004 A New Dawn
Character Series: no character series
Group Series: Second Chronicles of Caer Norren, 4
Author: Adriana Pausenwein
No character pictures for this story. Yet.
The horse (Equus ferus caballus) is a , , . It belongs to the taxonomic family and is one of two of . The horse has over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature, , into the large, single-toed animal of today. Humans began domesticating horses around 4000 BC, and their is believed to have been widespread by 3000 BC. Horses in the subspecies caballus are domesticated, although some domesticated populations live in the wild as . These feral populations are not true , as this term is used to describe horses that have never been domesticated. There is an extensive, specialized vocabulary used to describe equine-related concepts, covering everything from to life stages, size, , , , , and behavior.
Horses are , allowing them to quickly escape predators, possessing an excellent and a strong . 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, with younger horses tending to sleep significantly more than adults. Female horses, called , carry their young for approximately 11 months, and a young horse, called a , can stand and run shortly following birth. Most domesticated horses begin training under a or in a between the ages of two and four. They reach full adult development by age five, and have an average lifespan of between 25 and 30 years.
Horse breeds are loosely divided into three categories based on general temperament: spirited "hot bloods" with speed and endurance; "cold bloods", such as and some , suitable for slow, heavy work; and "", developed from crosses between hot bloods and cold bloods, often focusing on creating breeds for specific riding purposes, particularly in Europe. There are more than 300 breeds of horse in the world today, developed for many different uses.
Horses and humans interact in a wide variety of sport competitions and non-competitive recreational pursuits, as well as in working activities such as , , entertainment, and . Horses were historically used in warfare, from which a wide variety of and techniques developed, using many different styles of 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. Humans provide domesticated horses with food, water, and shelter, as well as attention from specialists such as and .
Points of a horse
Specific terms and specialized language are used to describe , different life stages, and colors and breeds.
Lifespan and life stages
Depending on breed, and environment, the modern domestic horse has a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years. Uncommonly, a few animals live into their 40s and, occasionally, beyond. The oldest verifiable record was "", a 19th-century horse that lived to the age of 62. In modern times, Sugar Puff, who had been listed in as the world’s oldest living pony, died in 2007 at age 56.
Regardless of a horse or pony’s actual birth date, for most competition purposes a year is added to its age each January 1 of each year in the Northern Hemisphere and each August 1 in the Southern Hemisphere. The exception is in , where the minimum age to compete is based on the animal’s actual calendar age.
The following terminology is used to describe horses of various ages:
A horse of either sex less than one year old. A nursing foal is sometimes called a suckling, and a foal that has been weaned is called a weanling. Most domesticated foals are weaned at five to seven months of age, although foals can be weaned at four months with no adverse physical effects.
A horse of either sex that is between one and two years old.
A male horse under the age of four. A common terminology error is to call any young horse a "colt", when the term actually only refers to young male horses.
A female horse under the age of four.
A female horse four years old and older.
A non-castrated male horse four years old and older. The term "horse" is sometimes used colloquially to refer specifically to a stallion.
A male horse of any age.
In , these definitions may differ: For example, in the British Isles, horse racing defines colts and fillies as less than five years old. However, Australian Thoroughbred racing defines colts and fillies as less than four years old.