The Horses Portal
(Equus ferus caballus
) is a hoofed (ungulate
, a subspecies of one of seven extant species of the 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. Humans began to domesticate
horses around 4000 BC, and their domestication
is believed to have been widespread by 3000 BC; by 2000 BC the use of domesticated horses had spread throughout the Eurasian
continent. Although most horses today are domesticated, there are still populations of wild
and feral horses
. There are over 300 breeds of horses in the world today, developed for many different uses.
The 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. Horses and humans interact in many ways, including a wide variety of sport competitions, non-competitive recreational pursuits and working activities. A wide variety of riding and driving techniques have been developed, using many different styles of equipment and methods of control. Many products are derived from horses, including meat, milk, hide, hair, bone, and pharmaceuticals extracted from the urine of pregnant mares.
Bruce Oram Davidson
is an American equestrian
who competes in the sport of eventing
. He grew up in a family uninterested in horses, but began to compete in Pony Club
events after a family friend introduced him to riding. He began college at Iowa State University
, but left in his third year to train full-time with the United States Equestrian Team
. In 1974 he married, and his two children were born in 1976 and 1977. His son, Bruce Davidson, Jr., has followed in his footsteps to become a top eventing rider.
At 18, Davidson tried out for the United States eventing team and was accepted. He won his first medal as a member of the silver-medal-winning US team at the 1972 Summer Olympics. After that, Davidson went to win gold at the 1976 and 1984 Olympics and silver in 1996. He has also competed repeatedly at both the World Equestrian Games and the Pan American Games, winning medals at both, as well as winning repeatedly at the top-level Badminton Horse Trials and Rolex Kentucky Three Day events. He is also known for his horse breeding and training abilities.
The Chincoteague Pony
, also known as the Assateague horse
, is a breed
that developed and lives in a feral
condition. Although popularly known as Chincoteague ponies, the feral
ponies actually live on Assateague Island that lies in the states of Virginia
. The breed was made famous by the Misty of Chincoteague
series written by Marguerite Henry
starting in 1947. Several legends are told regarding the origins of the Chincoteague, with the most popular being that they descend from survivors of wrecked Spanish galleons
off the Virginia coast. It is more likely that they descend from stock released on the island by 17th century colonists looking to escape livestock laws and taxes on the mainland. In 1835, the practice of pony penning
appeared, and in 1924 the first official "Pony Penning Day" was held by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company
, where ponies were auctioned as a way to raise money for fire equipment. The annual event has continued to the present day. While only around 300 ponies live on Assateague Island, around 1,000 more live off-island, having been purchased or bred by private breeders.
Did you know?
The following are images from various horse-related articles on Wikipedia.
Skull of a giant extinct horse, Equus eisenmannae
This image shows a representative sequence, but should not be construed to represent a "straight-line" evolution of the horse. Reconstruction, left forefoot skeleton (third digit emphasized yellow) and longitudinal section of molars of selected prehistoric horses
Secondary characteristics of a stallion include heavier muscling for a given breed than is seen in mares or geldings, often with considerable development along the crest of the neck, as shown in this image.
The early stages of domestication were marked by a rapid increase in coat color variation.
1- Heel perioplium, 2-Bulb, 3-Frog, 4-Frog cleft, 5-Lateral groove, 6-Heel, 7-Bar, 8-Seat-of-corn, 9-Pigmented walls 10-Water line, 11-White line, 12-Apex of the frog, 13-Sole, 14-Toe, 15-How to measure hoof width (blue dotted line), 16-Quarter, 17-How to measure length (blue dotted line)
Reconstruction of possible ancestral coat colors.
Equus caballus germanicus front leg, teeth and upper jaw at the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin
The pinna of a horse's ears can rotate in any direction to pick up sounds
A 'bred back' Heck Horse, closely resembling the now-extinct Tarpan, a subspecies of wild horse extant at the time of original domestication.
A dehydrated anatomical specimen
Replica of a horse painting from a cave in Lascaux
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