Horse Species in The Divided States | World Anvil
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"There are three reasons why humans have survived as long as they have. Their thumbs, their dogs, and their horses." Alex Daddario 

Basic Information

Genetics and Reproduction

Horses have 64 chromosomes. The horse genome was sequenced in 2007. It contains 2.7 billion DNA base pairs, which is larger than the dog genome, but smaller than the human genome or the bovine genome.

Gestation lasts approximately 340 days(11 months), with an average range 320–370 days, and usually results in one foal; twins are rare.[50] Horses are a precocial species, and foals are capable of standing and running within a short time following birth.[51] Foals are usually born in the spring. The estrous cycle of a mare occurs roughly every 19–22 days and occurs from early spring into autumn. Most mares enter an anestrus period during the winter and thus do not cycle in this period. Foals are generally weaned from their mothers between four and six months of age.

Growth Rate & Stages

Horses, particularly colts, sometimes are physically capable of reproduction at about 18 months, but domesticated horses are rarely allowed to breed before the age of three, especially females.[54] Horses four years old are considered mature, although the skeleton normally continues to develop until the age of six; maturation also depends on the horse's size, breed, sex, and quality of care. Larger horses have larger bones; therefore, not only do the bones take longer to form bone tissue, but the epiphyseal plates are larger and take longer to convert from cartilage to bone. These plates convert after the other parts of the bones and are crucial to development.   Depending on maturity, breed, and work expected, horses are usually put under saddle and trained to be ridden between the ages of two and four. Although Thoroughbred race horses are put on the track as young as the age of two in some countries, horses specifically bred for sports such as dressage are generally not put under saddle until they are three or four years old, because their bones and muscles are not solidly developed. For endurance riding competition, horses are not deemed mature enough to compete until they are a full 60 calendar months (5 years) old.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Horses are herbivores with a digestive system adapted to a forage diet of grasses and other plant material, consumed steadily throughout the day. Therefore, compared to humans, they have a relatively small stomach but very long intestines to facilitate a steady flow of nutrients. A 990 lb horse will eat 15 to 24 lbs of food per day and, under normal use, drink 10 to 12 US gal of water. Horses are not ruminants, they have only one stomach, like humans, but unlike humans, they can utilize cellulose, a major component of grass. Horses are hindgut fermenters. Cellulose fermentation by symbiotic bacteria occurs in the cecum, or "water gut", which food goes through before reaching the large intestine. Horses cannot vomit, so digestion problems can quickly cause colic, a leading cause of death.

Additional Information


Domestication of the horse most likely took place in central Asia prior to 3500 BC.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Horses are a very important species to the continued survival of Human. They are used for sports, work, warfare, entertainment, and companionship

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Horses' anatomy enables them to make use of speed to escape predators and they have a well-developed sense of balance and a strong fight-or-flight response. Related to this need to flee from predators in the wild is an unusual trait: horses are able to sleep both standing up and lying down.
Scientific Name
Equus ferus caballus
25 to 40 years
Average Height

The height of horses is usually measured at the highest point of the withers, where the neck meets the back. In English-speaking countries, the height of horses has often stated in units of hands and inches: one hand is equal to 4 inches.he height is expressed as the number of full hands, followed by a point, then the number of additional inches, and ending with the abbreviation "h" or "hh" (for "hands high"). Thus, a horse described as "15.2 h" is 15 hands plus 2 inches, for a total of 62 inches in height.

The size of horses varies by breed, but also is influenced by nutrition. Light riding horses usually range in height from 14 to 16 hands (56 to 64 inches) and can weigh from 840 to 1,210 lb. Larger riding horses usually start at about 15.2 hands (62 inches) and often are as tall as 17 hands (68 inches), weighing from 1,100 to 1,320 lb. Heavy or draft horses are usually at least 16 hands (64 inches) high and can be as tall as 18 hands (72 inches) high. They can weigh from about 1,540 to 2,200 lb.

Average Weight
  • Light riding horses can weigh from about 840 to 1,210 lb
  • Larger riding horses can weigh from about 1,100 to 1,320 lbs
  • Heavy or Draft horses can weigh from about 1,520 to 2,200 lb


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