Monday, January 14, 2013

The horse (Equus ferus caballus),, The horse (Equus ferus caballus) is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is an odd-toed ungulate mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today. HP Compaq HSTNN-105C Battery Humans began to domesticate horses around 4000 BC, and their domestication is believed to have been widespread by 3000 BC. Horses in the subspecies caballusare domesticated, although some domesticated populations live in the wild as feral horses. These feral populations are not true wild horses, as this term is used to describe horses that have never been domesticated, HP Compaq HSTNN-C12C Battery such as the endangeredPrzewalski's horse, a separate subspecies, and the only remaining true wild horse. 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. HP Compaq HSTNN-C66C Battery Horses' anatomy enables them to make use of speed to escape predators and they have a well-developed sense of balance and a strong fight-or-flight instinct. 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. HP Compaq HSTNN-C66C-4 Battery 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 saddle or in 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. HP Compaq HSTNN-C66C-5 Battery 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 "warmbloods", developed from crosses between hot bloods and cold bloods, often focusing on creating breeds for specific riding purposes, particularly in Europe. HP Compaq HSTNN-C67C Battery There are more than 300 breeds of horses in the world today, developed for many different 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. HP Compaq HSTNN-C67C-4 Battery Horses were historically used in warfare, from which a wide variety of riding and driving techniques developed, using many different styles of equipmentand methods of control. Many products are derived from horses, including meat, milk, hide, hair, bone, and pharmaceuticals extracted from the urine of pregnant mares. HP Compaq HSTNN-C67C-5 Battery 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, colors and breeds. HP Compaq HSTNN-DB05 Battery Depending on breed, management and environment, the modern domestic horse has a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years.[6] Uncommonly, a few animals live into their 40s and, occasionally, beyond.[7] The oldest verifiable record was "Old Billy", a 19th-century horse that lived to the age of 62.[6] HP Compaq HSTNN-DB06 Battery In modern times, Sugar Puff, who had been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's oldest living pony, died in 2007 at age 56.[8] Regardless of a horse or pony's actual birth date, 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. HP Compaq HSTNN-DB0E Battery The exception is in endurance riding, where the minimum age to compete is based on the animal's actual calendar age.[11] The following terminology is used to describe horses of various ages: Foal: a horse of either sex less than one year old. A nursing foal is sometimes called a suckling and a foal that has been weaned is called a weanling.[12] HP Compaq HSTNN-DB11 Battery
  • 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.[13]
  • Yearling: a horse of either sex that is between one and two years old.[14]
  • Colt: a male horse under the age of four.[15] A common terminology error is to call any young horse a "colt", when the term actually only refers to young male horses.[16]
Filly: a female horse under the age of four.[12] HP Compaq HSTNN-DB16 Battery
  • Mare: a female horse four years old and older.[17]
  • Stallion: a non-castrated male horse four years old and older.[18] The term "horse" is sometimes used colloquially to refer specifically to a stallion.[19]
  • Gelding: a castrated male horse of any age.[12]
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.[20HP Compaq HSTNN-DB28 Battery ] However, Australian Thoroughbred racing defines colts and fillies as less than four years old.[21] The height of horses is measured at the highest point of the withers, where the neck meets the back.[22] 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. HP Compaq HSTNN-DB29 Battery The English-speaking world measures the height of horses in 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"). HP Compaq HSTNN-DB67 Battery Thus, a horse described as "15.2 h" is 15 hands plus 2 inches, for a total of 62 inches (157.5 cm) in height. The size of horses varies by breed, but also is influenced by nutrition. 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 1,200 lb). HP Compaq HSTNN-FB05 Battery 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 1,300 lb).[25] 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. They can weigh from about 700 to 1,000 kilograms (1,500 to 2,200 lb). HP Compaq HSTNN-FB18 Battery The largest horse in recorded history was probably a Shire horse named Mammoth, who was born in 1848. He stood 21.2½ hands high (86.5 in/220 cm), and his peak weight was estimated at 1,500 kilograms (3,300 lb).The current record holder for the world's smallest horse is Thumbelina, a fully mature miniature horse affected bydwarfism. She is 17 inches (43 cm) tall and weighs 57 pounds (26 kg). HP Compaq HSTNN-FB51 Battery Ponies are taxonomically the same animals as horses. 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. HP Compaq HSTNN-FB52 Battery 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,[29] but there are many exceptions to the traditional standard. In Australia, ponies are considered to be those under 14 hands (56 inches, 142 cm), HP Compaq HSTNN-I04C Battery For competition in the Western division of the United States Equestrian Federation, the cutoff is 14.1 hands (57 inches, 145 cm)[31] 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 centimetres (58.27 in) at the withers without shoes, which is just over 14.2 h, and 149 centimetres (58.66 in), or just over 14.2½ h, with shoes. HP Compaq HSTNN-I12C Battery 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, HP Compaq HSTNN-I39C Battery and individual animals may occasionally mature at over 14.2 h, but are still considered to be ponies.[34] 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. HP Compaq HSTNN-I40C Battery They may have calmer temperaments than horses and also a high level of equine intelligence that may or may not be used to cooperate with human handlers.[29] Small size, by itself, is not an exclusive determinant. For example, the Shetland pony which averages 10 hands (40 inches, 102 cm), is considered a pony. HP Compaq HSTNN-I44C Battery Conversely, breeds such as the Falabella 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. 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.[37] HP Compaq HSTNN-I44C-A Battery Horses of the same color may be distinguished from one another by white markings,[38] which, along with various spotting patterns, are inherited separately from coat color.[39] 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,[40] HP Compaq HSTNN-I44C-B Battery 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 theMelanocortin 1 receptor,[41] also known as the "extension gene" or "red factor,"[40] as its recessive form is "red" (chestnut) and its dominant form is black.[42] HP Compaq HSTNN-I45C Battery 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 ordun, as well as graying, and all the other factors that create the many possible coat colors found in horses. HP Compaq HSTNN-I45C-A Battery Horses which have a white coat color are often mislabeled; a horse that looks "white" is usually a middle-aged or older gray. Grays are born a darker shade, get lighter as they age, but usually keep black skin underneath their white hair coat (with the exception of pink skin under white markings). HP Compaq HSTNN-I45C-B Battery The only horses properly calledwhite are born with a predominantly white hair coat and pink skin, a fairly rare occurrence.[42] Different and unrelated genetic factors can produce white coat colors in horses, including several different alleles of dominant white and the sabino-1 gene. However, there are no "albino" horses, defined as having both pink skin and red eyes.HP Compaq HSTNN-I48C-A Battery Gestation lasts approximately 340 days, with an average range 320–370 days,[45] and usually results in one foal; twins are rare.[46] Horses are a precocialspecies, and foals are capable of standing and running within a short time following birth.[47] Foals are usually born in the spring. HP Compaq HSTNN-I48C-B Battery The estrous cycle of a mare occurs roughly every 19–22 days and occurs from early spring into autumn. Most mares enter an anestrus period during the winter and thus do not cycle in this period.[48] Foals are generally weaned from their mothers between four and six months of age. HP Compaq HSTNN-I49C Battery 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.[50] Horses four years old are considered mature, although the skeleton normally continues to develop until the age of six; HP Compaq HSTNN-I50C-B Battery maturation also depends on the horse's size, breed, sex, and quality of care. Larger horses have larger bones; therefore, not only do the bones take longer to form bone tissue, but the epiphyseal plates are larger and take longer to convert from cartilage to bone. These plates convert after the other parts of the bones, and are crucial to development.[51] HP Compaq HSTNN-I54C Battery 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.[52] AlthoughThoroughbred race horses are put on the track as young as the age of two in some countries,[53] HP Compaq HSTNN-I64C-5 Battery 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.[54] For endurance ridingcompetition, horses are not deemed mature enough to compete until they are a full 60 calendar months (five years) old. HP Compaq HSTNN-I65C-5 Battery The horse skeleton averages 205 bones.[55] A significant difference between the horse skeleton and that of a human is the lack of a collarbone—the horse's forelimbs are attached to the spinal column by a powerful set of muscles, tendons, and ligaments that attach the shoulder blade to the torso. The horse's legs and hooves are also unique structures. HP Compaq HSTNN-IB05 Battery 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 humanwrist. Similarly, the hock contains bones equivalent to those in the human ankle and heel. HP Compaq HSTNN-IB08 Battery 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 ormetatarsal bones) and the proximal phalanges, located where one finds the "knuckles" of a human. HP Compaq HSTNNIB12 Battery 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. The critical importance of the feet and legs is summed up by the traditional adage, "no foot, no horse".Thehorse hoof begins with the distal phalanges, HP Compaq HSTNN-IB16 Battery 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 essentially the same material as a human fingernail.[58] The end result is that a horse, weighing on average 500 kilograms (1,100 lb),[59] HP Compaq HSTNN-IB18 Battery travels on the same bones as would a human on tiptoe.[60] 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,[61] though the hooves of horses in the wild wear down and regrow at a rate suitable for their terrain. HP Compaq HSTNN-IB28 Battery Horses are adapted to grazing. 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". HP Compaq HSTNN-IB51 Battery 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.[62] HP Compaq HSTNN-IB52 Battery 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. HP Compaq HSTNN-IB55 Battery This allows a very rough estimate of a horse's age, although diet and veterinary care can also affect the rate of tooth wear.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. HP Compaq HSTNN-IB62 Battery 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 litres (8.4 imp gal; 10 US gal) to 45 litres (9.9 imp gal; 12 US gal) ofwater. Horses are not ruminants, so they have only one stomach, like humans, but unlike humans, they can digest cellulose, a major component of grass. HP Compaq HSTNN-LB05 Battery Cellulose digestion 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. The horse's senses are generally superior to those of a human. As prey animals, they must be aware of their surroundings at all times.[64] HP Compaq HSTNN-LB08 Battery They have the largest eyes of any land mammal,[65] and are lateral-eyed, meaning that their eyes are positioned on the sides of their heads.[66] This means that horses have a range of vision of more than 350°, with approximately 65° of this being binocular vision and the remaining 285° monocular vision.[65] HP Compaq HSTNN-LB0E Battery Horses have excellent day and night vision, but they have two-color, or dichromatic vision; their color vision is somewhat like red-green color blindness in humans, where certain colors, especially red and related colors, appear as a shade of green.[67] A horse's hearing is good,[64] and the pinna of each ear can rotate up to 180°, giving the potential for 360° hearing without having to move the head.[68] HP Compaq HSTNN-LB11 Battery Their sense of smell, while much better than that of humans, is not their strongest asset; they rely to a greater extent on vision.[64] Horses have a great sense of balance, due partly to their ability to feel their footing and partly to highly developed proprioception—the unconscious sense of where the body and limbs are at all times.[69] HP Compaq HSTNN-LB51 Battery A horse's sense of touch is well developed. The most sensitive areas are around the eyes, ears, and nose.[70]Horses are able to sense contact as subtle as an insect landing anywhere on the body.[71] Horses have an advanced sense of taste, which allows them to sort through fodder and choose what they would most like to eat,[72] and their prehensile lips can easily sort even small grains. HP Compaq HSTNN-LB52 Battery 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 kilometres per hour (4.0 mph); the two-beat trot or jog at 13 to 19 kilometres per hour (8.1 to 12 mph) (faster for harness racinghorses); HP Compaq HSTNN-MB05 Battery the canter or lope, a three-beat gait that is 19 to 24 kilometres per hour (12 to 15 mph); and thegallop.[74] The gallop averages 40 to 48 kilometres per hour (25 to 30 mph),[75] but the world record for a horse galloping over a short, sprint distance is 88 kilometres per hour (55 mph).[76] Besides these basic gaits, some horses perform a two-beat pace, instead of the trot.[77] HP Compaq HSTNN-OB06 Battery 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 tölt as well as the diagonal fox trot.[78] Ambling gaits are often genetic in some breeds, known collectively as gaited horses.[79] Often, gaited horses replace the trot with one of the ambling gaits. HP Compaq HSTNN-OB52 Battery Horses are prey animals with a strong fight-or-flight response. Their first reaction to 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. HP Compaq HSTNN-OB62 Battery Most light horse riding breeds were developed for speed, agility, alertness and endurance; natural qualities that extend from their wild ancestors. However, through selective breeding, some breeds of horses are quite docile, particularly certain draft horses.[81] Horses are herd animals, with a clear hierarchy of rank, led by a dominant individual, usually a mare. HP Compaq HSTNN-UB05 Battery 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. Many horses will become difficult to manage if they are isolated, but with training, HP Compaq HSTNN-UB11 Battery horses can learn to accept a human as a companion, and thus be comfortable away from other horses.[82] However, when confined with insufficient companionship, exercise, or stimulation, individuals may develop stable vices, an assortment of bad habits, mostly stereotypiesof psychological origin, that include wood chewing, wall kicking, "weaving" (rocking back and forth), and other problems. HP Compaq HSTNN-UB18 Battery In the past, horses were considered unintelligent, with no abstract thinking ability, unable to generalize, and driven primarily by a herd mentality. However, modern studies show that they perform a number of cognitive tasks on a daily basis, meeting mental challenges that include food procurement and social systemidentification. HP Compaq HSTNN-UB68 Battery They also have good spatial discrimination abilities.[84] Studies have assessed equine intelligence in the realms of problem solving, learning speed, and knowledge retention. Results show that horses excel at simple learning, but also are able to solve advanced cognitive challenges that involvecategorization and concept learning. HP Compaq HSTNN-UB69 Battery They learn from habituation, desensitization, Pavlovian conditioning, and operant conditioning. They respond to and learn from both positive and negative reinforcement.[84] Recent studies even suggest horses are able to count if the quantity involved is less than four.[85] HP Compaq HSTNN-W42C Battery Domesticated horses tend to face greater mental challenges than wild horses, because they live in artificial environments that stifle instinctive behavior while learning tasks that are not natural.[84] Horses are creatures of habit that respond and adapt well to regimentation, and respond best when the same routines and techniques are used consistently. HP Compaq HSTNN-W42C-A Battery Some trainers believe that "intelligent" horses are reflections of intelligent trainers who effectively use response conditioning techniques and positive reinforcement to train in the style that fits best with an individual animal's natural inclinations. Others who handle horses regularly note that personality also may play a role separate from intelligence in determining how a given animal responds to various experiences. HP Compaq HSTNN-W42C-B Battery Horses are mammals, and as such are "warm-blooded" creatures, as opposed to cold-blooded reptiles. 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, HP Compaq HSTNN-XB0E Battery exhibit more sensitivity and energy,[87] while the "cold-bloods", such as most draft breeds, are quieter and calmer.[88] Sometimes "hot-bloods" are classified as "light horses" or "riding horses",[89] with the "cold-bloods" classified as "draft horses" or "work horses". "Hot blooded" breeds include "oriental horses" such as the Akhal-Teke, HP Compaq HSTNN-XB11 Battery Arabian horse, Barb and now-extinctTurkoman horse, as well as the Thoroughbred, a breed developed in England from the older oriental breeds.[87]Hot bloods tend to be spirited, bold, and learn quickly. They are bred for agility and speed.[91] They tend to be physically refined—thin-skinned, slim, and long-legged.[92] HP Compaq HSTNN-XB18 Battery 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.[93][94] 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. HP Compaq HSTNN-XB21 Battery They are sometimes nicknamed "gentle giants".[95] Well-known draft breeds include the Belgian and the Clydesdale.[95]Some, like the Percheron, are lighter and livelier, developed to pull carriages or to plow large fields in drier climates.[96] Others, such as the Shire, are slower and more powerful, bred to plow fields with heavy, clay-based soils.[97] The cold-blooded group also includes some pony breeds.[98] HP Compaq HSTNN-XB24 Battery "Warmblood" breeds, such as the Trakehner 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.[99] HP Compaq HSTNN-XB28 Battery Certain pony breeds with warmblood characteristics have been developed for smaller riders.[100] Warmbloods are considered a "light horse" or "riding horse".[89] Today, the term "Warmblood" refers to a specific subset of sport horse breeds that are used for competition in dressage and show jumping.[101] Strictly speaking, the term "warm blood" refers to any cross between cold-blooded and hot-blooded breeds.[102] HP Compaq HSTNN-XB51 Battery Examples include breeds such as the Irish Draught or the Cleveland Bay. The term was once used to refer to breeds of light riding horse other than Thoroughbreds or Arabians, such as the Morgan horse. Horses are able to sleep both standing up and lying down. 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.[103] HP Compaq HSTNN-XB52 Battery Horses sleep better when in groups because some animals will sleep while others stand guard to watch for predators. A horse kept alone will not sleep well because its instincts are to keep a constant eye out for danger.[104] Unlike humans, horses do not sleep in a solid, unbroken period of time, but take many short periods of rest. HP Compaq HSTNN-XB59 Battery 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,[104] mostly in short intervals of about 15 minutes each.[105]The average sleep time of a domestic horse is said to be 2.9 hours per day.[106] HP Compaq HSTNN-XB61 Battery

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