Due to domestication, the horse has become a common animal all over the world. That creature is ungulate — a mammal with hooves. It also has short hair, long tail, muscular torso, prolonged head, and long thick neck.
Horses have been on Earth for more than 50 million years, as reported by the American Museum of Natural History. As stated by Scientific American, the first horses came from North America and then expanded to Asia and Europe. The horses left in North America did go extinct about 10,000 years ago and were re-introduced by colonizing Europeans.
It is assumed that horses were first domesticated in Asia between 3000 and 4000 B.C., as stated from Oklahoma State University. Back then, horses were bred for their milk and meat. After all, horses did become a way of transportation.
There are more than 400 various breeds of horses. They can be as big as 69 inches (175 cm) from their hoofs to their shoulder and heavy as much as 2,200 lbs. ( 998 kg ). Tiny horses are present, too. The smallest breeds of horses can be as little as 30 inches (76 centimeters) from their hoofs to their shoulder and weigh about 120 lbs. (54 kg), as stated by National Geographic.
Horses can be found in almost every country in the world and in all of the continents except Antarctica. For instance, the Abyssinian is found in Ethiopia, the Budyonny is from Russia, Deliboz comes from Georgia and Armenia, the Egyptian is ( of course ) from Egypt and the Colorado Rangerbred is from the Colorado fields, according to Oklahoma State University.
Horses are really social animals. In the wild, horses will live in groups called herds that consist of 3 to 20 and are lead by an older male, which is called a stallion, as stated in the National Geographic. The rest of the group is made up of females and their offspring.
Horses are herbivores and only eat vegetation. Commonly, horses eat grass, but domesticated horses are often fed wheat bran, rolled oats, barley, and hay too. A well-fed horse consumes 1 to 2 % of its body mass in roughage, such as grass or hay, every day. Some domesticated horses are given mineral blocks and blocks of salt to lick.
Horses have one stomach, contrasting cows, and it is small. So to get a suitable amount of food, a horse must graze throughout the day.
Horses have live births after about 11 months of pregnancy. Some folks falsely call baby horses ponies. Actually, horse offspring are named foals. Ponies are matured horses that are less than 56 inches (147 cm), according to Encyclopedia Britannica. Shetland and Welsh horses are typical pony breeds.
The foal is able to stand on its legs shortly after birth and they become mature at 3 to 5 years of age. At about 2 years old, male foals are driven off from the herd by the leading at that time stallion. The young males get together in a herd of their own until they find a group of females that they can lead.
As stated in the Integrated Taxonomic Information System, the horse’s taxonomy is like this:
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Subkingdom: Bilateria
- Infrakingdom: Deuterostomia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Subphylum: Vertebrata
- Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
- Superclass: Tetrapoda
- Class: Mammalia
- Subclass: Theria
- Infraclass: Eutheria
- Order: Perissodactyla
- Family: Equidae
- Genus: Equus
- Species: Equus caballus
The last truly wild horse is the Przewalski’s horse. It once roamed from Manchuria to Spain. Populations have been reestablished to China, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia, as reported by San Diego Zoo. Right now, the Przewalski’s horse is recorded as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. The population is rising, though. At the latest count, in 2008, there were nearly 2,000 Przewalski’s Horse alive and well.
Lots of people think that mustangs are wild horses, but they are descendants of Spanish horses that are named Iberian horses. As descendants from domesticated horses, in fact, mustangs are feral horses and not wild ones.
Horses have four speeds named gaits. They walk (slow speed), trot (a bit faster than walking), canter (quicker than a trot) and gallop (a horse’s fastest speed).
The Faeroes Pony Horse is discovered on the Faeroe Islands in the North Atlantic. It is one of the earliest breeds of horses. This breed is very rare, to the point of mostly being extinct.
The word Equus isfrom an ancient Greek word that states “quickness”.