Le Cheval : un Animal Sauvage et Domestique !

Cheval -

The Horse: a Wild and Domestic Animal!

of reading - words

The horse , a herbivorous 🌿 hoofed mammal from the equine family. It comprises a single species , Equus caballus , the many varieties of which are called races .

Before the advent of mechanized vehicles, the horse was widely used as a draft animal , and riding was one of the primary means of transportation. Today, it's a discipline in its own right and for some it's even a pet 🐈. But currently, nothing is yet classified!

1) The Horse in 10 Seconds Top Chrono

  • COMMON NAME: Horse
  • SCIENTIFIC NAME: Equus ferus caballus
  • DIET: Herbivore
  • SIZE: Shoulder height: 80 cm to 1m75 📏
  • WEIGHT: 55 to 1000 kg

Horse Plush - Product

2) The Horse and the Humans

A- The first contact with Man

In prehistoric times 🦖 the wild horse was probably first hunted for food. Research suggests that the first domestication took place around 5,500 years ago. It is assumed that the horse was first used by a tribe of Indo-European origin who lived in the steppes north of the mountain range adjacent to the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea 🏝. Influenced by climate, food and people, the horse quickly acquired its current form.

Horse Cave of Lascaux

Horses and humans therefore have an ancient relationship 🔗 . Then it is assumed that Asian nomads domesticated horses about 4,000 years ago . Animals thus remained essential to many human societies until the advent of the engine. Horses still hold a place of honor in many cultures, often linked to heroic exploits in war.

B- The relationship between Men and Horses

The relationship between horses and humans is unique . The horse is a partner and a friend. He plowed fields and brought in the harvest, transported goods and carried passengers, tracked game and tracked livestock, transported fighters to war and adventurers to unknown lands 🏞.

Horse by the Sea on a Cliff in Spain

It also provided recreation in the form of jousting, tournaments, rides and equestrian sport 🏇🏼. The influence of the horse is expressed in the French language in terms of chivalry and rider, which evoke honor , respect , good manners and frankness.

Mounted horses are majestic animals that have long been used for transportation and work. Today, they are most appreciated for their use in equestrian sport and recreational riding . Riders ride on the backs of horses and use subtle communication techniques to direct them. This interaction between rider and horse creates a unique relationship and can be very rewarding for both parties. Riding a horse is also a beneficial physical activity for the rider, which can strengthen their muscles, improve their coordination and increase their endurance.

C- Wild and domesticated

There is only one species of domestic horse , but around 400 different breeds that specialize in everything from pulling wagons to racing. All horses are grazers .

Domestic Wild Horse in the United States

While most horses are domestic , others remain wild . Wild horses are descendants of once-domesticated animals that ran free for generations. Groups of these horses are found in many places around the world. Free-ranging North American mustangs , for example, are descendants of horses brought over by Europeans more than 400 years ago.

3) Wild Horses

A- Group organization

Wild horses generally congregate in groups of 3 to 20 animals. A stallion (adult male) leads the group, which consists of mares (females) and young foals . When the young males become colts, around the age of two, the stallion hunts them. The foals then roam with other young males until they can gather their own group of females.

Group of Wild Horses in Mongolia

B- Przewalski's horse

The Przewalski horse is the only truly wild horse whose ancestors were never domesticated. Ironically, this stocky and robust animal only exists today in captivity 🧐 . Przewalski's last wild horse was seen in Mongolia in 1968.

Przewalski's horse

4) Horse Breeds

The first intensively domesticated horses were developed in Central Asia. They were small, light and stocky. Over time, two large groups of horses appeared: the southern Arabian types (from the Barbary Coast) and the northern types , called cold-blooded ❄. When, where, and how these horses appeared are controversial.4

Nevertheless, all modern breeds, the light, fast and spirited breeds characterized by the modern Arabian , the heavier, slower and calmer working breeds characterized by the Belgian , and the intermediate breeds characterized by the Thoroughbred ; can be classified according to their origin (e.g. Percheron, Clydesdale and Arabian), according to the horse's main use (saddle horse, draft horse, carriage horse), and according to their external appearance and size (light, heavy, pony).

Myth of the Purebred Arabian

5) Form and Function

A mature male horse is called a stallion , the female a mare . A castrated stallion is commonly called a “ gelding ”. In the past, stallions were used as riding horses, while mares were kept solely for breeding purposes.

Geldings were used for work and as riding horses for ladies 👸 . However, geldings generally replaced stallions as riding horses. Young horses are known as foals ; Male foals are called foals ♂️ and female foals are called fillies ♀️ .

Mare with her Foal

6) Colors and Patterns

A- Color

From the primitive wolf horse came a variety of colors and patterns, some of which are very variable and difficult to distinguish. Among the most important colors are black , bay , chestnut (and sorrel), palomino , cream and white ⚪ .

The Horse's Dresses

The black color is true black, although there may be a white mark on the face and white ankles. The brown horse is almost black but has lighter areas around the muzzle, eyes 👀 and legs. Bay refers to several shades of brown, ranging from red-brown and tawny to sable. Bay horses have black manes, tails and (usually) stockings.

There is a dilution (or lightening) gene, called silver 🥈 or silver dapple, which mainly influences the dark colors of the coat. Chestnut is similar to bay but without any of the black undertones of bay. Lighter shades of chestnut are called sorrel .

Black Horse and White Horse in the Snow

The palomino horse ranges from cream to bronze 🥉, with a flaxen or silver mane and tail. Wolf is a diluted sorrel, or very pale yellow, almost white. The white of horses varies, from aging grays to albinos with blue eyes and pink skin, to pseudoalbinos with buff manes or brown eyes.

B- Reasons

The main white horse patterns are gray , roan , pinto , sabino , and appaloosa . Gray horses are born dark brown or black and develop white hair as they age, becoming almost all white in old age. Roan refers to white mixed with other colors at birth: blue roan is white mixed with black; red roan is white mixed with laurel 🍃 ; and strawberry roan 🍓 is white and chestnut.

Horse Patterns

The pinto is almost all spotted with white patterns and another color; other names, such as paint, calico, pie, skewbald, overo and tobiano, refer to subtle distinctions in color or pattern type. The appaloosa (leopard complex) is another extremely variable pattern, but the term generally refers to a large white patch on the hips and back, with scattered, irregular dark spots.

7) Art, Horse and Time

The horse has occupied a special place in the field of art 🎴. From the drawings of the Stone Age to the wonder of the Parthenon frieze, from the funerary sculptures of the Chinese Tang dynasty to the sketches of Leonardo da Vinci and from the Koran to modern literature, the horse has inspired artists of all ages and from all parts of the world 🌍 .

Horse on the Parthenon

8) Between Mythology and Superstitions

A- Mythology and History

Greek mythology created the Centaur , the most obvious symbol of the unity of horse and rider. White stallions were the supreme sacrifice to the gods, and the Greek general Xenophon noted that "the gods 👼 and heroes 🦸‍♂️ are depicted on well-trained horses". A beautiful, well-trained horse was therefore a status symbol in ancient Greece. Kings 👑, generals and statesmen had to be horsemen.

The names of famous horses are inseparably linked to those of their famous riders: Bucephalus , the charger of Alexander the Great; Incitatus , whom the Roman emperor Caligula is said to have made a senator (see Researcher's Note); El Morzillo , Hernán Cortés' favorite horse, to which the Indians erected a statue; Roan Barbery , Richard II's stallion, mentioned by Shakespeare; Copenhagen , the Duke of Wellington's horse, who was buried with military honours.


The Romans associated horses with Mars , the god of the fury of war. Horses were also seen pulling the chariot of Helios, the sun god. In Celtic mythology , horses brought luck and were the harbinger of good fortune 💸. The white horse, was sacred to the Celts, and strongly associated with Rhiannon and Epona, who sometimes took the form of a white horse.

In popular wisdom , if several horses are seen together, it means a storm is brewing. However, this is not just a superstition, as horses often group together to protect themselves from approaching storms .

Horses in Hikes on a Mountain

The horse also represents power in Native American tribes 🎯. Native American tribes that owned horses often won more battles than those that did not. They also had more territory. The number of horses a tribe had was indicative of its wealth 🏆. Within these and other cultures, the horse is often an emblem of war.

Native American horses

B- Superstition

The horse is "man's proudest conquest" , according to the French zoologist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Count of Buffon . His place was alongside his master in the tombs of the Scythian kings or in the tombs of the pharaohs 👩‍🌾 . Many ancient human cultures centered around horse ownership . Superstitions read the meaning of the horse's colors, and a horse's head hung near a grave or shrine or on the gables of a house bestowed supernatural powers on the place.

9) Nutrition

The horse's natural food is grass . For stable horses, the diet generally consists of hay and cereals 🌾 . The animal should not be fed immediately before or after work, to avoid digestive problems. Fresh water 💧 is important, especially when the horse loses its winter coat. But the animal should never be watered when it is overheated after work.

Horse Nutrition

Oats have the greatest nutritional value and are given especially to foals. Older horses, whose teeth are worn or who have digestive problems, can be given crushed oats . Chaff (chopped straw) can be added to the oat ration of animals that eat greedily or do not chew the grain properly. Cracked barley is sometimes partly substituted for oats. Hay constitutes the bulk of the horse's ration and can vary in composition depending on the region. Corn 🌽 is used as a fattening grain, but it makes the horse sweat easily.

The horse needs salt at all times and especially at the time of moulting. Bread 🥖 , carrots 🥕 and sugar 🍬 are treats often used by the rider or trainer to reward an animal. In times of poverty, horses have adapted to all kinds of foods - potatoes 🥔, beans, green leaves and even fish in Iceland. But these foods are usually not eaten if other foods are available. Horses Grazing Grass

A number of commercial feed mixes are available to modern breeders and owners; These mixes contain minerals, vitamins and other nutrients and are designed to provide a balanced diet 🥗 when supplemented with hay .

10) Reproduction and Development

A- Reproduction

The onset of adult sex characteristics usually begins at 16 to 18 months of age. The horse is considered mature, depending on the breed, at around three years old and adult at five years old 🎉 . Fertility varies according to breed and can last beyond 20 years in thoroughbreds and up to 12 or 15 years in other horses. The gestation period is 11 months. 280 days is the minimum during which the foal can be born with the hope of living. Typically one mare produces one foal per mating, twins occasionally and triplets rarely. The foal is weaned at six months 🍼.

Horse and Foal

B- Lifespan

The lifespan of a horse varies depending on the amount of work it has to do and the maintenance provided by its owner. A horse that is trained carefully and slowly, and given the time necessary for its development, can serve to a later age than a horse whose training is rushed. Race horses 🏁 who start racing at the age of two rarely stay in the field beyond the age of eight. Well-groomed racehorses, on the contrary, can be used for more than 20 years.

The lifespan of a horse is calculated at six or seven times the time necessary for its physical and mental development, i.e. 30 to 35 years maximum . The rule is around 20 to 25 years old . Ponies generally live longer than large horses. There are a number of examples of horses that have passed the usual age limit. The Veterinary University of Vienna preserves the skeleton of a 44-year-old Thoroughbred mare. There have been reports of horses living into their early 60s 🎂.

Old Horse

11) Anatomy

The general shape of the horse is characteristic of a speed animal : the long leg bones pivot on pulley-shaped joints that limit forward and backward movement. The limbs are connected to muscular masses in such a way as to use energy most efficiently, and the compact body is permanently supported on the tips of the toes, which allows a more complete extension of the limbs when running.

The rounded 💀 skull houses a large and complex brain, well developed in the areas that direct muscle coordination. Although the horse is intelligent among subhuman animals, it is safe to say that the horse is more concerned with the functioning of its acute sensory reception and musculature than with mental processes .

Trained Horse

Although much has been written about "trained" horses 🎓 that appear to have an ability to spell and count, it is generally accepted that in such cases a very perceptive animal responds to its master's signals. But this ability is quite remarkable in itself, because the signals are often given unconsciously by the human trainer, and detecting such subtle signals requires extremely fine perception.

The horse, like other grazing herbivores, has typical adaptations for eating plants : a set of strong, high-crowned teeth, adapted to grinding grass and other tough vegetation, and a relatively long, the greater part of which consists of intestines responsible for digesting the cellulosic matter of the vegetation.

Young horses have deciduous teeth (or baby teeth), which they begin to lose around the age of two and a half. Permanent teeth , numbering 36 to 40 , are fully developed by the age of four to five. In the stallion, these teeth are arranged as follows on the upper and lower jaws: 12 incisors which cut and pull on grass; 4 canines, vestiges without function in the modern horse and which are generally not found in mares; 12 premolars and 12 molars, tall prisms that continue to grow out of the jaw to replace surfaces worn by grinding food.

Horse Digestive Tube

As part of domestication, the horse diversified into three main types, depending on its size and constitution: draft horses 🚜 , with heavy limbs and can reach 20 hands (200 cm) high; ponies , by convention horses under 14.2 hands (about 147 cm) tall; and light horses (saddle or riding horses) which are in the middle size range. Domestic horses tend to be nearsighted, less hardy than their ancestors, and often very high-strung, especially thoroughbreds.

12) Adaptations

The primitive horse probably stood 12 hands (about 120 cm) high at the withers, the highest point of the back at the base of the neck, and was brownish in color (typically dark gray). Domestic horses that have reverted to the wild, like the mustangs of western North America, tend to revert to these primitive characteristics 🦕 during random mating: they are usually a little larger (about 15 hands [152.4 cm]), are generally gray or brownish in color. They move in particular in herds led by a stallion.

Horse Plush Collection

To conclude, equestrian tourism allows you to discover the wonders of nature in a different way. Equestrian centers, stables and stud farms offer numerous equestrian activities for beginners or experienced riders. Horseback riding, horseback riding, pony riding and multi-day horseback riding allow you to practice horse riding in the great outdoors in complete safety. Pony clubs offer riding lessons, dressage, jumping and riding courses for all equestrian levels. Western riding enthusiasts can also practice this discipline. The French Equestrian Federation (FFE) offers diplomas for qualified instructors and teachers.

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