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horse : a large solid-hoofed herbivorous ungulate mammal (Equus caballus, family Equidae, the horse family) domesticated since prehistoric times and used as a beast of burden, a draft animal, or for riding — Webster

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Horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus. 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, Eohippus, into the large, single-toed animal of today. Humans began domesticating horses around 4000 BC, and their domestication is believed to have been widespread by 3000 BC. Horses in the subspecies caballus are 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, such as the endangered Przewalski’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.

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 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 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.

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. There are more than 300 breeds of horse in the world today, developed for many different uses. — Wikipedia

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Horses News -- ScienceDaily Equine News. All about horses including the latest in horse cloning, race horse physiology and horse health.

  • A genomic tour-de-force reveals the last 5,000...
    on May 2, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    Each year on the first Saturday in May, Thoroughbred horses reach speeds of over 40 miles per hour as they compete to win the Kentucky Derby. But the domestic horse wasn't always bred for speed. In fact, an international team now has evidence to suggest that the modern horse is genetically quite different from the horses of even just a few hundred years ago. […]

  • Is one toe really better than three? How horse'...
    on April 17, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    Palaeobiologists have uncovered new evidence that suggests that horses' legs have adapted over time to be optimized for endurance travel, rather than speed. […]

  • Zebra stripes are not good landing strips
    on February 20, 2019 at 7:50 pm

    The stripes of a zebra deter horse flies from landing on them, according to a new study. […]

  • Laminitis research to help save horses and ponies
    on February 15, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Laminitis -- a complex, common and often devastating disease -- is the second biggest killer of domestic horses. Now a body of important research on it has been compiled. […]

  • Endocrine-disrupting chemicals linked to equine...
    on February 13, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in a horse's environment may play a role in the development of equine metabolic syndrome (EMS), according to new research. […]


Phys.org - latest science and technology news stories Phys.org internet news portal provides the latest news on science including: Physics, Nanotechnology, Life Sciences, Space Science, Earth Science, Environment, Health and Medicine.

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