How To Study Living Animals

The Horse

The pupil is expected to study carefully the account of Eohippus or Hyracotherium in his text or any other available reference book, and to supplement that work and this brief sketch with original observations upon horses on the street, at a local store, or wherever possible or convenient.

From the early horses which migrated from North America there arose in Asia and Africa the ass, famous in the history of early civilization and still used in some localities as beasts of burden or for the breeding of mules, which are the crosses between ass and horse. There also arose the zebra and the most primitive of modern horses, Przewalskii’s horse, a wild pony of western China, about forty inches high and almost identical with the drawings of the horse made by early man, 30,000 years ago. Doubtless the modern ponies of Ireland, Iceland, and Shetland are descendants of the original Przewalskii type and not, as is often claimed, true horses stunted by rigors of climate and scant fare herunterladen.

The horse is characterized largely by the presence of a lock of hair between the ears, a full mane and tail, small ears, large hoofs, and peculiar neigh. The ass has no forelock, a scanty mane and tail, long ears, small hoofs, and a distinct bray.

By means of various crusades and raids, the modern horse was introduced into Europe from Asia, where it is clearly traced in history to the reign of King Solomon. Here, in Europe, because of local conditions and demands, it assumed differing type forms. The roadster type is closest to the Arabian in character. The draft or heavy type was bred in western Europe when heavy armor came into use for rider and horse, and the coach or carriage type was developed when armor was abandoned for gunpowder. Finally explorers and colonists brought the horse back to America, its original home.

The various types and varieties may be briefly described herunterladen.

A. The draft type has short legs, short neck, large round body, and ranges in weight from 1400 pounds to 2000 pounds.


1. Percheron: generally about 1700 pounds in weight, 16 hands (64 inches) high, gray or black, blocky body, steep rump, clean legs, and quick action.

2. Shire: generally about 1800 pounds in weight, 17 hands high, bay or brown, white marked feet and face, hairy legs and feet, and slow action.

3. Belgian: generally about 1800 pounds in weight, 16 hands high, chestnut or roan in color, compact body, short, steep rump, and small feet microsoft office kostenlos downloaden vollversion deutsch chip.

B. The coach or carriage type has legs and neck of medium length, a body full-chested but not blocky, and a weight varying from 1150 pounds to 1400 pounds.


1. Hackney: generally of full, broad, powerful body, short legs and back, high action and high carriage of neck and head, bay or chestnut in color, 15 hands high, and 1400 pounds in weight.

2. Coach: generally lighter than the Hackney, with longer legs and long stride; height, 16 hands; weight, 1300 pounds.

3. Cleveland bay: averaging 16½ hands in height, 1350 pounds in weight, high, broad hips, strong action, and bay color.

C. The roadster type is long and lean of limb and body, and averages about 1100 pounds in weight.


1. Thoroughbred: of small head, long neck, level back, of variable color, 14½–16½ hands high, about 1000 pounds in weight.

2. American saddle: an American production; not a distinct breed, but a roadster of high quality.

3. American trotter: a superior type of good speed. The off forefoot and the nigh hind foot act together, the nigh fore and the off hind feet together, giving a two-beat gait.

4. Pacer: similar to the trotter, but using both off feet and both nigh feet together, giving a swinging gait.

The horse is very similar to man in its physical and mental character, being subject to the same ailments and treatment and having the same impulses of affection, hatred, fear, jealousy, obedience, willfulness, memory, and perhaps reason. It is of all animals most careful in its eating and drinking; because its stomach is small, the food should not be bulky but concentrated, grain forming a goodly portion of the ration.

Perhaps the most important point in the structure of the horse is the form of the leg and foot. The shoulder should slope slightly backward and the pastern joint, immediately above the hoof, slightly backward. The hips, or “quarters,” should slope downward somewhat, and the hock should be comparatively wide to afford ample leverage for the pulling muscles. The legs should be straight as pillars when seen from front or rear. The outer walls of the hoof support most of the weight though the frog should normally touch the ground. In nature the hoof wears away properly of itself, but the shod hoof needs regular trimming attention, while the frog must not be trimmed, for it is the soft growing part that nourishes the hoof. In this treatment the foot is comparable with the human finger and finger nail.


If access to a living animal is impossible or inconvenient, the pupil may use reference book or pictures for most of these points. A measuring tape or ruler should be at hand, and the assistance of an experienced person is a valuable aid. If several horses are studied, they should be distinguished by name or number.

Record the color, condition, weight, and height of the horse at the shoulder. (Height is given in “hands,” a hand being the breadth of the palm, or 4 inches.) Note the slope of the shoulder, of the back and the hips, the general form of the head and neck, and the facial expression. Find the chestnuts, warty growths on the inside of each leg. Examine the foot, finding the V-shaped frog in the center, surrounded by the horny hoof.

Find the pulse by passing the fingers downward from the upper curve of the neck, along the inside of the jaw; count the pulse. Notice the position and motion of the ears with their lining of hair, and the position of the eyes, the form of the pupil, and the probable range of vision. Watch the horse use its lips, and examine the mouth and teeth, finding the grinding teeth far back in the mouth, the incisors in front, and the space where the canines are missing.

The male may have canines in the upper jaw.

On the surfaces of the incisors are the depressions, or “cups,” by means of which age is determined.

At six years the cups leave the lower center teeth; at seven the adjoining teeth; and at eight, the outer lower teeth. At nine years they leave the upper center incisors; at ten, the adjoining teeth; and at eleven, the outer teeth above. At the age of ten years a spot appears in the outer upper incisors, at fifteen years the groove has worn to the center of the tooth, and at twenty-one years the groove is worn to the bottom of the tooth.


1. Describe the horse you studied as to its name or number, its color, markings, weight, and size. Of what type and breed is it a specimen?

2. Upon how much of the foot does the horse walk? How does this affect ease or speed of action? How does an athlete imitate this in sprinting?

3. How many toes has each foot? What advantage or disadvantage can you see in this unusual structure?

4. How is the hoof constructed to distribute the weight over a surface broader than the leg? How general is this among terrestrial animals?

5. What is the difference in the position of the chestnuts of the fore and hind legs?

6. Where in the foreleg is a springiness permitted by curvature? Where does the back leg accomplish the same thing?

7. How do you account for the elongating of the face?

8. Explain the uses of the lips, telling how they are fitted for their work.

9. Tell where the bit lies in the horse’s mouth, and how the structure permits this.

10. Where are the ears situated? How does this peculiar position affect the range of hearing and general alertness? Of how much movement are they capable? Describe the lining of the ear, and state its use.

11. What is the rate of the pulse?

12. Measure the height at shoulder and at croup, length of body from withers to rump, of head, of neck; thickness of body from the shoulder to the chest and of distance of chest from ground. Point out any equalities or ratios you find.

Topics for investigation.

1. The meaning of the terms gee, haw, nigh, off, run, gallop, trot, pace, single foot, rack.

2. The location, cause, and effect of these troubles: heaves, blind staggers, knee sprung, shoe boil, quitter, ring bone, spavin, capped hock, flat foot, hoof bound, glanders, mange, sweeny, hide bound, and thrush.

3. The record time for a trotted and a paced mile.

4. The meaning of “one horse power.” How much a horse can pull on good roads.

5. Record prices for valuable horses.

6. Current prices for horses; for ponies; for mules.

7. The origin and the use of the mule.

8. Balanced rations.

9. The number and care of the young, and their relative development at birth.

10. Other animals used as beasts of burden in peculiar conditions or localities.