I would like to invite you all to join me in this exposition as we discover a wonderful world of horses. Horses have been in the lives of men since time immemorial. As such, there exists considerable knowledge on these dignified creatures. Unfortunately, most of this knowledge remains unexplored by the average person. It is therefore a great privilege for me to share what I have painstakingly gathered through research as well as through my own experience with these unique creatures. I am deeply convinced that the information I have to share with you will transform your perception and attitudes towards horses.
Understanding these creatures better will allow each one of us to appreciate them more and also to put more effort in making the world a better place even for the horses. Prepare your minds for a very exciting time of learning. Your eyes will be opened to a wonderful world, you will be inspired by the intelligence of the horses, stunned by their rich history and challenged by the fact that as human beings we are all charged with the responsibility of ensuring that our world remains friendly to these creatures.
I am going to inform you about the horses, their history, classification and above all their importance to man. The horses belong to the same family together with the Zebra and the Asses. This family is known as Equidae, which is from the Greek name Equid. Equids are known to be beautiful and graceful mammals, which are characterized with long slender legs, stocky well-built body and long but narrow heads. It is because of this, body structure that horses are members of the equids posses a swift and enduring speed enabling them to evade their predators.
Ladies and gentlemen, horses like other equids inhabit the desert and grasslands of Asia and Africa but they have been introduced to almost all areas in the world. Members of this family are threatened with extinction as a result of environmental degradation and destruction of their habitats. Either by fires or deforestation and few to none still remain in their natural habitats together with their members of equid family. These domesticated species descended from the wild horses.
Horses like all other equids posses a heavy coat of fur and feed primarily on grass (Holme. T. R. ). In addition, these animals have an excellent sense of touch and vision. You may think that it is only human beings who have the ability to communicate but believe you me even horses do communicate with each other using mouth gestures, ear movements, voice modifications (vocalization) as well as moving their tails. Horses and other members of the equid family posses’ hooves with odd number of toes and are thus referred to as odd-toed. Classification of Horses
Horses and their relatives of the equidae family are mammals and posses the basic characteristics possessed by all mammals like: mammary glands, hair/fur, diaphragm, three middle ear ossicles, heterodont-dentation, sweat, sebaceous and scent glands, a four chambered heart and a large cerebral cortex (Hyland,ann. 1990). In the taxonomic classification the horse to classified as follows: However today we are only dwelling on the first tape equus caballus (domesticated horse). Domesticated Horse The domesticated horses belong to the genus Equus Caballus.
Domestication can be defined as “the process by which humans take wild species and acclimatize them to breeding and surviving in captivity”. Domestication is different from taming since tamed animals are born in the wild whereas domesticated animals are bred in captivity. It is believed that the first domesticated horses were quite small in size and while under human captive they have interbred and crossbred to give birth to larger species of horses that we see today(Holmes. T. R). The domestication of horses is traced back to 30,000 BC when horses were put in Paleolithic care paintings.
This is belief is backed by the evidence from the mitochondrial DNA tests which shows that domestication of these horses were done in several areas in varied periods generally it is thought that central Africa was among the sites while Ukraine and Kazakhstan provides the archeological evidences. You may ask yourself what rules these domesticated horses played and I will answer that by stating that horses like all other domesticated animals then, served their owners in many ways which included: serving as source of food, source of labor as well as for companionship.
As I have earlier indicted these horses were quite smaller than those, which we have today and research shows that domestication has many effects to the animals. It is believed to result in physiologic and genetic changes in organisms over a period of time and this is many be the reason why the horses of today are huge and stock and it is believed that is due to their small size that they were not in horses riding then. To be specific these horses were used for pulling carriages, chariots, plows and carts.
Additionally horses played a very critical role in war fair by carrying soldiers and their weapons to the battlefield and back. Today, pleasure riding is the most common activity for horses’ owners around the world but others use their horses in showing, breeding, sugaring, and lugging hayrides and in pulling competitions. You can agree with me that in major cities and towns all over the world horse shows, riding and racing are major events, which attracts an extensive participation of horse owners and on lookers. Horse Breeds
Throughout the world there exist several horse breeds, which are ranked and owned by varied classes of people. These breeds include grade, quarter horse, Arabian and draft horses (Hyland, Ann, 1990). However the most famous and highly prestigious breed is the Morgan breed, which is believed to have originated in the west spring field Massachusetts. These breeds ladies and gentlemen are differentiated by not only their sizes but also their colors, and these colors can be either pure colors or mixed colors. The pure colors are brown, black-brown, reddish, light brown, yellowish-brown, DON, black and grayish.
The mixed colors on the other hand include light grey, part colored, stripped type as well as iron and white-face and variations in the horse hair and body hair (Holmes. T. R). Friends the horse is really unique, it has evolved from being a wild animal to a domesticated animal and it has gone past other earlier domesticated animals and is the most highly valued animals which are very expensive to own and manage and therefore owned by few individuals. It is indeed a unique animal and great to have learnt about it. I hope you are not the same now. Thank you.
References Holme. T. R Domestication of the Horse accessed online on 13/09/07.