Wednesday 5 August 2015

Mammals: HORSES

Horses are four legged animals that have had a long relationship with humans. The scientific name for horse is Equus ferus caballus. Horses are mammals as well as herbivores, meaning they only eat plants rather than meat. This mammal belongs to the taxonomic family Equidae. Some horses are domestic, while others remain wild.


Breeds of Horses
There are over 300 different breeds of horses. Horse breeds come in a number of different sizes, colors, and skill sets. There are three main types of horse breeds: Hot bloods are fast horses bred for speed and racing. Cold bloods are generally bred for strength and heavy work. Warm bloods are a combination of the other two types and are often used for riding competitions.

The different names given to horses:

1. Foal - a baby horse less than a year old.
2. Yearling - a young horse between the ages of one and two.
3. Colt - a male horse less than four years old.
4. Filly - a female horse less than four years old.
5. Stallion - a male horse older than four years old that is not a gelding.
6. Gelding - A castrated male horse.
7. Mare - a female hose older than four.

Horse Colors
Horses with different coat colors have different names. They are:

1. Bay - light reddish-brown to dark brown with a black mane, tail, and lower legs.
2. Chestnut - reddish color with no black.
3. Grey - black skin, but a mixed coat of white and black hairs.
4. Black - entirely black.
5. Sorrel - a type of chestnut with a very reddish coat.
6. Dun - yellowish or tan coat.
7. Palomino - a light golden color.
8. Pinto - a multicolored horse with patches of red, brown, white, and/or black.

A Horse's Diet
Horses actually spend most of their time eating! Horses are grazing animals and mostly eat hay and grasses. They also like legumes like peas and beans, fruit such as apples, and even carrots. Sometimes they are fed grains such as corn or oats.  

A Horse Eating 

A Horse's Anatomy
Parts of a Horse
A Horse's Teeth
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. 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. An estimate of a horse's age can be made from looking at its teeth.

A Horse's Behaviour

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.  Horses communicate in various ways, including vocalizations such as nickering or whinnying, mutual grooming, and body language.

Horse Galloping
A Horse Sleeping
Fun Facts about Horses
  • Horses have excellent senses including good hearing, eyesight, and a tremendous sense of balance.
  • Horses can sleep standing up or lying down.
  •  Horses can run shortly after birth.
  • Horses have bigger eyes than any other mammal that lives on land.
  • Horse riding is often used as a form of therapy for people with disabilities.
  • Estimates suggest that there are around 60 million horses in the world.
  • Scientists believe that horses have evolved over the past 50 million years from much smaller creatures.
  •  Because horse’s eyes are on the side of their head they are capable of seeing nearly 360 degrees at one time.

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