Horse (animal) – Information, reproduction and characteristics

We explain everything about horses, how they reproduce, what they eat and other characteristics. Also, their habitat and how long they live.

Horses have been interpreted as a symbol of strength, purity and grace.

What are horses?

Horses they are a species of herbivorous quadruped mammal of the equine family, comprising many different breeds (around 400), depending on its geographical origin, and that it is among the first animals domesticated by humans.

Today’s horses (and mares, their females) are evolutionary descendants of a species of small herbivorous mammal that existed in the Eocene, around 55 million years ago, known as Eohippus.

The first proper ancestor of horses was the Hyracotherium, the first to increase its height to 115 cm and lose the toes of each leg, until it was left with only one, hardened, until it became the current hooves that horses present at the end of each leg.

At some point in the Pleistocene, around 15,000 years ago, horses spread from North America to the rest of Eurasia and Africa, and later became extinct in North America. It is because of that its long history with the human being begins around the year 3600 a. C. in the Kazakhstan region, when they were first domesticated and used as pack and transport animals.

Since then, the horse has been an integral part of human life. It has been used for agricultural, military and sporting purposes, and thanks to human beings it once again inhabited all the geographies of the planet. For example, the horse returned to America from the Spanish conquerors in the 15th century, after it became extinct in the region more than 10,000 years ago.

In culture, horses have been interpreted as symbols of strength, purity and grace, and can be found in political, mythological and artistic representations of all kinds, from national shields to religious stories.

Particularly famous are the centaurs of the Greco-Roman tradition, beings half man and half horse, and the famous flying horse, Pegasus. Another famous case is that of unicorns, European mythological beings that were horses with horns on their foreheads.

See also: Land animals

Horse characteristics

horse characteristics
When they sleep lying down, the horses seek to be in a group or near other animals.

In general, horses are characterized by the following:

  • They are quadruped mammals, whose size can vary significantly according to the species, ranging between 143 and 183 cm in height, and 500 to 1000 kg in weight.
  • Hundreds of horse breeds are known, some of natural origin and others created by man through selective breeding, but in general the breeds are classified into three types: heavy or draft horses, light or saddle horses, and ponies and miniature breeds.
  • They have thirty-six teeth adapted to cut grass and crush it: incisors and molars. In the middle there is an empty space in which one to four vestigial teeth (atrophied) are born, which are normally removed from the horse to introduce the bit or bit into the empty space.
  • The horse’s coat can vary in color and density significantly, encompassing a variety of whites, browns, reds, blacks, chestnuts, grays and browns, with or without spots. In addition, they have a mane of hair behind the head and on the nape, and a long, hairy tail at the end of the body.
  • They are very sociable animals with a varied temperament, traditionally described as cold-blooded (calm), warm-blooded (agile but calm), and warm-blooded (nervous).
  • They can sleep for short periods of time on their feet, but they reach deep sleep only lying down., which they do best in groups, since their instinct makes them always guard their guard in case a predator appears. This is why they are often made to sleep in groups or with pets, such as sheep.

Where do horses live?

horses where they live
Horses live domesticated in rural areas.

At present, horses are part of the domestic species that accompany humans in their populations, especially rural ones. Therefore, their habitat has become largely human-coupled. There are an estimated 75 million horses worldwide.

There are, however, populations of wild horses on different continents, gathered in herds of numerous specimens under the dominion of a stallion or alpha male, generally in prairies, pastures and bushes.

That horses eat?

horses feeding what they eat
An adult horse should eat around 7 to 11 kg of feed daily.

Horses are herbivorous animals, whose diet includes grasses, straw, hay, alfalfa and other vegetable fibers, although in captivity they receive a very controlled and industrialized diet.

They have a fairly simple stomach, compared to the human, but also a much longer and more complex intestine, so an adult horse weighing 450 kg should eat around 7 to 11 kg of feed daily, and consume between 38 and 45 liters of water. Unlike humans, horses cannot vomit.

How do horses reproduce?

horses reproduction
The pregnancy of horses lasts eleven months and a single calf is born at each birth.

Like all other mammals, horses reproduce sexually and viviparously. At four years of life, an average horse reaches sexual maturity and the young are known as foals (males) and fillies (females). The pregnancy of horses lasts eleven months and a single calf is born at each birth.

How long do horses live?

The average lifespan of horses ranges from 25 to 40 years. Although they can live a few more years in captivity, they can be ridden well into their 20s.