10 Characteristics of HORSES

1 year ago

Horses they share many of the same physiological characteristics of people and domestic pets, since they have a circulatory system, a respiratory system, a nervous system, etc. However, they also have many unique characteristics that differ from those of people and other companion animals. For example, horses have evolved a large strong band of connective tissue, called the nuchal ligament, to provide support for their relatively long and muscular neck. Let's see the main characteristics of horses

horse characteristics

Main characteristics of the horses



  1. temperature regulation: Horses generate considerable heat during exercise. They lose heat mainly through evaporative cooling (usually by sweating), just like people. However, because sweat does not easily evaporate during hot and humid weather, evaporative cooling becomes ineffective in these conditions. During the hot, sticky days of summer, exercise should be limited to avoid heat stress. Heat stress and continued exercise can lead to dehydration and eventually shock. Adequate water, a proper diet (including vitamins and minerals), and limits on exercise are needed to avoid heat stress. Horses are large, bulky animals that are good at conserving heat during periods of colder weather. Despite everything, they still need adequate housing, diet, water and routine veterinary medical care to avoid winter problems.
  2. Vision: The primary sensory input in horses is sight. The importance of vision is reflected in the size of the equine eye, which is the largest of any land mammal, and by the fact that the visual cortex of the equine brain handles one-third of all sensory information. Horses' eyes are positioned on the side of the head, rather than looking straight ahead as in people, dogs, and cats. This gives them extraordinary peripheral vision, which is useful for animals (for example, rabbits and most birds) that must constantly keep an eye out for predators. Horses can generally see more than a 340° arc without moving their heads, with only small blind spots directly behind and in front of them. These blind spots are caused by the horse's body (behind) and the large forehead and muzzle (in front) obstructing the horse's vision. Horses move slightly to the side to see things behind them, and step back and lower their heads to look directly ahead.
  3. Hearing: Horses have big ears which are good for increasing sound and observing your direction. Each ear can independently rotate up to 180°, allowing horses to locate multiple sounds at the same time. The ears also provide clues to a horse's emotional state. For example, a horse with its ears flat may be indicating aggression, pain, or fear (such as in response to a loud or unfamiliar noise). In general, horses hear slightly better than people and are able to hear sounds at higher and lower frequencies. Horses are good at hearing the high-pitched squeaks or crackles associated with a predator's sneaky approach. Horses experience age-related hearing loss, which means that older animals may not hear their focus as well as they did when they were younger. Gouging can be avoided by making sure your horse can see you or knows you are approaching. Hearing loss can also be caused by an ear infection, mite or tick infestation, so have your vet check your horse's ears regularly.
  4. Smell and flavors: In addition to providing information about the world in general, the sense of smell is the main way that horses recognize each other and people. For example, horses exchange breath upon meeting and stallions assess a mare's sexual state through scent. The equine nose has a large internal surface that contains many chemical receptors within the mucous membrane. The surface area dedicated to scent detection is hundreds of times greater than in people, again highlighting the importance of the equine sense of smell.
  5. Paws: The Equine Paw is designed for rapid movement over a variety of surfaces. The upper part of the leg is very muscular, while the lower part acts as a springboard to improve the stride. The leg is supported by a suspensory apparatus of tendons and ligaments. Tendons, which can be felt along the back of the leg, run the length of the limb, while the many joints are held together and protected by ligaments and joint capsules. Horses also have a unique anatomical feature called the suspension apparatus, which allows them to "rest" one hind leg while standing on the other 3 for extended periods. That is why horses can sleep standing up. Horses walk and run on their hooves. The cannon and splint bones are found in the lower leg, while the pastern bones are found between the fetlock and hoof. The long, thin and flexible equine leg is excellent for its purpose, but it is also delicate and easily damaged. The enormous amount of weight balanced on the hooves and lower extremities makes these areas especially subject to injury.


  6. The helmet: The hoof is made up of a wall of horny keratin (a protein) that grows from a band called a coronet at the top of the hoof. This process is similar to the way our nails grow from the cuticle. The sole of the equine foot is concave, with an elastic wedge of tissue called a frog protruding from the heel. Inside the helmet is the coffin bone (which is shaped like the helmet) and additional stretchy fabric. The sole and the frog protect the bottom of the foot, while the elastic fabrics cushion each step like a spring.
  7. Skin and hair: Equine skin is similar to canine and feline skin, although it is not as sensitive. The main functions of the fur coat are to protect the skin and help regulate temperature. The coat changes with the seasons, with the coat being longer and thicker in the winter than in the summer. Like dogs and cats, horses can fluff up their hair (using tiny muscles attached to hair follicles) to increase the amount of air trapped in the insulation. The skin also produces additional oil (sebum) during the winter, adding insulation. Proper nutrition, daily cleaning and brushing with a curry comb, and the occasional bath are usually all that is needed to keep the skin and hair clean and healthy.
  8. teeth and mouth: Unlike cats and dogs, horses are herbivores designed to eat grains and grasses. The incisor teeth at the front of the mouth grasp and cut grass, while the rear molars and premolars are designed for grinding. Equine teeth grow continuously throughout life: as the crowns are ground down, new jaw replacement material emerges. Horses have 24 deciduous (baby or milk) teeth; these are replaced by 40 to 42 permanent (adult) teeth that erupt between the ages of 6 months and 5 years (see Table: Equine Dentition). All male horses and some females have small canine teeth between the incisors and premolars. Horses can also have up to 4 wolf teeth, which are vestigial, non-functional premolars. Wolf teeth are typically removed when the annals are broken in late fall or at the beginning of their second year of age.
  9. digestive and urinary system: People, dogs, and cats have simple stomachs that are good at breaking down meat, fruits, and vegetables. Most grass-eating animals (including cows and sheep) have a more complex system consisting of several stomachs, including a large fermentation vat called the rumen. Grasses (such as hay) in the rumen are digested by billions of bacteria that break down the forage into volatile fatty acids. These fatty acids are absorbed for energy further down the digestive tract. The equine digestive system combines features of the simple digestive system and the multiple stomach. In it urinary system Equine kidneys are very efficient, constantly filtering waste from the 10 gallons of blood within the horse's body. Very few horses ever develop kidney problems. Most cases go undetected until the later stages, when the signs appear when waste products accumulate in the blood. These signs are caused by the body's attempt to maximize the amount of kidney function remaining.
  10. Respiratory system: The respiratory system of horses is very similar to that of dogs, cats and people, although it is much larger. Horses are tremendous athletes and need a great deal of oxygen to perform their functions. Performance suffers markedly when a horse's respiratory system is compromised, so respiratory problems in horses are generally more quickly noticed than in cats and dogs.




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ENCICLOPEDIA DE CARACTERÍSTICAS (2024) 10 Characteristics of HORSES, en 10caracteristicas.com. https://10caracteristicas.com/en/10-characteristics-of-horses/ (Consultado el: 22-06-2024)

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