Horses are beautiful graceful animals from the equine order. Their domestication occurred approximately 5000-5500 years ago. Steppe wild horses are considered ancestors, but so far it has not been possible to reliably determine the ancestor. The importance of horses fell only at the beginning of the twentieth century, when the cart, gig and wagon ceased to be relevant.
The origin of the horse
The order of equine, in addition to the domestic horse, includes:
- Przewalski's horse;
- Extinct wild horses;
- Mountain Zebra, Desert Zebra and Burchella Zebra;
All of them are artiodactyls, some can interbreed, but give birth to infertile offspring, as they have different numbers of chromosomes. A donkey and horse hybrid is called a mule or gelding, depending on how the cross was made.
Reliably the origin of the home species is unknown. Most likely his wild ancestors died out after the horse was domesticated. It is believed that such types of horses participated in the formation:
To date, these wild horses are gone. The tarpans became extinct over a century ago, the forest disappeared even earlier, and the Hagerman - 10, 000 years ago. Only a small number of Przhevalsky horses have survived. By breeding, it was possible to breed the Hake breed, similar to Tarpan. Facts say that feral domestic horses live in America and the south of France. One of the most famous images of these animals is the rustling white Uffington horse.
There are many breeds of horses, but they all have common features. Here is a brief anatomy, biological features, characteristics and description of this species:
- head with a long snout and dry;
- eyes are big;
- extended nostrils;
- ears are mediocre and very mobile;
- elongated mane, hanging to one side;
- the neck is elongated, curved, muscles are developed;
- the breast is strong, wide;
- the back is muscular, wide; the horseman is calmly placed on it;
- the back is expanded, the tail is magnificent;
- hips are well developed;
- legs are high with strong tendons;
- the hoof covers the tip of the middle finger;
- on the inner surface of the wrists there are horny thickenings or a bump.
The horses' digestive system is typical of herbivores. The stomach has only one compartment (artiodactyl species have 2), there is no gall bladder. The body temperature of the horse is 37.5-37.8 ° C. Breathing at rest - 8-16 times per minute, with loads - 5-7 times more often. The heart beats 40-60 times per minute, while running - 120-130 times, pumps up to 150 liters of blood. The average age of a horse's life is 25-30 years, the record holder from Britain has lived up to 62 years.
Presumably wild horses were striped, had a dark color along the ridge. Here are the most famous colors and colors of horses:
- black (black suit horses);
- gray or gray;
- dark gray;
- gray in apples;
- piebald spotted (these are white horses with spots);
- white or albino;
- magpie black and white;
Many colors are extremely rare, as they arise due to gene mutations. They are especially highly regarded.
An important characteristic of a domestic horse is its running, or gait. Distinguish between natural and artificial types. In the first case, a gait is a kind of running characteristic of any horses in nature. Artificial paces are specially developed by man. Often this type of running is used in dressage competitions.
Natural horse gait includes:
- Step - a calm walk, only one foot comes off the ground.
- Lynx is a quick gait; 2 legs simultaneously tear off the ground, the right rear and left front and vice versa.
- Gallop - a very fast run, in which in a jump the horse completely breaks off the surface and freezes in the air, horses in a gallop can run fast, at medium speed or slowly.
- The amble is a special type of lynx, peculiar only to some individuals, 2 legs take off from the ground on one side, in fast running such horses sometimes roll over.
Circus and sport horses own different types of artificial gait. In order to develop such a step, horses must be dealt with for a very long time and at a professional level, special devices are used: cavaletti, long cord. Known types of horse steps created by man:
- Passage - a slow trot, the horse beautifully puts his legs forward and lifts them high up, like a hopper.
- Piaffe - passage made in one place
- Spanish step - the horse steps like a ballerina, bringing forward a straight front leg.
- Three-legged gallop - one front foot extended forward and does not touch the ground.
- Gallop in the back - walking backward.
Most often, rare artificial gaits are used at parades and exhibitions. Passage and piaffe are the main steps that are evaluated when dressing. There are no people who would not be fascinated by these graceful walks. To demonstrate, you need a good rider, an ace in his profession. It is not possible to train every horse to teach a beautiful gait; a high degree of intelligence of the animal is necessary.
After the horses were tamed, more than 100 breeds were bred. Some of them still exist. The classification has not been finalized, they are conditionally divided into the following groups:
- horse harness;
- light and heavy-duty;
- horse pack.
Classify horses and the type of breeding on the factory, herd and mixed.
Breeds that have been bred in a specific territory since time immemorial are called aboriginal. Varieties resulting from targeted selection are called cultural. There are also transitional forms. In addition to horses of usual height, there is still a small breed of pony.
Horse varieties first appeared in the countries of the East, they were bred by Arabs. They came to Europe during the Crusades. Before that, Europeans bred mainly pack horses and heavy trucks. Here are the main representatives of riding horses:
- Arabian horse;
- Thoroughbred horse (the most famous modern stallion California Chrome);
- Akhal-Teke, or Akhal-Teke;
The ancestor of most modern breeds is the Arabian horse. Alkhetinskaya and Kabardinskaya varieties that are actively involved in breeding are also considered indigenous.
These breeds began to appear actively in the XVIII and XIX centuries. When breeding, the horse and cargo varieties were crossed. The most famous breeds of this direction:
- Oryol Trotter;
- Lippician, Lipicyans, or Lipitsian;
- Russian trotter;
- American Curly Bashkir, or Curly Bashkir;
- Greater Poland;
- Ranger colorado;
The main characteristic of draft horses is their speed and endurance, although they are inferior to riding horses in terms of running speed. Their physique is strong, graceful. The size of the draft horse is medium; at the withers the horses are low.
Breeds of horses of heavy trucks are one of the oldest in the world. These are large and strong horses, capable of dragging huge loads. The heavy truck looks like a powerful, often bore-footed horse, landing of the hull is low. It’s not moving very fast, in no hurry.
Among these varieties there are real champions in weight and height. Here are the representatives:
- Black Forest
- Lithuanian heavy truck;
- Shire, or Shire;
Having lost practical importance, many breeds of heavy horses began to disappear. Active work is underway in France, Germany, the countries of Scandinavia, and Russia to conserve these varieties.
An important part of using a horse is harness or equipment. In horseback riding this is a saddle in which a rider can sit. A voltrap is placed under it so that parts of the saddle do not rub the horse's back. The body covers a blanket or a sword belt. Its function is protection against the cold. For example, in Siberia or Arkhangelsk there are real severe frosts, you can not do without blankets in this case. Fastens the saddle cinch. It is a wide belt that spans the props and fastens on both sides of the saddle.
The bridle and halter are fixed on the horse's face. The bridle has a bit, snaffle, mouthpiece, which are attached to the animal’s mouth. A halter is a bridle without fishing. Another kind of bridle - hakamor or hert, leather braid without iron, is long and short. To control, they also use a dowel, schenkel or martingale, a sliding motive of chambon. The rope is tied at one end to a cinch, at the other - to the bridle, does not allow the horse to raise its head to a horizontal position and stand on its hind legs. A hobbled mare is tied with a rope called a chumbur or a champ. In order for the horse not to be scared, the blinkers should be lowered into the eyes. Legs protect the nails and ligaments protect the soft bandages.
Harnesses for pack horses are arc and arcless, one-window and two-window. In such teams, a clamp, brace, lining, martins, underbelly, reins, chest belts are used. There is also a mixed version, where the root horse is harnessed to the arch, and the draw horse without it. Ammunition is made of leather and metal, arcs - wooden.
How to harness a horse to a wagon, shafts or sledges? It is necessary to carefully study the scheme, see how this is done in practice. It is difficult to do this without experience and skill, because a horse often snorts and butts.
Maintenance and care
You should learn all about horses before starting these animals or just riding. Keep animals in stables that have:
- Stall. The room where the horse stays temporarily, eats, inspects and brushes. There are no partitions in the stall, it is a closed paddock with a strap for tying horses and a manger for food.
- The Stall A house or a place where the horse lives constantly. Its area is 3.6 × 3.6 cm, so that even a lying mare fits there. A separate stall is made for each domestic horse, blocking it with incomplete lattice partitions. Instead of a lattice, there may be weaving. The doors are designed in such a way that the horse cannot open them independently, with a height of not more than 1.1 m. You can leave the stall in the general gallery or directly on the street.
- Territory or levada for walking. The area is 100-200 m².
The stables are no less than 2.6 m high. The floor is best made concrete with a rubber coating. Litter is made of straw. In the stalls, gutters are installed to drain liquid waste, then manure needs to be less frequently removed. They clean stalls daily, completely change the litter once a week.
Do-it-yourself direct horse care includes:
- body cleaning;
- combing the mane and tail, it can be braided;
- hoof cleaning;
- special attention is paid to the teeth of the horse.
For cleaning, use a natural brush with hard bristles, it is desirable that the horse is confused. Start from the head on the left side, go to the sides, back and croup. Repeat the procedure on the right side, scratch the mane and tail, you can also braid them (horse hairstyle can be very interesting). At the end, hoofs and legs are cleared. To clean the hooves use special brushes, sticks and hooks, cream for lubrication. Only a professional can forge a horse, do not do it yourself. A shod horse is less likely to damage hooves.
The health of horses largely depends on proper feeding. Many owners also want to know how much it costs to feed an animal. A horse’s daily or daily diet, which weighs about half a ton, consists of the following products:
- hay (the best option is clover with legumes or meadow) - 10-13 kg;
- oats, granola, cereal mixes - 5 kg;
- bran from oats or wheat - 1-1.5 kg;
- carrot - 2-3 kg.
Together with the carrot, the animal can eat other vegetables. Be sure to include regular salt, vitamin supplements in the diet. The annual diet of a horse consists of:
- 4-5 tons of selected hay;
- 2 tons of grain mixture or oats;
- 0.5 tons of carrots and other vegetables;
- 13 kg of salt.
In summer, the horse can graze in the pasture, while the amount of hay is reduced, but not completely removed. You can not immediately put the horse on green feed, this should be done gradually. Before you let the horses fast, you should feed the hay well. It is necessary to ensure that the food is fresh, without signs of decay and mold, poisonous plants are not found in the hay. Thoroughbred horses are quite finicky in their diet, with their own tastes.
Animals are watered several times a day. A horse drinks 60-80 l per day, suitable for drinking a bucket or a small barrel. Do not give too much horse drink immediately after exercise, this can negatively affect digestion. The horse is given water before eating so that the food is better absorbed. From open sources, domestic horses can only drink when there is complete confidence in the quality of the water. Since it is difficult to find such reservoirs, it is better to train a horse to drink only at home.
In order to breed domestic horses, you need to have a lot of experience. Thoroughbred specimens should be knitted exclusively in accordance with the breeding parameters with the permission of the relevant organizations. Before mating, selection or scoring is carried out, as well as chipping and registration for couples and broods. Males unfit for breeding are neutered, their branding is necessarily carried out. The stallions who underwent castration are called horses.
Mares are ready for breeding in 3-4 years, the stallion is considered sexually mature at 3 years old. The main conditions for successful mating is the hunting of the female. The best time for horse mating is from March to June.
There are several ways to mate:
- hand knitting;
- artificial insemination.
When manually knitting a mare in the hunt lead to a special area. Two trained assistants hold her by the bridle with her own hands. A stallion who will sit on a female is let down behind. He throws out the seed after about 3 minutes, after which the mating must be stopped. The stallions are led away to their place, and the mare is walked for half an hour. The control mating is carried out after three days.
When cooking mare, a stallion with a mare is closed for several days in a fence. Intercourse occurs naturally, but the percentage of fertilization is lower. The kosyachny technique is somewhat similar to the cooking. A herd or herd of 20-25 females and one pedigree stallion is formed. It is found in a pen or in a separate pasture throughout the breeding season. The stallion itself selects mares in the hunt and mates with them. The method is productive, but it is difficult to plan signs of offspring.
Artificial insemination of domestic horses is carried out at stations using special tools. It is used in cases where it is necessary to impregnate a female with sperm of an elite stallion, and he is at a great distance. The advantage of the method is that mares are less likely to be injured, they are not transmitted sexual diseases. The percentage of positive results is high.
Pregnancy of a horse lasts 330-350 days, it gives birth to one foal, very rarely - two.
Pathologies and diseases of horses come in different types. It is important to know their names and the main unusual symptoms in order to contact the veterinarian on time. Self-medication is not necessary, it can cause complications and even the death of a domestic horse.
Diseases are infectious and non-infectious.
Infectious diseases and helminthiases
Infectious pathologies can be caused by bacteria, viruses and helminths. Transmitted through water and food, insect bite, air. Here are the most common equine diseases:
- glanders, for the diagnosis of which malleinization is used;
- contagious pleuropneumonia;
- infectious anemia or INAN;
- brucellosis or infectious abortion;
- viral or protozoal encephalomyelitis;
- adenovirus infection;
- swamp fever;
In bacterial infections, so that the horse does not lie down, give antibiotics in large doses. There are few specific antiviral effective agents, therefore horses are treated, removing intoxication and symptoms. Immunomodulators can accelerate recovery.
The best infection prevention is vaccination. Not to vaccinate a horse is a murder, and a mad mare is also dangerous for humans. To control insects, they use repellent.
Of the parasitic pathologies in horses there are:
For the treatment of helminthiases, piperazine, fenbendazole, phenylbutazone, albendazole, ivermek, flax seeds and other antiparasitic drugs are used. Drugs are given as a preventive measure. For the benefit of the animal, a specialist should choose a medicine.
Noncommunicable diseases of horses are often associated with improper maintenance and nutrition, horses can earn them excessive loads. Many arise due to heredity, age. The reasons for the large number of such pathologies have not yet been elucidated. The most common somatic non-communicable diseases:
- tympanitis or tympanum;
- катаракта и другие патологии глаз;
- аневризма сосудов;
- кишечные колики;
- незаразная диарея или понос;
- синдром Воблера;
- дерматиты и мокрецы;
- болезни суставов, при которых дают хондропротекторы, порошок страйд, адекван, хионат, бонхарен и противовоспалительные; анкилоз, артрит, ревматизм, остеопороз, брокдаун, бурсит;
- гнойные воспаления копыт;
- раскол копыта;
- патологии зубов;
- медвежья качка;
- злокачественные опухоли.
Признаки соматических патологий бывают стертыми. Болезни развиваются постепенно, симптомы не всегда укладываются в классическую клиническую картину. Даже детеныш с врожденным пороком не всегда может быть выявлен. Без участия опытного ветеринара их диагностировать невозможно. Только врач может назначить укол, сироп, таблетки, ингалятор и т.д. Если вылечить коня не удается, его режут или отправляют на забой.
Современное использование лошадей
Прошли те времена, когда без лошадей люди не могли себе представить жизнь. Крестьянину лошадь позволяла прокормить семью, извозчику — получить хороший заработок. Не обходилось без коней снаряжение военных компаний, обычная перевозка, от них получали мясо и молоко. Падение количества поголовья стало наблюдаться столетие назад.
Чаще всего лошади берут участие в спортивных соревнованиях. Это и скачки, и гонки с повозками, и выездка, и конкур, и вольтижировка, и трейл. Можно научить лошадок выступать в цирке, но чаще их используют для прогулок верхом. Нередко лошадей выводят в парки и катают там всех желающих. Это неплохой способ зарабатывания денег, но выгодным бизнесом его не назовешь. Становится популярным скиджоринг. Лошадки-игрушки типа Браер, попрыгун, повозки с педалями очень любят дети.
В последнее время лошадок стали использовать в комплексной терапии детей, больных ДЦП, людей после серьезных травм. Лошадка становится настоящим другом детей, приносит им много радости, а при расставании иногда плачет.
Во многих регионах России и других стран лошади до сих пор пашут землю, перевозят грузы и являются незаменимыми в сельском хозяйстве.
Сколько стоит лошадь? Любая породистая лошадка очень дорогая, стоит целое состояние. Цена колеблется от нескольких тысяч долларов до миллионов. Обычного коня без родословной можно купить за 100-200 тыс. руб. Содержание обойдется в 1-2 тыс. руб. в день, в зависимости от сезона, породы и других факторов. Ломовая или ямская лошадка обычно обходятся в содержании дешевле, чем верховая, она будет сама на себя зарабатывать. Учебные кони на ипподромах стоят тоже не слишком дорого.