Like many farm animals, horses possess all the major attributes that place them into the mammal category. Read on to find out how our equine friends fit into the mammal world.
Mammals are a class of animals that share a variety of common characteristics, including the fact that they have mammary glands. Mammals create milk using their mammary glands and use it to feed their young.
Thanks to this ability, mammals form unique bonds with their offspring that animals in other categories do not. Mammals are all ‘warm-blooded’ animals that also have three bones in their middle ears which allow them to hear sound effectively.
Apart from these specific characteristics, mammals also tend to be very intelligent, are often capable of domestication and can communicate in unique and intricate ways. Female horses also nurse their foals with milk they produce using their own mammary glands.
Horses also have coats comprised of hair that comes in a variety of beautiful colors and unique patterns. Their hair helps to keep them safe from outdoor elements including harsh rain, wind, and extreme temperatures.
Horses have 3 middle ear bones called the hammer, anvil and stirrup. In prehistoric times, most mammal animals served only as a food source for humans.
The ability of many mammals to be domesticated helped to turn a hunting and often nomadic way of life into a more settled, agricultural lifestyle. Being a mammal creates a unique bonding experience for animals, especially horses.
The fact that mammals have mammary glands and personally feed their own young creates a maternal bond that begins at birth. While there are rare exceptions, most mares that give birth to a foal will quickly begin to bond with them.
Horses, unlike some mammals, like to keep their babies very close and this begins immediately after they are born. Shortly after birthing a foal, mares will instinctively begin to lick off the amniotic fluid that covers their baby.
The mare will continue to lick, nuzzle and help push their baby to stand up and nurse. This bonding helps to ensure that the foal will continue to have a source of food and protection throughout their young lives.
It is easy to see that horses have the largest eyes out of all the mammals that live on land. The horse’s large eyes sit on each side of their head, creating only a couple blind spots but also allowing them to see more of what is around them.
Draft horses are most often called cold-bloods due to their calm demeanor and easy-going personalities. Some racing and competition horse breeds including Arabians and Thoroughbreds can be referred to as hot-bloods.
Rabies is a frequently fatal disease that rapidly spreads to the animal’s brain and causes damage that cannot be repaired. Thankfully, there are annual vaccines available to keep our domesticated animals, including horses, safe.
Horses are unique, but they are still grouped into the larger category of mammals thanks to their backbones, mammary glands, temperature regulation, bonding capabilities, middle ear design and their coats of hair. Horses fall into one of six categories that include amphibians, birds, fish, invertebrates, mammals and reptiles.
There are also many other groups of animals that scientist categorizes and classify species, but they are the main six. With horses, they can be confusing as they are one of a kind animal that only resembles really the zebra, and they have evolved over the thousands of years to become what they are today.
Mammals are classified as being able to nurse their young, most all having hair, lower jaw is hinged to skull, left aortic arch persists, and have a diaphragm that separates the heart from the lungs. Mammals are a single classification of an animal, but they don’t make it any less complex, so we will try our best to simplify it.
Horse has become their common name, and they are a placental herbivore mammals that range in height from 30-70 inches while weighing anywhere from 120-2,200 pounds. Surprisingly Horse or Equine Eyes are the largest of any land mammal in existence on Earth.
Whales, seals, and Ostriches are the only other animals that have larger eyes then the horse. Horse have a great view of the world with their eyes seeing better in daylight and nighttime then any human.
Horse eyes are located on both sides of their head, so they can see both in front of them an circular view to their backside to keep them alert for predators at all times. We have actually seen quite a few horses that are blind in one eye that still compete in shows like sorting cows.
Horses are placental mammals as they give birth to live young and also produce milk to feed their babies. This is much different from other animals like birds, amphibians, reptiles that mostly all lay eggs.
Zebras are actually considered a species of wild horses in Africa. They are mammals because they have hair, provide live births, and feed their young among other things.
They have hair, give birth to live young, along with providing milk to the babies. They also happen to be warm-blooded and also have teeth that helps solidify them as mammals.
Horse also produce milk to feed their young ones and also have hair among other things that make them mammals compared to reptiles. 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.
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^ For example, the Missouri Fox Trotter, or the Arabian horse. 52–63 ^ Cane, p. 200 ^ “Chromosome Numbers in Different Species”.
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Wiki species has information related to Equus Catullus Horses have lived on Earth for more than 50 million years, according the American Museum of Natural History.
According to Scientific American, the first horses originated in North America and then spread to Asia and Europe. The horses left in North America became extinct about 10,000 years ago and were re-introduced by colonizing Europeans.
It is believed that horses were first domesticated in Asia between 3000 and 4000 B.C., according to Oklahoma State University. Eventually, horses joined oxen as a form of animal transportation.
Horses can be as big as 69 inches (175 centimeters) from hoof to shoulder and weigh as much as 2,200 lbs. The smallest breeds of horses can be as small as 30 inches (76 centimeters) from hoof to shoulder and weigh only 120 lbs.
Horses are found in almost every country in the world and every continent except Antarctica. For example, the Abyssinian is found in Ethiopia, the Buoyancy comes from Russia, Delibes is from Georgia and Armenia, the Egyptian came from Egypt and the Colorado Ranger bred comes from the Colorado plains, according to Oklahoma State University.
In the wild, horses will live in herds that consist of three to 20 animals and are lead by a mature male, which is called a stallion, according to National Geographic. A well-fed horse eats 1 to 2 percent of its body weight in roughage, such as grass or hay, every day, according to The Humane Society.
This wallpaper shows Assateague Island in Maryland and Virginia. (Image credit: National Park Service) Horses have live births after around 11 months of gestation.
Some people mistakenly call baby horses ponies. Ponies are adult horses that are shorter than 56 inches (147 cm), according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
Populations have been reintroduced to China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan, according to the San Diego Zoo. The Hungarian Warm blood was bred to be a sport horse breed.
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.
Humans are mammals and so are dogs, whales, elephants, and horses. Some marsupials include the kangaroo, the koala, and the opossum.
Honorees include the platypus and the long-nosed spiny anteater. Largest and Smallest Mammals The largest mammal is the Blue Whale which lives in the ocean and can grow to over 80 feet long.
The largest land mammal is the elephant followed by the rhino and the hippo (which does spend a lot of time in the water). This bat is 1.2 inches long and weighs less than 1/2 a pound.
Other intelligent mammals include the dolphin, the elephant, the chimpanzee, and the pig. Mammals that eat only plants are called herbivores.
Mammals that eat both meat and plants are called omnivores. Fun Facts About Mammals A giraffe's tongue is 20 inches long.
Przewalski's horse had reached the brink of extinction but was reintroduced successfully into the wild. The Tarzan became extinct in the 19th century, though it is a possible ancestor of the domestic horse; it roamed the steppes of Eurasia at the time of domestication.
However, other subspecies of Equus ferns may have existed and could have been the stock from which domesticated horses are descended. Since the extinction of the Tarzan, attempts to have been made to reconstruct its phenotype, resulting in horse breeds such as the König and Heck horse.
However, the genetic makeup and foundation bloodstock of those breeds is substantially derived from domesticated horses, so these breeds possess domesticated traits. The term “wild horse” is also used colloquially in reference to free-roaming herds of feral horses such as the mustang in the United States, the crumby in Australia, and many others.
The latter two are the only never-domesticated “wild” groups that survived into historic times. In the Late Pleistocene epoch, there were several other subspecies of E.ferns which have all since gone extinct.
The exact categorization of Equus' remains into species or subspecies is a complex matter and the subject of ongoing work. Equus ferns fossil from 9100 BC found near Dense, at the Zoological Museum in CopenhagenProbable European wild horse coat colors The horse family Equine and the genus Equus evolved in North America during the Pliocene, before the species migrated across Bering into the Eastern Hemisphere.
Studies using ancient DNA, as well as DNA of recent individuals, suggest the presence of two equine species in Late Pleistocene North America, a cabal line species, suggested being nonspecific with the wild horse, and Haringtonhippus Francisco, the “New World stilt-legged horse”; the latter has been taxonomically assigned to various names, and appears to be outside the grouping containing all extant equines. In South America there appear to have been several species of equine, Equus (Amerhippus) Neogene, which had previously thought to represent 5 taxa due to morphological variability, and several species of Hippidion, which also lie outside the group containing all living horses.
(It had previously been suggested to have been nested within Equus based on incomplete sequence data ) Currently, three subspecies that lived during recorded human history are recognized.
One subspecies is the widespread domestic horse (Equus ferns Catullus), as well as two wild subspecies: the recently extinct Tarzan (E. f. ferns) and the endangered Przewalski's horse (E. f. przewalskii). Genetically, the pre-domestication horse, E. f. ferns, and the domesticated horse, E. f. Catullus, form a single homogeneous group (clade) and are genetically indistinguishable from each other.
The genetic variation within this clade shows only a limited regional variation, with the notable exception of Przewalski's horse. Besides genetic differences, astrological evidence from across the Eurasian wild horse range, based on cranial and metacarpal differences, indicates the presence of only two subspecies in post glacial times, the Tarzan and Przewalski's horse.
At present, the domesticated and wild horses are considered a single species, with the valid scientific name for the horse species being Equus ferns. The wild Tarzan subspecies is E. f. ferns, Przewalski's horse is E. f. przewalskii, and the domesticated horse is E. f. Catullus.
The rules for the scientific naming of animal species are determined in the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, which stipulates that the oldest available valid scientific name is used to name the species. Previously, when taxonomists considered domesticated and wild horse two subspecies of the same species, the valid scientific name was Equus Catullus Linnaeus 1758, with the subspecies labeled E. c. Catullus (domesticated horse), E. c. ferns Border, 1785 (Tarzan) and E. c. przewalskii Polio, 1881 (Przewalski's horse).
However, in 2003, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature decided that the scientific names of the wild species have priority over the scientific names of domesticated species, therefore mandating the use of Equus ferns for the horse, independent of the position of the domesticated horse. Przewalski's horse occupied the eastern Eurasian Steppes, perhaps from the Urals to Mongolia, although the ancient border between Tarzan and Przewalski's distributions has not been clearly defined.
Przewalski's horse was limited to Dzungaria and western Mongolia in the same period, and became extinct in the wild during the 1960s, but was reintroduced in the late 1980s to two preserves in Mongolia. Although researchers such as Maria Gimbals theorized that the horses of the Paleolithic period were Przewalski's, more recent genetic studies indicate that Przewalski's horse is not an ancestor to modern domesticated horses.
However, it was subsequently suggested that Przewalski's horse represent feral descendants of horses belonging to the Bowie culture. Przewalski's horse is still found today, though it is an endangered species and for a time was considered extinct in the wild.
Roughly 2000 Przewalski's horses are in zoos around the world. A small breeding population has been reintroduced in Mongolia.
As of 2005, a cooperative venture between the Zoological Society of London and Mongolian scientists has resulted in a population of 248 animals in the wild. However, the offspring of Przewalski and domestic horses are fertile, possessing 65 chromosomes.
For instance, when the Spanish reintroduced the horse to the Americas, beginning in the late 15th century, some horses escaped, forming feral herds; the best-known being the mustang. Similarly, the crumby descended from horses strayed or let loose in Australia by English settlers.
Isolated populations of feral horses occur in a number of places, including Bosnia, Croatia, New Zealand, Portugal, Scotland and a number of barrier islands along the Atlantic coast of North America from Sable Island off Nova Scotia, to Cumberland Island, off the coast of Georgia. In 1995, British and French explorers discovered a new population of horses in the Roche Valley of Tibet, unknown to the rest of the world, but apparently used by the local Samba people.
It was speculated that the Roche horse might be a relict population of wild horses, but testing did not reveal genetic differences with domesticated horses, which is in line with news reports indicating that they are used as pack and riding animals by the local villagers. These horses only stand 12 hands (48 inches, 122 cm) tall and are said to resemble the images known as “horse no 2” depicted in cave paintings alongside images of Przewalski's horse.
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