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The horse evolved over 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today. Humans first domesticated them between 4000 and 3000 BCE. They are remarkably fast and well-balanced animals which helps them to escape predators in the wild.
See the fact file below for more information on Horses or alternatively download our comprehensive worksheet pack to utilize within the classroom or home environment.
Facts About The Horse
- The horse belongs to the Equidae family.
- It is an odd-toed, hoofed, mammal.
- Humans began domesticating horses around 4000 BCE.
- Horses that have never been domesticated are referred to as feral or wild horses.
- 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 ponies, are suitable for slow, heavy work.
- “Warmbloods”, developed from crosses between hot bloods and cold bloods, often focusing on creating breeds for specific purposes.
- There are more than 300 breeds of horses in the world today, developed for many different uses.
- Horses are able to sleep both standing up and lying down.
- Horses can’t breathe through their mouths? They can only breathe through their nostrils.
- Foal: a horse of either sex less than one-year-old.
- Yearling: a horse of either sex that is between one and two years old.
- Colt: a male horse under the age of four.
- Filly: a female horse under the age of four.
- Mare: a female horse four years old and older.
- Stallion: a non-castrated male horse four years old and older.
- Gelding: a castrated male horse of any age.
- All horses move naturally with four basic gaits;
- the four-beat walk, which averages 6.4 kilometers per hour (4.0 mph);
- the two-beat jog or trot at 13 to 19 kilometers per hour (8.1 to 11.8 mph)
- the canter, a three-beat gait that is 19 to 24 kilometers per hour (12 to 15 mph);
- the gallop, which averages 40 to 48 kilometers per hour (25 to 30 mph).
- The world record for a horse galloping over a short sprint distance is 70.76 kilometers per hour (43.97 mph).
Size and measurement
- The average horse stands around five feet tall and weighs 800-1200 pounds.
- The height of horses is measured at the highest point, where the neck meets the back.
- This point is used because it is a stable point of the anatomy, unlike the head or neck, which move up and down in relation to the body of the horse.
- In English-speaking countries, the height of horses is usually stated in units of hands and inches.
- One hand is equal to 4 inches (101.6 mm).
- The height is stated as the number of full hands, followed by a point, then the number of additional inches, e.g. “15.2 h” is 15 hands plus 2 inches, for a total of 62 inches (157.5 cm).
- The largest horse in recorded history was a Shire horse named Mammoth who was 21.2 h.
- The record holder for the smallest horse is held by a miniature horse called Thumbelina who was just 17 in (43 cm) tall.
Is a Pony a Horse?
- Ponies are the same animals as horses.
- The main difference between a pony and a horse is height.
- A horse is usually considered to be an equine that’s at least 14.2 hands (or about four feet ten inches) tall.
- A pony is an equine with less than 14.2 hands.
- Also, ponies have thicker manes, tails, and overall coats.
- They also have proportionally shorter legs, wider barrels, heavier bones, shorter and thicker necks, and short heads with broad foreheads.
- Ponies appear to have calmer temperaments than horses.
- They also have a high level of intelligence.
- Horses four years old are considered mature.
- Domesticated horses are rarely allowed to breed before the age of three, especially females.
- Gestation lasts approximately 340 days and usually results in one foal.
- Foals are usually born in the spring.
- Foals are capable of standing and running within a short time following birth.
- Foals are generally weaned from their mothers between four and six months of age.
- Depending on maturity, breed, and work expected of them, horses are usually put under saddle and trained to be ridden between the ages of two and four.
Diet and Care
- Horses are herbivores.
- They are grazers and their digestive system is adapted to a diet of grasses and other plant material consumed steadily throughout the day.
- A 450-kilogram (990 lb) horse will eat 7 to 11 kilograms (15 to 24 lb) of food per day.
- Horses require a plentiful supply of clean water and drink 38 to 45 liters (8.4 to 9.9 imp gal; 10 to 12 US gal) of water each day.
- Often concentrated feed such as grain is fed in addition to pasture or hay, especially when the animal is very active.
- Horses need regular daily exercise.
- They also require routine hoof care and vaccinations to protect against various diseases.
- Regular grooming helps maintain a good coat and skin.
- Horses’ hooves, like our finger and toenails, grow continuously and need to be trimmed.
- The person who cares for a horse’s feet is called a farrier, or blacksmith.
- Horses have the largest eyes of any land mammal.
- They are lateral-eyed, meaning that their eyes are positioned on the sides of their heads.
- This means that horses have a range of vision of more than 350°.
- Their sense of smell is better than humans, but not quite as good as that of a dog.
- A horse’s hearing is also very good.
- The pinna of each ear can rotate up to 180°, giving the potential for 360° hearing without having to move the head.
- A horse’s sense of touch is well-developed with the most sensitive areas being around the eyes, ears, and nose.
- Horses are able to sense contact as subtle as an insect landing anywhere on the body.
- Horses also have an advanced sense of taste, which allows them to sort through fodder and choose what they would most like to eat.
- Horses and humans interact in a wide variety of sports competitions, polo is an example.
- They are also used for recreational pursuits like horse riding for pleasure.
- Horses have working activities such as police work.
- They are also used for therapy and entertainment.
- Historically horses were used in warfare.
- Many products are derived from horses, including meat, milk, hide, hair and bone.
- Horsehide leather has been used for boots, gloves, baseballs, and jackets.
- Horse hooves can also be used to produce glue.
- Humans provide domesticated horses with food, water, and shelter.
- Horses can communicate how they are feeling by their facial expressions. They use their ears, nostrils, and eyes to show their moods. Beware of a horse that has flared nostrils and its ears back as that means it might attack.
- In ancient history, the Ancient Greeks believed in a divine winged horse called Pegasus. Greek mythical creature was all-white in color.
- A unicorn is a mythical creature that is usually depicted as a majestic white horse with a single horn protruding from its head. Many legends say it has healing powers. It is also believed to symbolize purity and innocence.
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use Horse Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about one of man’s oldest animal friend, the horse. Horses are said to have good memory and are able to communicate through their facial expression. These worksheets will help students understand more about them and their significance to people.
Download includes the following worksheets
- HORSE FACTS
- Proper Names
- Quick Quiz
- PREHISTORIC HORSES
- Horse Acrostic
- Best of the Best
- HUMAN AND HORSES
- Modern Horse
- Horse Basic Care
- THE TRUE WILD HORSE
- Color Me
- Horsing Around
- HORSES IN THE SKIES
- Connecting the Stars
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best horse for a child?
There are several horses and pony breeds suitable for children. Ponies are usually preferred due to their size.
How much does a horse cost?
To buy a horse, you can expect to pay between $100 – $10,000, depending on the breed and pedigree. Racehorses can sell for millions of dollars, such as retired thoroughbred Frankel, who was once valued at $100 million.
Why are horses so popular?
It is said that horses are magnificent, mystical, and beautiful creatures. Their poise, grace, and demeanor make them loveable.
Are horses smart?
Some researchers estimate a horse has the intelligence of a three-year-old child. Most horses can learn commands and even recognize themselves in a mirror, a hallmark of consciousness and intelligence.
Can you eat horse meat?
Horse meat is eaten in many parts of the world such as France, Switzerland, and Mongolia.
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Link will appear as Horse Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, August 28, 2017
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.