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Horses

Horse and foal
The horse (Equus ferus caballus) is a hoofed (ungulate) mammal, a subspecies of one of seven extant species of the family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today. Humans began to domesticate horses around 4000 BC, and their domestication is believed to have been widespread by 3000 BC; by 2000 BC the use of domesticated horses had spread throughout the Eurasian continent. Although most horses today are domesticated, there are still populations of wild and feral horses. There are over 300 breeds of horses in the world today, developed for many different uses.

The 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 instinct. 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. Horses and humans interact in many ways, including a wide variety of sport competitions, non-competitive recreational pursuits and working activities. A wide variety of riding and driving techniques have been developed, using many different styles of equipment and methods of control. Many products are derived from horses, including meat, milk, hide, hair, bone, and pharmaceuticals extracted from the urine of pregnant mares.

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Easy Jet was an American Quarter Horse foaled, or born, in 1967, and was one of only two horses to have been a member of the American Quarter Horse Association (or AQHA) Hall of Fame as well as being an offspring of members. Easy Jet won the 1969 All American Futurity, the highest race for Quarter Horse racehorses, and was named World Champion Quarter Race Horse in the same year. He earned the highest speed rating awarded at the time—AAAT. After winning 27 of his 38 races in two years of racing, he retired from the track and became a breeding stallion.

As a sire, or father, he was the first All American Futurity winner to sire an All American Futurity winner, and went on to sire three winners of that race, and nine Champion Quarter Running Horses. Ultimately, his ownership and breeding rights were split into 60 shares worth $500,000 each—a total of $30 million. By 1993, the year after his death, his foals had earned more than $25 million on the racetrack.

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Humayun, Marwari Stallion of Virendra Kankariya.jpg
The Marwari or Malani is a breed of horse from India. It is known for its inward-turning ear tips, and comes in all colors, although pinto colors tend to be the most popular. It is a hardy breed, and quite similar to the Kathiawari, also from India. Many members of the breed exhibit a natural pacing gait. The Marwari are descended from native Indian ponies crossed with Arabian horses, possibly with some Mongolian influence.

The Rathores, traditional rulers of the Marwar region of India, were the first to breed the Marwari. Beginning in the 12th century, they espoused strict breeding that promoted the purity and hardiness of the breed. Used throughout history as a cavalry horse by the people of the Marwar region, the Marwari was noted for its loyalty and bravery in battle. The breed deteriorated in the 1930s, with breeding stock diminishing due to poor management practices, but today has regained some of its popularity. The Marwari is used for light draft and agricultural work, as well as riding and packing. In 1995, a breed society was formed for the Marwari in India, and in the 2000’s horses have begun to be exported to the United States and Europe.

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Muybridge race horse animated.gif
Credit: Waugsberg

An animated sequence of a horse galloping. The gallop is the fastest gait of the horse and in the wild is used when the animal needs to flee from predators or simply cover short distances quickly.

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