Horse

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The horse is a large ungulate mammal.

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(Public domain picture from U.S. Bureau of Land Management Larger image)


It is a hoofed quadruped of the Equidae family. The domestic horse (Equus caballus ) was domesticated in Egypt and Asia at a very early period. The only surviving wild horse is Przewalski's horse, a rare Asian species. Horses are closely related to zebras.

Ideally, the horse excels in strength, speed, docility, courage, and nobleness of character, and may be used for drawing, carrying, bearing a rider, and like purposes.

Many varieties, differing in form, size, color, gait, speed, etc., are known, but all are believed to have been derived from the same original species. That species is supposed to have been a native of the plains of Central Asia, but the wild species from which it was derived is not certainly known. The feral horses of America are domestic horses that have run wild; and it is probably true that most of those of Asia have a similar origin.

Several species of fossil (Equus) are known from the later Tertiary formations of Europe and America. The fossil species of other genera of the family Equidae are also often called horses, in a general sense.

Horses, like many other large mammals, became extinct in North America around 15,000 years ago; there is much debate over the causes of these extinctions.

Horses have six broad molars, on each side of each jaw, with six incisors, and two canine teeth, both above and below. The mares usually have the canine teeth rudimentary or wanting.

The horse differs from the donkey, in having a long, flowing mane, and the tail bushy to the base. Unlike the donkey it has callosities, or chestnuts, on all its legs.


Horses are used for the following organised activities:

Some cultures also use the horse as a source of milk and meat.

See Also:

Horse breeds, Horse tack