; Coleman, S. J; Della Value, G; Fry, S; et al. (2009-11-05).
Maryland, L.; M. Johansson Miller; K. Sandberg; L. Anderson (1996). “A misses mutation in the gene for melanocyte-stimulating hormone receptor (MC1R) is associated with the chestnut coat color in horses “.
^ a b “Introduction to Coat Color Genetics”. “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)”.
Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics. “Rare Twin Foals Born at Vet Hospital: Twin Birth Occurrences Number One in Ten A Thousand”.
“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”.
122–123 ^ Examples are the Australian Riding Pony and the Connemara, see Edwards, pp. 178–179, 208–209 ^ Price, Steven D.; Shears, Jessie (2007).
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^ “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).
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^ “Horsey-aeology, Binary Black Holes, Tracking Red Tides, Fish Re-evolution, Walk Like a Man, Fact or Fiction”. Quirks and Quarks Podcast with Bob Macdonald.
^ 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”.
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Written by Katherine Blockader Horses are such fascinating creatures. Even if you never learned to ride one, you could spend your whole life studying them and still have plenty to explore.
Daniel Valley FRS / Getty Images Yes, horses do sleep standing up! They can't vomit or breathe through their mouths like humans do either.
A horse's digestive system is a one-way street, unlike cattle and other ruminants who regurgitate food to re-chew it. Although they have a pretty efficient way of processing the tough fibrous foods that make up their forage, this long, one-directional system can cause problems that result in colic.
Because of this, just as human life expectancy has increased, so has equine longevity. Appreciated by beginner riders and professional horsemen alike, the American quarter horse is the world's most popular breed.
Learn about the Arabian horse and its unique history and characteristics. Humans are omnivores, lions are carnivores, and horses are herbivores.
The way their teeth are formed, the position of their eyes, and the type of digestive system are all typical characteristics of herbivores. To keep your horse happy, it will need a (preferably equine) friend.
Humankind's relationship with the horse began a little more recently, about 3,500 B.C. Although some evidence has come to light that horses may have been domesticated even earlier.
The standard measurement for determining the height of a horse is called a hand. These “white” horses may start as bay, chestnut, or almost black.
It's important to know the resting pulse and respiration rate of your horse. While the resting respiration rate of a horse can be as low as four breaths per minute, that can quickly increase with work or distress.
Learn your horse's resting pulse and respiration rate (TPR). But, horses remain fillies or colts until they are two years of age.
The original horse was no larger than a golden retriever. Diminutive Hyracotherium may have looked more like a small goat or deer than a modern-day horse.
Hyracotherium lived during the Eocene epoch about 50 million years ago. Asian nomads probably domesticated the first horses some 4,000 years ago, and the animals remained essential to many human societies until the advent of the engine.
Horses still hold a place of honor in many cultures, often linked to heroic exploits in war. There is only one species of domestic horse, but around 400 different breeds that specialize in everything from pulling wagons to racing.
Free-roaming North American mustangs, for example, are the descendants of horses brought by Europeans more than 400 years ago. A stallion (mature male) leads the group, which consists of mares (females) and young foals.
When young males become colts, at around two years of age, the stallion drives them away. The colts then roam with other young males until they can gather their own band of females.
Equus is a genus of mammals in the familyEquidae, which includes horses, donkeys, and zebras. Within Equine, Equus is the only recognized extant genus, comprising seven living species.
Like Equine more broadly, Equus has numerous extinct species known only from fossils. The genus most likely originated in North America and spread quickly to the Old World.
All species are herbivorous, and mostly grazers, with simpler digestive systems than ruminants but able to subsist on lower-quality vegetation. While the domestic horse and donkey (along with their feral descendants) exist worldwide, wild equine populations are limited to Africa and Asia.
Wild equine social systems are in two forms; a harem system with tight-knit groups consisting of one adult male or stallion, several females or mares, and their young or foals ; and a territorial system where males establish territories with resources that attract females, which associate very fluidly. In both systems, females take care of their offspring, but males may play a role as well.
Human activities have threatened wild equine populations. The word Equus is Latin for “horse” and is cognate with the Greek (hippos, “horse”) and Mycenaean Greek into /inks/, the earliest attested variant of the Greek word, written in Linear B syllabic script.
Compare the alternative development of the labiovelar in Ionic (inks). The first equips were small, dog-sized mammals (e.g. Phipps) adapted for browsing on shrubs during the Eocene, around 54 million years ago (MYA).
Equips developed into larger, three-toed animals (e.g. Mesohippus) during the Oligocene and Miocene. From there, the side toes became progressively smaller through the Pleistocene until the emergence of the single-toed Equus.
The genus Equus, which includes all extant equines, is believed to have evolved from Dinohippus, via the intermediate form Plesippus. One of the oldest species is Equus simplifies, described as zebra-like with a donkey-like head shape.
The oldest material to date was found in Idaho, USA. The genus appears to have spread quickly into the Old World, with the similarly aged E. livenzovensis documented from Western Europe and Russia.
Molecular phylogeny indicate that the most recent common ancestor of all modern equines (members of the genus Equus) lived ~5.6 (3.9-7.8) MYA. Direct paleogenomic sequencing of a 700,000-year-old middle Pleistocene horse metaphorical bone from Canada implies a more recent 4.07 MYA for the most recent common ancestor within the range of 4.0 to 4.5 MYA.
Mitochondrial evidence supports the division of Equus species into noncaballoid (which includes zebras and asses) and tabloids or “true horses (which includes E. ferns and E. przewalskii). Of the extant equine species, the lineage of the asses may have diverged first, possibly as soon as Equus reached the Old World.
Zebras appear to be monophyletic and differentiated in Africa, where they are endemic. Members of the subgenus Sussemionus were abundant during the Early and Middle Pleistocene of North America and Afro-Eurasia, but only a single species, E. voodoo survived into the Late Pleistocene in south Siberia and North-East China.
Mitochondrial DNA from E. voodoo have placed the Sussemionus lineage as closer to zebras than to asses. Molecular dating indicates the tabloid lineage diverged from the noncaballoids 4 MYA.
Genetic results suggest that all North American fossils of cabal line equines, as well as South American fossils traditionally placed in the subgenus E. (Amerhippus), belong to E. ferns. Remains attributed to a variety of species and lumped together as New World stilt-legged horses (including E. Francisco, E. tau, and E. Quinn) probably all belong to a second species that was endemic to North America.
This was confirmed in a genetic study done in 2017, which subsumed all the specimens into the species E. Francisco which was placed outside all extant horse species in the new genus Haringtonhippus , although its placement as a separate genus was subsequently questioned. A separate genus of horse, Hippidion existed in South America.
The possible causes of the extinction of horses in the Americas (about 12,000 years ago) have been a matter of debate. Hypotheses include climatic change and overexploitation by newly arrived humans.
Horses only returned to the American mainland with the arrival of the conquistadors in 1519. Subgenus Image Scientific name Common name Distribution Equus Equus ferns includes Equus ferns Catullus and Equus ferns przewalskii Wild horse includes domesticated horse and Przewalski's horse Eurasia AsinusEquus Africans African wild ass ; includes domesticated donkey Horn of Africa, in Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia Equus heinous Onsager, Hermione, or Asiatic wild ass Iran, Pakistan, India, and Mongolia, including in Central Asian hot and cold deserts of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and China Equus kiang Tibetan Plateau HippotigrisEquus gravy Gravy's zebra Kenya and Ethiopia Equus quanta Plains zebra south of Ethiopia through East Africa to as far south as Botswana and eastern South Africa Equus zebra Mountain zebra south-western Angola, Namibia and South Africa.
A mule (horse and donkey hybrid) Equine species can crossbreed with each other. The most common hybrid is the mule, a cross between a male donkey and a female horse.
With rare exceptions, these hybrids are sterile and cannot reproduce. A related hybrid, a Ginny, is a cross between a male horse and a female donkey.
Gravy's zebra is the largest wild species, standing up to 13.2 hands (54 inches, 137 cm) and weighing up to 405 kg (890 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) and weigh from about 700 to 1,000 kg (1,500 to 2,200 lb).
Some miniature horses are no taller than 30 inches (76 cm) in adulthood. The penis of the male is vascular and lacks a bone (vacuum).
Equines are adapted for running and traveling over long distances. Their dentition is adapted for grazing ; they have large incisors that clip grass blades and highly crowned, ridged molars well suited for grinding.
Males have spade-shaped canines (“tushes”), which can be used as weapons in fighting. Equines have fairly good senses, particularly their eyesight.
Their moderately long, erect ears are movable and can locate the source of a sound. A dun -colored coat with primitive markings that include a dorsal stripe and often leg striping and transverse shoulder stripes reflect the wild type coat and are observed in most wild extant equine species.
In domestic horses, dun color and primitive markings exist in some animals across many breeds. The purpose of the bold black-and-white striping of zebras has been a subject of debate among biologists for over a century, but 2014 evidence supports the theory that they are a form of protection from biting flies.
These insects appear to be less attracted to striped coats, and compared to other wild equines, zebras live in areas with the highest fly activity. Except the domestic horses, which have long manes that lay over the neck and long tail hair growing from the top of the tail head or dock, most equines have erect manes and long tails ending in a tuft of hair.
The coats of some equine species undergo shedding in certain parts of their range and are thick in the winter. Extant wild equines have scattered ranges across Africa and Asia.
The plains' zebra lives in lush grasslands and savannas of Eastern and Southern Africa, while the mountain zebra inhabits mountainous areas of southwest Africa. The other equine species tend to occupy more arid environments with more scattered vegetation.
Gravy's zebra is found in thorny scrub land of East Africa, while the African wild ass inhabits rocky deserts of North Africa. The two Asian wild ass species live in the dry deserts of the Near East and Central Asia and Przwelski's wild horse's habitat is the deserts of Mongolia.
In addition to wild populations, domesticated horses and donkeys are widespread due to humans. In certain parts of the world, populations of feral horses and feral donkeys exist, which are descended from domesticated animals that were released or escaped into the wild.
They prefer to eat grasses and edges, but may also consume bark, leaves, buds, fruits, and roots if their favored foods are scarce, particularly asses. Compared to ruminants, equines have a simpler and less efficient digestive system.
After food is passed through the stomach, it enters the sac-like cecum, where cellulose is broken down by micro-organisms. Equines may spend 60–80% of their time feeding, depending on the availability and quality of vegetation.
In the African savannas, the plains zebra is a pioneer grazer, mowing down the upper, less nutritious grass canopy and preparing the way for more specialized grazers such as blue wildebeests and Thomson's gazelles, which depend on shorter and more nutritious grasses below. Wild equines may spend seven hours a day sleeping.
During the day, they sleep standing up, while at night they lie down. They regularly rub against trees, rocks, and other objects and roll in around in dust for protection against flies and irritation.
Except the mountain zebra, wild equines can roll over completely. Horses, plains zebras, and mountain zebras live in stable, closed family groups or harems consisting of one adult male, several females, and their offspring.
These groups have their own home ranges, which overlap, and they tend to be nomadic. The stability of the group remains even when the family stallion dies or is displaced.
Plains zebra groups gather into large herds and may create temporarily stable subgroups within a herd, allowing individuals to interact with those outside their group. Among harem-holding species, this behavior has only otherwise been observed in primates such as the Nevada and the Madras baboon.
Females of harem species benefit as males give them more time for feeding, protection for their young, and protection from predators and harassment by outside males. Among females in a harem, a linear dominance hierarchy exists based on the time at which they join the group.
Harems travel in a consistent filing order with the high-ranking mares and their offspring leading the groups followed by the next-highest ranking mare and her offspring, and so on. Social grooming (which involves individuals rubbing their heads against each other and nipping with the incisors and lips) is important for easing aggression and maintaining social bonds and status.
Young of both sexes leave their natal groups as they mature; females are usually abducted by outside males to be included as permanent members of their harems. In Gravy's zebras and the wild ass species, adults have more fluid associations and adult males establish large territories and monopolize the females that enter them.
These species live in habitats with sparser resources and standing water, and grazing areas may be separated. The most dominant males establish territories near watering holes, where more sexually receptive females gather.
Subdominant have territories farther away, near foraging areas. Mares may wander through several territories, but remain in one when they have young.
Staying in a territory offers a female protection from harassment by outside males, as well as access to a renewable resource. Some feral populations of horses exhibit features of both the harem and territorial social systems.
In both equine social systems, excess males gather in bachelor groups. These are typically young males that are not yet ready to establish a harem or territory.
With the plains' zebra, the males in a bachelor group have strong bonds and have a linear dominance hierarchy. Fights between males usually occur over estrous females and involve biting and kicking.
Przewalski's horses interactingWhen meeting for the first time or after they have separated, individuals may greet each other by rubbing and sniffing their noses followed by rubbing their cheeks, moving their noses along their bodies and sniffing each other's genitals. They then may rub and press their shoulders against each other and rest their heads on one another.
Equines produce a number of vocalizations and noises. The contact calls of equines vary from the whinnying and nickering of the horse and the barking of plains zebras to the braying of asses, Gravy's zebras, and donkeys.
Equines also communicate with visual displays, and the flexibility of their lips allows them to make complex facial expressions. Visual displays also incorporate the positions of the head, ears, and tail.
An equine may signal an intention to kick by laying back its ears and sometimes lashing the tail. Flattened ears, bared teeth, and abrupt movement of the heads may be used as threatening gestures, particularly among stallions.
Among harem-holding species, the adult females mate only with their harem stallion, while in other species, mating is more promiscuous and the males have larger testes for sperm competition. Estrus in female equines lasts 5–10 days; physical signs include frequent urination, flowing mucus, and swollen, reverted labia.
In addition, estrous females will stand with their hind legs spread and raise their tails when in the presence of a male. Length of gestation varies by species; it is roughly 11–13 months, and most mares come into estrus again within a few days after foaling, depending on conditions.
Usually, only a single foal is born, which is capable of running within an hour. Within a few weeks, foals attempt to graze, but may continue to nurse for 8–13 months.
Species in arid habitats, like Gravy's zebra, have longer nursing intervals and do not drink water until they are three months old. Among harem-holding species, foals are cared for mostly by their mothers, but if threatened by predators, the entire group works together to protect all the young.
The group forms a protective front with the foals in the center and the stallion will rush at predators that come too close. In territory-holding species, mothers may gather into small groups and leave their young in kindergartens under the guard of a territorial male while searching for water.
Gravy's zebra stallions may look after a foal in his territory to ensure that the mother stays, though it may not be his. The earliest archaeological evidence for the domestication of the horse comes from sites in Ukraine and Kazakhstan, dating to around 4000-3500 BCE.
By 3000 BCE, the horse was completely domesticated, and by 2000 BCE, a sharp increase occurred 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 buried with chariots in graves of the Sintashta and Petrov cultures c. 2100 BCE.
Studies of variation in genetic material shows that very few wild stallions, possibly all from a single haplotype, contributed to the domestic horse, while many mares were part of early domesticated herds. The split between Przewalskii's horse and E. ferns Catullus is estimated to have occurred 120,000–240,000 years ago, long before domestication.
In addition, tartans that lived into modern times may have been hybridized with domestic horses. Archaeological, biogeographical, and linguistic evidence suggests that the donkey was first domesticated by nomadic pastoral people in North Africa over 5,000 years ago.
The animals were used to help cope with the increased aridity of the Sahara and the Horn of Africa. Genetic evidence finds that the donkey was domesticated twice based on two distinct mitochondrial DNAhaplogroups.
It also points to a single ancestor, the Nubian wild ass. Attempts to domesticate zebras were largely unsuccessful, though Walter Rothschild trained some to draw a carriage in England.
Captive Przewalski's horseman have had a great impact on the populations of wild equines. Threats to wild equines include habitat destruction and conflicts with local people and livestock.
Since the 20th century, wild equines have been decimated over many of their former ranges and their populations scattered. In recent centuries, two subspecies, the quanta and the Tarzan, became extinct.
The IUCN lists the African wild ass as critically endangered, Gravy's zebra, the mountain zebra, and Przewalski's horse as endangered, the Onsager as vulnerable, the plains' zebra as near threatened, and the King as least concern. However, following successful captive breeding, it has been reintroduced in Mongolia.
Feral horses vary in degree of protection and generate considerable controversy. In the United States, feral horses and burros are generally considered an introduced species because they are descendants from domestic horses brought to the Americas from Europe.
While they are viewed as pests by many livestock producers, conversely, a view also exists that E. f. Catullus is a reintroduced once-native species returned to the Americas that should be granted endangered species protection. At present, certain free-roaming horses and burros have federal protection as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West” under the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, and in Steppe v. New Mexico, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the animals so designated were, as a matter of law, wildlife.
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^ Evans, James Warren, (1992) Horse Breeding and Management, Elsevier Science, p.56 Kuznets PF (2006). “The emergence of Bronze Age chariots in Eastern Europe”.
^ LAU AN, Peng L, Got H, Chem nick L, Ryder OA, Dakota KD (January 2009). Lindgren G, Backstroke N, Swinburne J, Hellebore L, Einarsson A, Sandberg K, et al. (April 2004).
^ Lira J, Linderholm A, Solaria C, Angstrom During M, Gilbert MT, Allergen H, et al. (January 2010). “Ancient DNA reveals traces of Iberian Neolithic and Bronze Age lineages in modern Iberian horses (PDF).
^ Vila C, Leonard JA, Gotherstrom A, Maryland S, Sandberg K, Laden K, et al. (January 2001). ^ CAI D, Tang Z, Han L, Speller CF, Yang DY, Ma X, AHU H, Zhou H (2009).
“Ancient DNA provides new insights into the origin of the Chinese domestic horse” (PDF). ^ Defend E, Akasha Y, Han Jr, Rosenbaum S, Hail A, Jessie T, Beja-Pereira A (2012).
“Discordance between morphological systematic and molecular taxonomy in the stem line of equips: A review of the case of taxonomy of genus Equus “. ^ Timur B, Marshall FB, Chen S, Rosenbaum S, Lehman PD, Across N, et al. (January 2011).
“Ancient DNA from Nubian and Somali wild ass provides insights into donkey ancestry and domestication”. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. CS1 main: ref=hard (link) ^ “Australia Government Department of the Environment and Heritage.
Horizontal Yellow: Nature and History in the Near Southwest. Horses running at a ranch in Texas Horses have been a crucial component of American life and culture since the founding of the nation.
In 2008, there were an estimated 9.2 million horses in the United States, with 4.6 million citizens involved in businesses related to horses. Notably, there are about 82,000 feral horses that roam freely in the wild in certain parts of the country, mostly in the Western United States.
While genus Equus, of which the horse is a member, originally evolved in North America, the horse became extinct on the continent approximately 8,000–12,000 years ago. In 1493, on Christopher Columbus' second voyage to the Americas, Spanish horses, representing E. Catullus, were brought back to North America, first to the Virgin Islands ; they were reintroduced to the continental mainland by Hernán Cortés in 1519.
From early Spanish imports to Mexico and Florida, horses moved north, supplemented by later imports to the east and west coasts brought by British, French, and other European colonists. Native peoples of the Americas quickly obtained horses and developed their own horse culture that was largely distinct from European traditions.
Horses remained an integral part of American rural and urban life until the 20th century, when the widespread emergence of mechanization caused their use for industrial, economic, and transportation purposes to decline. Modern use of the horse in the United States is primarily for recreation and entertainment, though some horses are still used for specialized tasks.
A 2005 genetic study of fossils found evidence for three genetically divergent equip lineages in Pleistocene North and South America. Recent studies suggest all North American fossils of caballine-type horses, including both the domesticated horse and Przewalski's horse, belong to the same species: E. ferns.
Remains attributed to a variety of species and lumped as New World stilt-legged horses belong to a second species that was endemic to North America, now called Haringtonhippus Francisco. Digs in western Canada have unearthed clear evidence horses existed in North America as recently as 12,000 years ago.
Other studies produced evidence that horses in the Americas existed until 8,000–10,000 years ago. Equine in North America ultimately became extinct, along with most of the other New World megafauna during the Quaternary extinction event during the Pleistocene-Holocene transition between 15,000 and 10,000 years ago.
Given the suddenness of the event and because these mammals had been flourishing for millions of years previously, something unusual must have happened. The first main hypothesis attributes extinction to climate change.
For example, in Alaska, beginning approximately 12,500 years ago, the grasses characteristic of a steppe ecosystem gave way to shrub tundra, which was covered with unpalatable plants. However, it has also been proposed that the steppe-tundra vegetation transition in Bering may have been a consequence, rather than a cause, of the extinction of megafaunal grazers.
The other hypothesis suggests extinction was linked to overexploitation of native prey by newly arrived humans. The extinctions were roughly simultaneous with the end of the most recent glacial advance and the appearance of the big game-hunting Clovis culture.
Several studies have indicated humans probably arrived in Alaska at the same time or shortly before the local extinction of horses. Horses returned to the Americas thousands of years later, well after domestication of the horse, beginning with Christopher Columbus in 1493.
These were Iberian horses first brought to Hispaniola and later to Panama, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, and, in 1538, Florida. The first horses to return to the main continent were 16 specifically identified horses brought by Hernán Cortés in 1519.
Subsequent explorers, such as Coronado and De Soto brought ever-larger numbers, some from Spain and others from breeding establishments set up by the Spanish in the Caribbean. The first imports were smaller animals suited to the size restrictions imposed by ships.
Starting in the mid-19th century, larger draft horses began to be imported, and by the 1880s, thousands had arrived. Formal horse racing in the United States dates back to 1665, when a racecourse was opened on the Hempstead Plains near Salisbury in what is now Nassau County, New York.
There are multiple theories for how Native American people obtained horses from the Spanish, but early capture of stray horses during the 16th century was unlikely due to the need to simultaneously acquire the skills to ride and manage them. It is unlikely that Native people obtained horses in significant numbers to become a horse culture any earlier than 1630–1650.
From a trade center in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area, the horse spread slowly north. The Comanche people were thought to be among the first tribes to obtain horses and use them successfully.
By 1742, there were reports by white explorers that the Crow and Blackfoot people had horses, and probably had them for a considerable time. The horse became an integral part of the lives and culture of Native Americans, especially the Plains Indians, who viewed them as a source of wealth and used them for hunting, travel, and warfare.
In the 19th century, horses were used for many jobs. In the west, they were ridden by cowboys for handling cattle on the large ranches of the region and on cattle drives.
In some cases, their labor was deemed more efficient than using steam-powered equipment to power certain types of mechanized equipment. At the same time, the maltreatment of horses in cities such as New York, where over 130,000 horses were used, led to the creation of the first ASPCA in 1866.
In the 19th century, the Standard bred breed of harness racing horse developed in the United States, and many thoroughbred horse races were established. Horse-drawn sightseeing bus, 1942At the start of the 20th century, the United States Department of Agriculture began to establish breeding farms for research, to preserve American horse breeds, and to develop horses for military and agricultural purposes.
However, after the end of World War I, the increased use of mechanized transportation resulted in a decline in the horse populations, with a 1926 report noting horse prices were the lowest they had been in 60 years. In 1912, the United States and Russia held the most horses in the world, with the U.S. having the second-highest number.
There were an estimated 20 million horses in March 1915 in the United States. But as increased mechanization reduced the need for horses as working animals, populations declined.
A USDA census in 1959 showed the horse population had dropped to 4.5 million. Numbers began to rebound somewhat, and by 1968 there were about 7 million horses, mostly used for riding.
^ One hypothesis posits that horses survived the ice age in North America, but no physical evidence has been found to substantiate this claim. United States Equestrian Federation.
“Ascent and decline of monodactyl equips: a case for prehistoric overkill” (PDF). “Evolution, systematic, and paleogeography of Pleistocene horses in the New World: a molecular perspective”.
“Ancient DNA Clarifies the Evolutionary History of American Late Pleistocene Equips”. ^ Hartman, Peter D; Paula, Grant D; Machete, Ross DE; Scott, Eric; Cahill, James A; Choose, Brianna K; Knapp, Joshua D; Stiller, Mathias; Woollier, Matthew J; Orlando, Ludovic; South on, John (November 28, 2017).
“Steppe-tundra transition: a herbivore-driven biome shift at the end of the Pleistocene”. ^ “Ice Age Horses May Have Been Killed Off by Humans”.
^ a b Buck, Caitlin E.; Bard, Édouard (2007). “A calendar chronology for Pleistocene mammoth and horse extinction in North America based on Bayesian radiocarbon calibration”.
^ Slow, Andrew; Roberts, David; Robert, Karen (May 9, 2006). “On the Pleistocene extinctions of Alaskan mammoths and horses ".
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (19 ed.). “New carbon dates link climatic change with human colonization and Pleistocene extinctions”.
^ “Horse Production Falling”. Report of the Chief of the Bureau of Animal Industry, United States Department of Agriculture.
Horses in Society: A Story of Animal Breeding and Marketing, 1800–1920. ^ “More horses sent abroad for slaughter after US ban”.
He's been part of our family for about 5 years. There are several non-infectious horse diseases which also creates considerable problems that mainly arise from manage mental faults, nutritional deficiency, and environmental factors.
In my article, I shall discuss bacterial, viral, and some non-infectious or nutritional horse diseases in very short. Strangles is the most common bacterial infected horse disease which is caused by the Streptococcus Equip, a Gram-positive encapsulated bacterium.
The infection spreads by the ingestion or inhalation through the respiratory route or by direct contact and purulent discharges. Thick yellow discharge from nostrils and eyes, Swollen and often abscission of submandibular and retro pharyngeal lymph nodes, Fever up to 106 Fahrenheit, Difficulty in swallowing, Depression with decreased appetite Coughing Pneumonia and abscess developing in the internal organs.
The main treatment is supportive care which includes fever is controlled by anti-inflammatory drugs, the abscess needs to be drainage. The other most common bacterial disease of the horse is Flanders, which is caused by gram-negative Burkholderia mallets and does not produce spore.
This bacterial disease is characterized by the numerous ulcerative nodules found in the skin, lung, and upper respiratory tract of the horse. The disease is transmitted by the ingestion of contaminated food and water through discharge from the respiratory tract or ulcerating skin lesion of the carrier animals.
There is pyogranulomatous rhinitis with ulcers of the nasal area, trachea, pharynx, and larynx, regional lymph nodes are enlarged. Cutaneous Form- Nodules found in the subcutaneous tissue and in some cases orchids may present.
The main treatment of Flanders is treated with Sulfadiazine or Tetracycline antibiotics after confirmatory diagnosis of the disease. Equine tetanus is the disease condition originates from the toxin that produced by an anaerobic bacteria Clostridium retain.
The lock Jaw occurs due to the spasm of head muscle which leads to difficulty in mastication and pretension. The bacterial disease of the horse caused by the Clostridium botulinum, a gram-positive, rod-shaped bacterium that produces neurotoxin.
The disease transmitted by the ingestion or inhalation small amount of soil or dust contaminated with bacteria spores. The anthrax is an acute or per acute horse disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracite which normally present in the soil of the stable area.
The route of infection is the inhalation of bacteria spores, ingestion and penetration through a skin lesion of your horse and after that reactivate and multiply rapidly. The disease is most acute or per acute and the infected horse may die without showing any clinical symptoms.
In some cases the body temperature rises up to 105 F, chills, severe colic, bloody diarrhea, swelling of the neck, sternum, lower abdomen and external genitalia, rapid heart rate, and breathing. The disease diagnosed accurately by simple gram staining of affected horse’s blood.
The main treatment of the disease is antibiotics like Penicillin or Tetracycline or Cephalosporin as decided by your vet. Rabies is severe, fetal, and viral diseases of animals which may also affect your horse.
The clinical symptoms exhibit the progressive paralysis of all muscles, excessive salivation, jaw, and eyelid drop, change in temperament and rise in body temperature, restlessness, and irritability, hyper excitation, circling and head pressing, loss of appetite, depression. The diseases spread rapidly by aerosol droplets among groups of susceptible horses.
The disease is manifested by elevated body temperature, coughing and a mucopurulent nasal discharge due to secondary bacterial infection. The incidence of the outbreak of influenza has increased due to the international movement of horses by air transportation.
The disease is manifested by the abortion in the mare, sudden fever, intermittent serous nasal discharge, congestion of the nasal mucosa and conjunctiva, loss of appetite, coughing, enlargement of submaxillary lymph nodes and in some cases diarrhea after constipation. The only means of control the disease is vaccination with life and killed Equine Rhinopneumonitis used in most countries.
Equine Encephalomyelitis is the mosquito-borne infectious viral disease that affects the brain of the horses. The disease is manifested by high fever, diarrhea, loss of appetite, central nervous system disorder, paralysis, circling, hyper excitability, and death.
The disease is manifested by fever (temperature up to 105 F) anemia, edema, cathexis, jaundice, tachypnea, tachycardia, colic, abortion, destroying red blood cells, and thrombocytopenia. Potomac Horse Fever is caused by Neorickettsia rustic which also known as Equine Monastic Ehrlichiosis.
The disease is caused in the warm month of the year and characterized by the diarrheal syndrome those horses are kept near the river or irrigated pasture. The disease is characterized by fever, depression, colic, mild to profuse diarrhea, and laminates.
The disease is caused by an RNA arbovirus, of which there are 9 distinct stereotypes, and it is transmitted by the biting midge of the Suicides species. The disease is known by the fever and body temperature may rise up to 104-105 F, sweating of the supra orbital fossa, facial tissue, neck, thorax, brisket and shoulder, dyspnea, coughing and finally death.
Colic is the abdominal pain of horses which occurs by many causes such as nutritional, parasitic, infectious, manage mental fault, or even by the influence of pasture and environment. The diagnosis of colic mainly depends on the close monitoring of the history of horses (Like feeding, bedding, care, and manage mental factors).
The main cause of laminates is stress, overweight of horse, and excessive intake of carbohydrates. Laminates is an inflammation of the laminar structures of the foot and varies significantly in degrees of severity.
This inflammation and damage to the laminar bad results in loss of functional integrity of the support structure of the foot coffin bone and sensitive tissue of horse hoof. The disease is manifested by the inability to walk and cannot move due to severe pain, abnormal horse gait, the horse may be lame, increased digital pulse rate, heart rate increased simultaneously.
You must be looked into the matter of obesity, to do so you must restrict the excessive grass intake of your horse. You must follow the diet chart and feeding schedule for your horse prescribed by your vet.
The horse does not move, distress behavior, pulse rate increased in many cases. To prevent the condition you may add some vitamin or mineral premix to your horse feed.
Gravels are most frequently caused by a nail driven into the white zone of the foot or by a stone bruise or puncture wound. Horses that are severely lame will be nearly sound once the pus is drained and pressure on the foot removed.
After removal of necrotic tissue, the lesions should be protected with a bandage and treated with the furnace or other antibacterial ointments for several days. After healing has occurred, the horse should be shod with a pad to protect the sensitive area.
You must contact your vet if your horse was bitten by a street dog, wild fox, bat, wildcat or a poisonous snake. As a horse owner, you must be cautious about the wild animals in and around your herd and stable and take necessary preventive measures.