Horse

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Horse

The domestic horse ( Equus caballus ) is a common domestic animal kept in numerous breeds around the world.

Taxonomically, the domestic horse with donkeys, half donkeys, and zebras belongs to the horse family (equidae, Equidae) within the order of the odd-toed ungulates (Perissodactyla).

Features

Exterior

Like all horses, the domestic horse is a long-legged herbivore with a massive head and smooth, short fur, which in all breeds is formed into a mane or tail, the so-called long hair, on the neck and tail. The foot ends in a single walking hoof, i.e. horses are tiptoe walkers who walk on their third, middle toe alone. The remaining toes have receded. Because the eyes are on the sides of the head, horses can see almost all around. But what exactly is in front of your nose you only notice when you turn your head. Although horses are not color-blind, they cannot distinguish all colors from one another. The brown, green, and gray are uniform gray; On the other hand, they see colors such as white, red, yellow, and blue particularly well.

The movable auricles can be set in all directions. Faced forward, the horse shows attention and curiosity, but when placed back against the head, the horse is angry and aggressive. If the ears hang to the side, this is either a sign of malaise and/or tiredness or an expression of submission or fear. If the ears are pointing backward, this is a sign of illness or boredom.

In order to be safe from predators in their original habitat, different coat colors developed over time (see below: coat colors of horses). One of the horse's earliest coat colors was fawn.

Size, Age, Reproduction

Depending on the breed, horses reach between 70 and 210 cm shoulder height (withers). Horses with a height at the withers of less than 148 cm are called small horses or ponies. Their weight can be between 90 kg (Falabella) and 1200 kg (Shire). Physically mature horses are 3 to 6 years old, ponies are rather late, large horses are earlier. Large horses reach an age of around 25 years, ponies get a little older at 40 years of age. The highest recorded age for a large horse is 62 years. Mares reach sexual maturity at 12 to 18 months, stallions reach sexual maturity between 12 and 20 months of age. The gestation time for all horses is around 330 days. The horse's sexual cycle is subject to a period of oestrus. The animals show no sexual activity in the period from about December to March.

Behavior

The horse is a typical herd animal. There is a clearly defined hierarchy within the herd, the herd is usually led by a lead mare. The highest-ranking stallion is called the lead stallion, only he covers the mares of the herd. While the lead mare leads the herd and determines the activities and paths, the lead stallion is primarily responsible for defense. On the run, he runs in the back to drive slower animals and, if necessary, to defend the herd against the attacker.

As a steppe inhabitant, the horse, in contrast to the donkey, is a flight animal that tries to avert danger first and foremost by fleeing quickly.

Mares and geldings are particularly widespread in keeping as pets or livestock, and in most cases, they fit easily into a more or less large herd group. Because of their strong sex drive, stallions are considered difficult to predict. If the stallion smells a sturdy mare, he usually tries everything to get to her - if the pasture or the stable is inappropriately fenced, stallions are often injured. Many stallions tend to aggressive rank fights in herds, so they are mostly kept on their own pastures or in separate tables.

In order to be able to distinguish a horse externally from others, one can take advantage of the markings on his face, his body, and his legs. The most common marks on the face are line, blaze (which can be narrow and wide), star, snip, flake, etc. In addition to these, a horse can also have a toad mouth or milk mouth. The latter is particularly common in the Mongolian wild horse.

On the legs, one differentiates only the height of the badge, whereby a "bright white foot" is the largest, and the "white crown" the smallest. Fur swirls and chestnuts (remains of horn on the inside of the legs, remains of the fifth toe) are also used to identify sport horses.

Domestication and Keeping

Ancestry

Horses were probably born around 3000 BC. First domesticated in Central Asia. There are contradicting theories as to when and where exactly the horse was made usable by humans. Final examinations. which are based on the evaluation of the mitochondrial DNA of today's domestic horses and of fossils of extinct species suggest that the domestication of the horse did not take place in one place, but independently of one another in several places. An essential indicator for this is the breadth of the genetic variations, which is the same in both test groups. With only one place of domestication, a lower genetic range of variation would have been expected in domestic horses. In addition, during these tests, it was found that some of the fossil finds were more closely related to today's species,

Investigations of mitochondrial DNA in 2002 showed that there were at least 77 strain types in mares, suggesting that different wild horse populations in different regions of the world have been domesticated independently of one another; considerably more than with other types of pets.

The wild Przewalski horse apparently does not belong to the ancestors of the domestic horse, as the ancestral lines separated already 120,000 to 240,000 years ago.

History of the Domestic Horse

The early nomadic peoples of Central Asia invented the saddle and bridle as early as the third millennium BC. Later the Greek historian Strabo reported on the extraordinary riding skills of the Scythians, who probably brought the horse to Europe.

The domestication of the horse brought the peoples an extraordinary advantage. Long distances were covered in much less time, which made maintaining great empires easier. The early empires of the Assyrians and Hittites profited from harnessing the horse in war. Around 1700 BC The Hyksos invaded Egypt, a nomadic people of unknown origin - horses were unknown to the Egyptians until then, and despite their high civilization, they were so far inferior to the Hyksos in a battle that Egypt could be conquered.

In "Tacitus Germania" (about 90 AD) the following is noted about horses among the Teutons: "And the widespread custom of questioning the voice and flight of birds is also known here; however, it is a Germanic peculiarity, also on At the expense of the general public, white horses are kept in the groves and clearings mentioned, which have not been profaned by any service for mortals. They are harnessed to the holy chariot; the priest and the king or the head of the tribe go next to them and watch their neighing and snorting. And no sign is believed more, not only with the people: also with the noble ones, with the priests, for they consider themselves only servants of the gods, the horses, on the other hand, their confidants. "

The Greek historian Xenophon wrote in the 4th century BC. The work Peri hippikes ("About the art of riding"), in which he gathered knowledge about horses and riding. Most of the advice from this work is still valid today.

While horses used in the war in early antiquity were initially mostly harnessed to chariots, this method became increasingly uncommon during the dominance of the Roman Empire. Cavalrymen on horses that were bred ever-larger turned out to be faster, more agile, and thus more effective than fighters on chariots as the art of riding increased.

The horseshoe was brought to Europe in the 5th century during the Great Migration. The exact origin of this invention is unknown.

The use of the horse as a workhorse was only possible in the Middle Ages with the invention of the collar. Previously, oxen were mainly used in agriculture. The harnesses that were customary up to that time cut off the horses' breath when they were pulling heavily and were only suitable for easy-running wagons, but not for heavy work. The collar made it possible to use horses to pull a plow, for example. Since their labor output was significantly greater than that of oxen, this marked an agricultural revolution.

There were no domesticated horses in the Americas; Although there were originally wild horses in America too, these were extinct before they could be domesticated. It was only the Europeans who brought the horse to America. In North America, some of the horses ran away and formed herds of free-range mustangs. This was the first time the Indians encountered horses; the contact radically changed the way of life of some peoples. Above all, the peoples of the prairie were able to capture the bison more easily thanks to the speed of the horse and due to their greater mobility, they could undertake further hunting expeditions and thus kill more buffalo than before.

The invention of the automobile made the horse largely superfluous as a means of transport and as a workhorse in the course of the 20th century.

Use

While thoroughbreds and the somewhat calmer warm-blooded animals are mounts and are also used as draft animals in front of light carriages, the rather massive cold-blooded horses are slower pace and almost exclusively draft and work animals, which used to be used to pull heavy wagons, to cultivate fields (plowed horse) and for hauling felled trees (back horse) as well as for similar power work. Since modern forestry and agricultural machinery has displaced horses from these areas, cold-blooded horses have become rare these days. In the meantime, horses are increasingly being used again in gardening and forestry work, as they hardly compact the soil and work more flexibly and more gently than machines in the forest. Most horses are now kept as sport and leisure horses. Larger ponies such as Haflingers, Norwegians or Tinkers are often kept as leisure horses, which are characterized above all by their ease of feeding and undemanding. The police horse is still used as a utility horse today, and horses can still be found occasionally in armies.

Before the horse was domesticated, the animals were hunted as meat suppliers. Eating horse meat, after having become completely uncommon in the meantime, has recently increased again. In 2001, an estimated 153,000 tons of horse meat were eaten around the world.

The importance of the horse as a meat producer within the EU is still so high that the horse can only be given unrestricted medication if the owner has a horse passport in which he declares that the animal will not be used for meat processing and in which every medicinal product Treatment is entered. If, after treatment, the desire to collect the slaughter price arises, the owner must allow a minimum period to elapse before the animal can be slaughtered.

The Jewish religion forbids the consumption of horse meat. Such an express prohibition does not exist in Islam or Christianity, but the eating of horse meat was frowned upon in both cultures. From Pope Gregory III. It is recorded that in 732 he condemned the eating of horses as a pagan abomination that should be stamped out.

Feeding

When feeding horses, the individual needs of each animal must be taken into account, so foals and young horses as well as pregnant and nursing mares have a significantly increased protein requirement, with sport horses, however, attention should be paid to the use of particularly high-energy feed and in older horses the lower feed usability must be taken into account To be taken into account. The supply of minerals also deserves special attention, as deficiency symptoms often occur here. In addition to the traditional feed straw, hay and oats and the increasing use of finished feed, the following products are also used:

Alfalfa hay Green flour Grass silage Corn silage Haystack Carrots, apples, bananas Dried pulp Corn barley Soybean meal Vegetable oil Wheat bran Mash Horses need access to freshwater every day. The amount required depends to a large extent on the weather, feeding, and weight of the horse and can be up to 80 liters per day.

Horses in Mythology

The close relationship between humans and horses has led to the fact that in the mythology of many peoples there are numerous horse figures to which great importance is attached.

Greek mythology, in particular, is rich in horses and horse-like beings:

the centaur is a hybrid of human and horse, with a horse's body and a human head. There were numerous centaurs, most of them unkind beings; however, the two most famous centaurs, Pholos and Cheiron, were friendly and intelligent representatives of their race. Pegasus was a winged, semi-divine horse who aided Bellerophon in numerous heroic acts, including killing the chimera. Bucephalus was the legendary horse of Alexander the Great. Numerous mythical properties were ascribed to it, but it is very likely to go back to a really existing horse. The Trojan horse was a wooden horse inside which the Greeks hid to get into Troy. The myth of the legendary unicorn, a horse with goat hooves, a lion's tail, and a horn on its forehead, probably originated in India. Unicorns did not appear in Greek mythology, but they did appear in scientific descriptions by Aristotle and Pliny.

In Norse mythology, there is Sleipnir, the eight-legged horse of the god Odin, as well as the horses Arvak and Alsvid, who pulled the sun's chariot across the sky.

Names, Races, Coat Colors

The male horse is called either a stallion or if neutered, a gelding. The female horse is called a mare. Young animals are called foals or foals; Enter denotes the one-year-old horse.

Horse Breeds

The list of horse breeds can be broken down into

Small horses and Large horses organize. Another possible classification depends on the temperament of the horses. So can

Thoroughbreds, Warmbloods and Cold-blooded animals can be distinguished. This nomenclature relates to temperament - the blood temperature is the same in all horses and is normally between 37.5 ° C and 38 ° C.

Official documents often contain references to the breed after the horse's name: xx stands for English thoroughbred, an ox for Arabs and x means that the horse is an Anglo-Arab - an English thoroughbred with at least 25 percent Arab crossbreeding.

Coat Colors

There are a large number of different colors of horses and their names, some of which vary from region to region. The most important basic colors are black, bay, fox, and gray (Fellfarben_der_Pferde for more information).

References

zoowiki.zetapin.de