Information about: Horse

Index | Horse

Note: Information is dated. Do not rely on it.

Horse. A one-toed ungulate mammal of the family Equidae. The horse proper is characterized by the tail being furnished with long hairs from its base; by the long and flowing mane; by the possession of a bare callosity on the inner surface of the hind as well as of the fore legs; and by the head and ears being smaller and the limbs longer than in the ass and other species related to the horse. The native country of the horse seems to have been central Asia. It became early domesticated in Egypt. It is mentioned throughout the Bible. The people of Thessaly were excellent equestrians, and probably first among the Greeks who broke horses in for service in war, whence probably arose the: fable that Thessaly was originally inhabited by centaurs. "Solomon had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots, and 12,000 horsemen," 1014 B.C. The Greeks and Romans had some covering to secure their horses' hoofs from injury. In the ninth century horses were shod only in time of frost. Shoeing was introduced into England by William I. in 1066. It is believed that the original breed of horses is extinct, and that the half-wild herds existing in many places have descended from animals once in captivity. Thus when the horse was first introduced bv the Spaniards in 1537, at Buenos Ayres, there were no wild horses in America. But individuals escaping ran wild, and by 1580 their descendants had spread over the continent as far as the straits of Magellan. Their favorite abode is on the Pampas, where they now exist in untold numbers. There was found in La Plata a new extinct species of horse. More Equidae have been found in the new than in the old world. The horse may have descended from a striped ancestor, stripes still sometimes remaining; especially in duns and mouse-duns. His present colors are brown, gray, or black, sometimes with roundish pale spots. His age is ascertained by examining first which teeth are developed, and then to what extent they have been worn away by use. They are best tamed by kindness. Like other domestic animals the horse has run into various breeds. The most celebrated is the Arab horse. Great attention is given in America to the breeding of horses, and American horses have won races both in England and on the Continent. The fear that the horse would go out of fashion on account of bicycles and automobiles seems unfounded. A similar fear was expressed when the railway took the place of the stagecoach.