(Equus ferus caballus
) is a hoofed (ungulate
, 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.
Skipper W was an American Quarter Horse and a famous breeding stallion. He was a 1945 sorrel stallion bred by H. J. Wiescamp of Alamosa, Colorado. Despite not being shown in many horse shows, he went on to become the senior stallion of his breeder's reproductive program. Although he sired only 132 offspring, the products of his breeder's program are still often known as "Skipper W" horses. He will be inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2011.
The Dole Gudbrandsdal
is a draft
- and harness
-type horse from Norway
. The Dole is originally from the Gudbrandsdal Valley
, and is probably descended in part from the Friesian horse
. Over time the breed has had Thoroughbred
and other blood added in, especially during the creation of the smaller harness type in the 19th century. Although originally used mainly as a pack horse
, today the heavier Dole type is used mainly for agricultural purposes. Both types have been crossed with other breeds to develop horses for harness racing