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Portal:Horses

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Horse and foal

The horse (Equus ferus caballus) is a domesticated, one-toed, hoofed mammal. It belongs to the taxonomic family Equidae and is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus. 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. 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 are adapted to run, allowing them to quickly escape predators, and possess an excellent 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 a saddle or in a 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. (Full article...)

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The Livestock Conservancy, formerly known as the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) and prior to that, the American Minor Breeds Conservancy, is a nonprofit organization focused on preserving and promoting rare breeds, also known as "heritage breeds" of livestock. Founded in 1977, through the efforts of livestock breed enthusiasts concerned about the disappearance of many of the US's heritage livestock breeds, the Conservancy was the pioneer livestock preservation organization in the United States, and remains a leading organization in that field. It has initiated programs that have saved multiple breeds from extinction, and works closely with similar organizations in other countries, including Rare Breeds Canada. With 3,000 members, a staff of nine and a 19-member board of directors, the organization has an operating budget of almost half a million dollars.

The Livestock Conservancy maintains a conservation priority list that divides endangered breeds of horses, asses, sheep, goats, cattle, rabbits, pigs and poultry into five categories based on population numbers and historical interest. The organization has published several books, and works with breed registries and other groups on several aspects of breed preservation, including genetic testing, historical documentation, animal rescue and marketing. Preservation of genetic material is of special interest to the Conservancy, and for a period of time it maintained a gene bank that was later transferred to the United States Department of Agriculture. It has also developed and published several heritage definitions, including parameters for heritage breeds of cattle and poultry. (Full article...)

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Hansom cab and driver. A hansom cab is a kind of horse-drawn carriage designed and patented in 1834 by Joseph Hansom, an architect from York. Originally known as the Hansom safety cab, its purpose was to combine speed with safety, with a low centre of gravity that was essential for safe cornering.

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Mesteño, a Kiger mustang stallion

The Kiger mustang is a strain of mustang horse located in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Oregon. Horses with specific conformation traits discovered in 1977, the name applies only to wild-captured individuals and does not apply to their bred-in-captivity progeny, which are known as Kiger horses. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) administers two herd management areas for Kiger mustangs in the Burns District—Kiger and Riddle Mountain, in the Steens Mountain area. DNA testing has shown that Kiger mustangs are descended largely from Spanish horses brought to North America in the 17th century, a bloodline thought to have largely disappeared from mustang herds before the Kiger horses were found.

Kiger mustangs are most often dun in color, although they are found in other solid colors. Compact and well-muscled in appearance, their coloration and phenotype make them some of the most desired by private buyers when horses are removed from the feral herds. The BLM rounds up the horses from the two herd management areas every three to four years, and auctions excess horses to the public, returning horses to public lands that meet the desired coloration and phenotype and sometimes exchanging horses between the two herds to maintain genetic diversity. Horses in private ownership may be registered in several breed associations, the largest and oldest being the Kiger Mesteño Association, established in 1988. (Full article...)

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HorsePonyAsinusEquus (genus)EquidaeZebraGlossary of equestrian termsList of horse breedsEvolution of the horseDomestication of the horseHorse careStableHorse trainingEquestrianismHorse tackSaddleEquine nutritionEquine anatomyEquine conformationEquine coat colorEquine coat color geneticsHorse markingsEquine visionHorse hoofHorseshoeHorse gaitHorse behaviorHorse breedingBreed registryEquine infectious anemiaHorse colicLamenessLaminitisHorse slaughterHorses in warfareArabian horseThoroughbred

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