If he is in his stall and cannot flee he may choose to bite or kick at his “attacker.” The person behind the hand coming at him might simply have the intention of unhooking a lead shank from the halter, but to the horse it is an old sign of danger and pain. A mare who has been abused will teach her babies to react the way she would in the face of danger.
The lead mare has to keep everyone in line to maintain her status of being in charge since she is responsible for the safety of the herd. “No” is a negative word but is quite often used firmly and alone as a sentence, and therefore the animal learns what it means without the picture.
Your words should be, “You are safe, I am going to help you.” Try this the next time you take your dog or cat to the vet’s office. For the horse that tries to bite the hand on his lead shank: tell him that you are going to untie him, that he is safe, and that he must be gentle with you.
It may take a while for the horse to come to trust you, if ever, depending on the treatment he has had in the past. One is very sweet and a follower, while the other gives new meaning to the word “attitude.” BB, the attitude girl, will sometimes challenge me with ears back or a head shake.
She always lowers her head and takes a couple of steps away, apologizing as she goes. As you work with any animals that have suffered abuses and see them begin to relax and trust, there is a healing of all the spirits involved.
Horse is also a magnificent symbol of freedom, she was born to roam the lands and run wild and free. She feels your energy, she senses your nature, and your intentions and you must earn her trust, When you do she will take to far away places... lands of enchantment, wonder and awe.
The spirit of the Horse is regal and fierce in competition, running her heart out to beat out her competitors to be the one to take first place, to have the crown of glory. The Horse is a totem with the heart of a legendary competitor, and forever emblazoned in the halls of fame of competition is Secretariat.
Watch any race horse and you will see the true nature of the Horse shining through to be victorious, to walk beside the Goddess Nike ~ the Goddess of Victory with her head held high draped in roses, donning the elegant and stately prance of a celebrated champion. To this day I can't watch the Kentucky Derby, the most famous of all horse races without tearing up.
There's just something that moves me to the depths to watch these majestic animals ride as hard and fast as they possibly can, giving everything they have. It will teach you to ride into new directions to awaken and discover your own freedom and power”.
The Horse naturally conveys the message that she is strong and determined, confident and graceful, in all that she does, it is her spiritual essence, and we are drawn to her... captivated by her mystical charms. Horse spirit animal carries herself with a sense of knowing and deep mystery.
Horse has the ability to take you through terrain, you could not traverse alone ~ mountain tops, valleys and across the water. Spiritual meanings of the Horse conveys to us that she is so very mystical as to appear and disappear in the trees, looking at you across a field you can feel she knows you and has a wisdom message for your Spirit self.
The Horse spirit and totem animal is also extremely telepathic, seeming to sense your thoughts even before you are consciously aware of them. Horse is also extremely sensitive, and responds to very subtle gestures, movements and thoughts.
Horse magic can carry you to your destiny ~ knowing the hidden and secret passages, but this is a journey that demands trust. Horse totem is so magical as to become the Pegasus or the Unicorn in the twinkling of an eye.
The symbolic meaning of Horse unfolds into new dimensions and realms, layers of mysteries yet uncharted. It is your destiny to find what awaits for you among the hidden and secret passages.
Horse totem animal has been a friend and a companion to man and woman for thousands of years, without the horse fantastic explorations and epic journeys across continents simply stated ~ could not have been made. Although he has been a companion and friend to man and woman, what Horse loves most of all is to run free and wild ... untamed.
Wild Horses are called Mustangs ; they symbolize ultimate freedom, traversing the lands wild and free with the wind in their hair, completely in the moment of now, yesterday gone forever and tomorrow an eternity away. Call upon the enchantment of the Horse when you desire his/her totem powers, gifts and medicine ~ she/he will carry you through the mists of Avalon on an adventure you will never forget.
As years went on, it was bred for size and strength, it evolved and grew to become the Horse we know and love today. The beautiful symbolic meanings of Horse hold many enchanted offerings... Once again I hear Horse Spirit whispering in the winds reminding us of it's very powerful medicine ~ echoing are the words Power and Presence, Elegance and Strength ~ I am that I am.....
The symbolic meaning of Horse in dreams can also represent triumph of a goal that you have been working for ~ when a Horse is draped in roses in grand ceremony, this represents celebration and accomplishment, recognition and the goal reaching its zenith. A black horse symbolizes power, independence, sexual allure and a strong sense of self.
Symbolic of a free spirit, imagination, running wild and being carefree. A race horse is refined in every way, possessing elegance, poise and presence and strength.
Horse helps you see that your soul is racing toward total freedom while teaching you how to travel the entire universe at will. Delve deeply into Horse symbolism and meaning to find out how this Animal Spirit Guide can support, enlighten, and inspire you.
There is no constraining Horse when it runs with the wind, but the creature also enjoys the company of family and friends. Carl Jung suggested Horses symbolize personal power, the things you master in your life, and your natural gifts.
When tame, Horse represents those parts of your personality you restrict and confine, like sexual urges. If Horses show up in images where they’re in a stable or tied up, it could be a message that something is holding you back and limiting your autonomy.
The creature’s appearance as a Spirit Animal Guide might mean it’s time to let go of items you no longer need. When the Horse trots into your life, sometimes it’s there to urge you to figure out what you need to put down to lighten the load in your soul.
White Horses role in global mythology is significant because the creature has intimate symbolic ties to heroes and Solar Deities. As your Spirit Animal, Horse appears to you as an omen, one indicating a call for freedom is galloping into your world.
The Spirit of this trusty steed can carry you down the right path to breaking free of whatever bonds hold you back for achieving mental clarity, growth, or success. Horse is a benevolent Spirit Animal Guide that facilitates your spiritual awakening and growth by teaching you how to establish an energetic symmetry between independence and duty.
People who identify with Horse as their Totem Animal enjoy freedom of expression, and it will seem nothing short of miraculous. With Horse as a Totem Animal, jumping life’s hurdles comes easy to those who walk in this powerful creature’s Energy.
Horse also supports you in seeing things in a different light, which opens the path to visionary gifts and a renewed connection with the Earth. As an Animal Spirit Guide, Horse reminds you to remain attentive and live in the present.
Artwork depicts Shamans on the back of flying Horses when making safe passage to the Spirit Realm. The Ancient Celts’ understanding acceptance of each Animal’s way of life so absolute that the Horse Totem held a Divine place in their culture.
She is very similar in form and function to the Welsh Rhiannon, who rides a Pale Horse and governs fertility. Thus, the Celtic Horse became symbolic of the ability to bridge the gap between people and Spirits, both great and small.
When a horse appears in a dream, it might point to your future success, as if you are riding into town after a victory at war. If you see a multicolored Horse, it suggests transitioning situations where you assume one thing will happen, but you’ll end up with a different outcome.
If the Horse seems to sniff the air with ears perked upright, perhaps it’s time you tune into your environment to pick up on subtle energies. When the Horse is galloping or running, it means rapid progression and leaping hurdles with ease.
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.
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. “ 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. The average sleep time of a domestic horse is said to be 2.9 hours per day.
Horses must lie down to reach REM sleep. 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. Horses and other equips are odd-toed ungulates of the order Perissodactyla, a group of mammals that was dominant during the Tertiary 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. 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.
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.
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Here, we will answer all the common questions related to horse dreams. We’d like to help you understand fully the horse dream significance in your life.
When the horse appears in your life through dreams, it comes bearing some significant messages. Also, the horse dream means that you need to hasten your steps towards certain goals in your life.
The horse spirit animal is urging you to make things in your life better. However, the meaning of the dream tends to vary depending on the type of horse that pays you a visit.
As such, it’s important that you pay close attention to the color of the horse. Also, the interpretation of the horse will depend on the unique circumstances of the dream.
For the purposes of your understanding, we’ve tried to cover as many of the dream angles as possible. We hope that you’ll be able to find one that relates to your dream experience.
If you see yourself in the company of a tame horse, probably in a riding school, it means that you are going to receive the power to actualize your goals. This dream encourages you to use your authority to make things happen in your life.
At the same time, this dream tells you that you are too placid in your dealings with other people. We associate wild horses with creativity, action, and adventure.
This dream comes to remind you of the need to remain focused on your goals. If you see yourself on top of a wild horse in your dream, know that soon you’ll find contentment.
If you dream of a cowboy riding a horse, it’s a call on you to take on more responsibility in life. To see a horse being slaughtered, or to actually be involved in killing one, means that your finances are at risk.
Manure in dreams is connected with gratification, happiness, and riches. If the horse bites you on your hand, be on the lookout because someone is out to harm you in your waking life.
Buying a horse in your dreams means that you’ll have a fresh start in your businesses. If a saddled horse appears to you through a dream, it means that you need to be prepared for some changes in your life.
This dream comes your way to warn you about your loss of control. If your horse gets lost and you are unable to find it in the dream, it shows that you have major challenges managing other people.
If you see a horse flying across the sky, it means that you are not using your full potential. If your dream involves the presence of an unfamiliar horse, it means that you need to extricate yourself from your current challenges.
The horse spirit animal has a powerful connection with your energy. Dreams involving a white horse are all about your spiritual enlightenment.
Those involving black horse are a warning that there’s danger ahead. If you dream of a brown horse, it means that you’ll encounter someone who’s down-to-earth.
Finally, we'll take a brief look at the most famous of all horses, the legendary unicorn who, as it turns out, isn't as fantastical as we once thought. So saddle up and let's look at the ways horses gallop through the wilds of our dreaming minds.
Never discount a sick horse in a dream as that symbol can point to health issues that need addressing. A psychosomatic illness means that the stress and strain that we are under is so severe it is expressing itself in physical form.
Finding the drain's location helps us recover our power and our health. Dreaming of wild horses running through the plains or on a beach is quite positive.
Dreams of wild horses can symbolize our own desire for independence or can be confirmation that we have achieved a level of such that we did not think possible. Wish fulfillment dreams occur when we desperately want something, but feel we can't obtain it in our waking lives.
Sometimes the conviction that we can't achieve our goals is factual, but other times, the only thing standing between us and our desires is ourselves. We have to ask ourselves if what we want is really unobtainable or if we're simply limiting ourselves out of fear or lack of commitment.
In dreams, horses can stand for our own hard work, such as the energy and efforts we're putting into our careers, our relationships, or creative endeavors. The meaning of the phrase “rode hard and put up wet” might give us some clues.
Rode hard and put up wet refers to the fact that horses, like humans, need to cool down after engaging in longs runs. Overworking a horse, that is, riding it hard, causing it to sweat and not giving it time to walk off the run, take a little water, and then giving it a rub down before returning it to its stall is a recipe for disaster.
It's thought the phrase comes to us as an extension of “horseplay” which itself came from the usage of the word “horse” as a verb which meant “to play tricks on.” Do a quick Internet search and you'll find all manner of videos of horses playing around, engaging in activities guaranteed to make us laugh like the one below of the horse playing with a rubber chicken.
White horses also symbolize the overcoming of obstacles and the defeat of darkness and negativity. Brown horses in dreams can symbolize a time of feeling safe and secure in our relationships at home and even indicate a comfort with ourselves.
We do well to remember, however, that sometimes simplifying our minds and tempering our talents with discipline yields greater results than a scattered viewpoint. Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist and founder of modern-day analytical psychology, believed that horses in dreams symbolize our own life energy.
Therefore, dreams about horses that are unwell in some ways symbolize a similar sickness in our own waking lives. When horses are dying in dreams it typically means that something that gives us life is leaving us.
In talking animal dreams, the unconscious is just represented in images, but also in words. The talking horse might mean we've recovered our voices accept our knowledge as valid, useful, and worthy of respect.
In dreams, falling off a horse might actually, ironically, indicates a persevering nature or an adventurous spirit. The dream involves having the courage to take on something new, something unknown, and having the tenacity to continue tackling that new venture until it becomes second nature to us, and we're able to ride it like the wind.
Betting on horses in dreams also indicates that we're on the right path with our waking life decisions. Dreaming about betting on horses can mean that we finally see ourselves as winners and are willing to gamble on ourselves.
In waking life, saddling a horse means we're getting ready to go for a ride and in dreams the symbolism is quite similar. Taming horses in dreams means we are holding the reins to our lives instead of being ridden by an unseen force.
When we dream of a wonderful ride where we and the horse are moving together, almost as one unit, this is a marvelously positive symbol. Riding a horse in this manner means that we have command over impulses, our instincts, our intuition, and are friends with our unconscious.
Even more fascinating, unicorns and humans were together on the planet at the same time, which is likely how they made their way into our collective imaginations. If we find out we're failing in a particular area, thinking of the dream as an evaluation, not a final grade, is helpful.
Dreams are messages showing us what needs our attention, not fatalistic prophecies about what is absolutely going to happen. I keep having a dream about a dapple gray Stallion whose tail is cut flat but mane long and flowing.
I'll start with the lower-keyed sounds you're likely to hear from your horse and move up to the more intense, explaining the clues that help refine what he's “telling” you (or his buddies) with each sound-off. Horses seem to sigh, draw in a deep breath, then let it out slowly and audibly through mouth or nostrils, much more around humans than when interacting with each other.
), legs or feet (check them daily for heat, and watch for a resting stance that takes some weight off his front feet, a sign of laminates), or his insides (adhesions from past abdominal surgery are a possibility; if you don't know his history, check for incision scars on belly or flank). Monitor his water consumption; listen with an ear to his flank on both sides for normal gut sounds; take his pulse and heart rate.
Some horses groan when they know work is over; in the absence of the trouble symptoms above, they're probably just anticipating getting the saddle off, having a roll, manuring, and eating some hay. This nicker combined with fearful body language--pacing, ears flicking back and forth, eyes rolling--is a signal to remove your horse from the threatening situation or reassure him with gentle grooming or massage and quiet talking.
When your horse inhales quickly, then puffs the breath out through his nostrils, so they vibrate with a loud purring sound, he's excited and hoping that something will happen. Horses actually get themselves (and others) even more worked up just by making this sound; so if yours continues blowing, head raised and tail lifted, as you lead him out, be prepared for sudden moves.
On the trail, he may begin blowing if you come to a stretch where you normally canter, or if a puff of cold wind gets under his tail. When your horse neighs, he's already stimulated and (even if he's normally a sleepy sort) you'll need to use extra attention when you handle and ride him.
We're definitely a more verbal species than horses, but they're good listeners when it comes to linking specific meanings and sounds. As carriage drivers know, horses in a team easily learn complex voice commands associated with their own names.
Dr. Linda Bronson is a veterinarian with the referral practice Preshrink in Norfolk, Mass., working with problems in dogs, cats and horses. Her DVD was from Tufts University, and she spent two years working in the behavioral section there doing research and consultation.
She has two horses, breeds bearded collies and also has a cat and African gray parrot, all of which give her ample opportunities to expand her knowledge of behavior. Chances are pretty good you understand what your horse is saying when he nickers as you bring him his feed.
Because people rely so much on verbal communication, it's natural to focus on a horse's vocalizations when trying to figure out what he is saying. But like many animals, horses communicate much more through postures, gestures and expressions than they do with their vocal cords.
The ability to read and respond to this horse body language is what sets great trainers apart from the rest. From a distance, it may look like these experts are “mind reading,” but in reality, they're noticing and responding to the subtlest of cues from the horse, both on the ground and in the saddle.
Anyone who spends time around horses can learn to tune in to their unique forms of nonverbal communication. One of the first lessons a novice rider is taught is that when a horse's ears are forward he is alert, paying attention and/or interested in what's in front of him, and when his ears are pinned back close to the neck he is angry and about to bite or kick.
You don't want to march up to this horse and pat him because he may be startled and react by running over you, whirling or striking out. Instead, call his name or make some noise, and don't approach until he turns his head or otherwise indicates that he's paying attention to you.
A dropped head is a sign your horse is relaxed and feeling good, and his ears will often hang to the side as well. If he's standing in his stall or pasture with a lowered head, he's probably either resting or asleep; call his name and make your approach obvious so you don't startle him.
As his handler, you need to realize that he is not paying attention to you, and he may be about to spook or bolt; to prevent that from happening, you must regain his focus. A horse who raises his head while being ridden may be in pain, especially if he also hollows his back, pins his ears or wrings his tail.
Injuries or health issues, such as weakness from malnutrition or neurological impairment, can also cause a horse to stand with his forelegs splayed. Call in a veterinarian if a horse standing splay legged is unwilling or unable to move.
In a horse who is tied or in hand, forceful, angry pawing may proceed a bite or strike. Unlike pawing, stomping is raising and lowering a foot forcefully in place.
A strike is a forceful, forward kick with a front leg that can be either aggressive or defensive. Fortunately, horses rarely strike without warning, such as stomping or pawing, wide eyes, an elevated head or pinned ears.
When a horse cocks his leg, he rests the leading edge of the hoof on the ground and drops his hip. When combined with a lowered head or ears hanging to the side, this is the sign of a horse who is relaxed and resting.
However, if your horse shifts his weight rapidly from one foot to the other, he's probably in pain and cannot get comfortable; you need to call your veterinarian. The best thing you can do then is steer clear of his back end and move him forward and away from whatever is bothering him.
The cause may be something as minor as a horsefly, or it could be that he's annoyed with a horse or person behind him and is threatening to kick. At the more aggressive end of the spectrum, many of the warning signs will be similar to a horse with a cocked leg: He may elevate his head, pin his ears and possibly even snake his head back and forth in warning.
Even beyond nickers and whinnies, a horse's nose and mouth can tell you several things about what he's feeling: A horse standing quietly with his lower lip drooping may be relaxing or even asleep.
A foal will sometimes raise his neck, push his head forward, curl his lips and click his teeth together. Freshmen is another of those behaviors that looks humorous but serves an important function: When a horse smells something he's unsure of, he raises his head, curls his upper lip, breathes in and blows air back out.
This allows him to push the scent particles through a structure in his nose called the vomeronasal organ (No). You most often see stallions freshmen when they're determining whether a mare is in heat and ready to breed, but all horses will do this when they smell something unusual, and they're trying to get more information.
A horse will stretch his nostrils wide to draw in more air as he exercises, and the flare may continue for a short time afterward. At other times, a horse's nostrils may flare and even quiver when he is startled or nervous---this is one of those quieter communications that can develop into something more serious if you don't take heed right away.
Check the fit of your bridle and bit, and schedule a dental examination to make sure his teeth aren't hurting him. Last, if your horse stops eating and stands with his neck stretched out and his mouth gaping, he may be experiencing choke, an obstruction in his esophagus.
As with tension around the muzzle, tightening of the muscles around the eyes is a subtle, early sign of stress, fear or discomfort. If you learn to notice this cue and respond promptly, you can avoid bigger problems.
This sign may precede a spook or bolt, but if your horse feels trapped he may react by biting or kicking in an attempt to get away. Usually, however, by the time a horse has gotten worked up to the point that you can see the whites around his eyes, he's extremely upset.
Either way, you'll need to take quick action to reassure or distract him to prevent a spook, bolt or defensive move. A horse who is so excited that he's flagging his tail isn't paying much attention to you, and he's probably prone to spooking, bucking or bolting.
If your horse clamps his tail when you are riding, he may be in discomfort or pain; you need to make sure he's sound and his tack fits well. This is often a pretty clear warning sign that he's about to kick or buck, and you need to heed it immediately.
If your horse swishes his tail often while you are riding, check your saddle fit to make sure no sharp or protruding edges are hurting him. When your horse's muscles are rigid and his movements are stiff, he's either hurting, nervous or stressed.
A horse who is so scared or nervous that he trembles is on the verge of either running away or fighting to protect himself. Working with a horse who is this scared or nervous takes a lot of time and patience.
As you work with your horse, observe how his postures and expressions change as he interacts with you as well as other people and animals. Strong, yet sensitive, with their attentive ears and large, expressive eyes, horses are wary of predators.
An article in the International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology (Roth, Vega, Torres, Solar, & Panos, 2005) offers some clues. Horses can sense emotions that lurk beneath the surface of our awareness and mirror them back to us, showing us what we have been avoiding.
In communicating with a horse, they learn patience, attention, compassion, and responsibility, leading to a greater understanding of themselves and others (Roth et al., 2005). As the study maintains, a therapeutic bond with a horse can help grow “mutual trust, respect, affection, empathy, unconditional acceptance, confidence, personal success, responsibility, assertiveness, communication skills, and self-control (Roth, et al., 2005, p. 376).
By mindfully relating to a horse, troubled children can learn the deep healing lesson of trust. And the track was originally intended by the guitarist to be a song about missing his newborn son, only to be hijacked by the lead singer, who turned it into a depiction of a burned-out relationship.
And that’s when the track took a turn away from Marlon, the name of Richards’ little boy, and perhaps veered toward Marianne, as in Faithful, Jagger’s on-again, off-again lover of that era. Jim Dickinson filled in on the tack piano when Ian Stewart famously begged off playing the sad chords.
As for Jagger, he holds back the histrionics and plays it straight, his weariness and frustration mingling seamlessly with his unshakable devotion for the wayward girl he’s addressing. Perhaps alluding to the drama in her life, he uses the metaphor of the stage to describe his steadfastness: “No sweeping exits or offstage lines/ Could make me feel bitter or treat you unkind.” And there’s that chorus, Richards joining in for high and lonesome harmonies with Jagger to transcend the cliché and make you believe that no amount of horsepower could sway them from their intent.
Gram Parsons’ version with the Flying Burrito Brothers does indeed predate the Stones’ release of the song on Sticky Fingers by a year, giving rise to unsubstantiated rumors that he deserved some songwriting credit. Among the many cover versions of the song that have been done through the years, The Sundays of “Here’s Where The Story Ends” fame checked in with a particularly memorable take, thanks to the ethereal vocals of Harriet Wheeler.
Instead of the horses dragging him away, he sings, “We’ll ride them someday.” Some might say it’s a hopeful ending, but it also sounds like the kind of thing someone would say as parting words to a loved one they won’t be seeing again. Yet “Wild Horses demonstrates that the songwriting of Jagger and Richards can fr agilely glow just as well as it can bombastically glimmer.