You may discover a horse person hidden inside of you, if you find yourself dreaming -and daydreaming- about horses!
Clues that you are a horse lover are pretty easy to spot. The first sign is when you repeatedly catch yourself spending a lot of time thinking about horses.
Soon you are imagining riding, jumping, and doing all sorts of wonderful things with a horse. Then when you start devoting your weekends and vacation time to horse shows and clinics, well, you may be hooked.
You can imagine having a great time with a horse, so maybe it’s time to get started! Of course you will have to find a horse to work with, but there’s lots of little horsey things to learn as well. Armed with a little knowledge will go a long way in helping on your journey to becoming a horse person.
List of 9 Horsey things to know about:
- An equestrian is not a cowboy
A cowboy is someone who rides a horse and whose job is to take care of cows or horses. They may perform in rodeos and some may also have the qualities that are commonly associated cowboys, as depicted in movies.
An equestrian is a very hardworking person that is committed to the sport of riding horses, and is also committed to the animals, horses and ponies, that he or she rides.
- Wear appropriate clothing
Equestrian apparel in not about high-fashion, rather it’s about good functional clothing for activates both on and off of a horse. Appropriate apparel starts with a pair of riding boots. You know you have a good boots if they get crinkly around the ankles and have dirt on them. And no, you don’t wear them to a fancy restaurant.
- Don’t be an urban cowboy
You don’t get a horse to move by waving your hands about with your legs flapping, and then hooting out an exciting “hi-yah!” You do use your voice when riding a horse, and you also use your seat, hands, and legs. You will usually get your horse to move by looking up, moving your hands forward, and squeezing with your legs.
- Learn about the different types of horses
It’s important to know about the types of horse breeds, and the difference between a horse and a pony.
A pony is not a baby horse, nor is it a miniature horse.
A baby horse is also not a pony, and actually has different names depending on whether it’s a boy or a girl. All baby horses are foals, but a boy can be called a “colt” while a girl is called a “filly.”
- Use the correct terminology
Do some research at your local library or surf the web for commonly used horse terms and quick facts to help you out.
- Be honest about your knowledge
When other horse lovers know you have limited knowledge, experienced horsemen and women are far more likely to explain terminology, share information, and help you out in any way they can.
- Be eager to learn
You’ll never learn unless you ask, so don’t be afraid to ask for an explanation about a horse term that you’re not familiar with, or if you need clarification about something. Many horse people are very happy to discuss their horses.
- Learn proper horse riding etiquette
Arena riding may be the only option at times, so understand and follow proper horse arena etiquette. It will make ring riding with other’s fun and safe.
- Be courteous, calm and sensible
Always ask a horse owner for permission before touching their animal(s).
Horse people are a strange breed, and many times normal people may not understand their obsession! So be prepared for the strange stares that you may get when you start wearing barn clothes into the grocery store. You may even get a funny look when you have to remove bits of hay or tack off of the passenger seat when you’ve offered your friend a ride.
Set an example and be the best horse person you can be. Don’t flaunt your experience or act like a know-it-all. Instead take your social clues from the horses themselves, and act like they act with their herd. Horses tend to hang with those that are of the same rank or a rank just above or below themselves. So with other horsey people, be willing to share what you know, learn from them, and work on becoming friends. With those that are not into horses or learning about them, don’t be a bore.
Start on your exciting adventure by checking out the different types of horses and ponies, and find the breed that’s best for you!
Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
Man-made animals are real live animals!… not animal wannabes like chia pets, furbies, or virtual pets.
Some of the most popular and favored animals that we encounter everyday are basically man-made. These animals are not a new phenomenon; many have been around for thousands of years.
Today’s domestic pets are some earliest animals to be developed. Yet for some of the most popular man-made animals, the original species are no longer found in nature. In fact there are contrary opinions on some, about which species they even originated from.
Since the time when the first wild dogs began skirting human encampments to catch snacks and waste to fill their bellies, the crafting of animals began. Man with his incredible creativity took specific species, domesticated them, and then began to develop them to fill all sorts of needs. They were selectively bred for optimal forms and vocalizations so that they could provide protection, aid in hunting, carry loads, and even be a food source.
Man then took the next step and began to craft animals for more than just practicality. Select breeds began to be developed for unique appearances and for song. New body shapes emerged as well as longer or shorter limbs and tails along with unusual and attractive skin coverings of feathers or fur. But a favorite development has been, and still is, the incredibly beautiful new color forms.
Popular man-made animals are mostly developed from a single species, selectively bred for particular traits. There are also hybrids and mutations. Hybrids result from crossing two closely related species while mutations result from a change in a gene or a chromosome.
Looking at the history of any particular group, however, you will find that a number of breeds are also now “extinct.” Those are animals that lost favor for one reason or another, so were no longer developed.
The 8 most popular man-made animals:
The dog Canis lupus familiaris is the first domesticated animal. Although there are varying studies, it is believed its domestication could have started as early as 34,000 years ago. Other closely related dog types are wolves and foxes. At one time was a popular belief that the ancestors of today’s domestic dogs were wolves, but that lineage has pretty much been disproven in more recent studies.
There are well over 300 breeds of dogs, not including all the newer designer dogs being developed today. The breeds we see today however, are at most only a few hundred years old.
The categorization of dogs differs slightly between breed registries. In the United States we usually follow the groupings as set by American Kennel Club (AKC). These groups are the herding dogs, working dogs, hound dogs, sporting dogs, non-sporting dogs, terrier dogs, toy dogs, and mixed dogs.
The domestication of cats is believed to have started at least 8,000 years ago. This is indicated by a cat jawbone found on the island of Cyprus in 1983, which dates back to about 6000 B.C. The first record of domesticated cats is from about 3000 to 1450 B.C.
The African wildcat Felis silvestris lybica is the ancestral subspecies from which domestic cats are descended. In Northern Africa, somewhere around 7000 to 5000 B.C., these small, tabby-striped wild felines arrived in human settlements and started the process of domestication. The domestic cat was first classified as Felis catus by Linnaeus in 1758, but can also be called by its subspecies name, Felis silvestris catus.
Today there are not only the natural breed cats, but also hybrid cat breeds, cat breed mutations, and exotic cats.
The modern horse is the direct descendant of the Eohippus, which lived about 60 million years ago. Their domestication began around 4000 BC and is believed to have become widespread by 3000 BC.
There are three types of horses, medium sized light breeds that originally evolved in the southern hemisphere, large heavy (draft) breeds that evolved in the northern hemisphere, and the shorter durable Pony breeds that evolved in both.
The horse breeds can further be divided into three groups based on temperament; the light horses are the “hot bloods” known for speed and endurance, the heavy or draft horses and ponies are “cold bloods” used for heavy work, and the “warm bloods” are crosses between the two with a focus on riding.
Today there are more than 300 breeds of horses, each developed for particular uses. There are also a number of wild horse populations, called “feral breeds”, in numerous countries around the world.
Rabbits have been around for at least 3 to 4 million years. All domesticated rabbits are descended from the European Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus. This is the only species of rabbit which has ever been domesticated. They were first domesticated in Spain, but then became widely distributed by the seafaring Phoenicians. Still today wild European Rabbits can be found in countries all across the world.
Rabbits have a great capacity to multiply themselves and so can be readily raised. They have been domesticated and used for many different purposes. Today there are at least 40 known breeds and around 130 varieties. There are also 10 or so varieties that are now extinct.
Pet rabbits can be categorized into four broad groups; fancy breeds, lop breeds, fur breeds, and rex breeds.
All domestic canaries are descended from the Atlantic or Island Canary Serinus canaria. Since 1478, when the Spaniards conquered the Canary Islands, these canaries became favored for their beautiful song, coloration, and feathering.
Today there are basically three breed types of domestic canary and numerous varieties in each breed and there are many mixed breeds. The breed types include: the Color Canary bred for various colors, the Song Canary bred for their song, and the Type Canary bred for distinct characteristics of shape, feathering.
Some canary types that were popular at one time are no longer available, having made way for new varieties and the varieties that are currently popular.
All the goldfish of today originated from Central Asia (Siberia). They are descendants of a wild carp fish known as the Prussian or Gibel Carp Carassius gibelio (syn: Carassius auratus gibelio).
Goldfish are one of the first aquatic animals in recorded history to be kept as pets. They were originally developed in China, beginning somewhere between the years 265 – 420. They were then traded to Japan in the 1500’s, to Europe in the 1600’s, and to America by the 1800’s.
The results of this century’s long endeavor are the wonderful goldfish varieties we see today. They have been developed for body shape and form, finnage, and a wide variety of beautiful colors. It is estimated that there are over 125 types of gold fish.
- Guinea Pigs
The Guinea Pig Cavia porcellus, is also called the “Cavy,” and is a species of rodent. The popular guinea pigs of today are believed to be the result of the hybridization of three closely related cavy species. They were domesticated between 9000 and 3000 B.C. by the Incas of Peru, and were used for their fur as well as used for food. English and Dutch slave traders took some of these guinea pigs to Guinea (thus the name “guinea”) and then to Europe, where they became popular pets.
There are many breeds of guinea pig or cavy that have been developed to become very appealing pets. The English or American Short-haired, Abyssinian which has a rough-coat, and the Peruvian which has a long-coat, are the three “core” breed that the others were developed from. Today there are at least 13 recognized breeds, a number of unrecognized breeds, and many color varieties of each breed type.
- Pigeons and Doves
All domestic pigeons and dove have come from a single species of wild pigeon, the Rock Dove Columba livia. There is no scientific separation between them, but in general the term ‘pigeon’ is usually applied to the larger species and ‘dove’ to the smaller species. They are generally recognized as one or the other by the common names given to them over the years.
It is not known when these birds first became kept in captivity, but they have been bred and hybridized for various purposes for thousands of years. They have been crafted for specialized traits such as the homing instinct, aerial acrobatics, and unique feather structures. There are over 200 domesticated pigeon and dove breeds with at least 1250 varieties of these breeds.
There are all sorts of other animals that have also been developed through selective breeding. They include not only mammals, but also birds, aquatic species and reptiles. A lot of exciting new varieties being crafted today, yet they still represent only small a handful of animals when you consider the hundreds of thousands of species found throughout the Animal World.
Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
Across Town or Cross Country: Saving Your Horse from Transport Stress!
Motion sickness and travel stress affects many people, but did you know that horses can get stressed when traveling, too?
Most of the time, owners can lessen the stress and sickness for their horses by simply being more careful when loading the trailer and while driving.
It is safe and simple to transport horses, if you consider all the factors that could cause your animal undue stress. Take steps to reduce, or even remove them. Doing so will not only protect your precious cargo, it will give you the peace of mind to keep your focus on the road.
If you’re taking your horse horse across town or across the nation, the following recommendations can make the ride much easier for everyone.
Think Head Heavy
Horses bow their heads often. They’re not depressed – they do this to alleviate respiratory stress and for mucus-draining purposes. Traveling in a straightaway trailer with limited space stresses horses and their ability to breathe. They may even compete with the other horses for extra space in the carriage. If trailer room is limited, leave your horses untied, or give them enough leeway to move around a bit and bow their heads for better breathing and comfort.
Make Friendships and Friend Trips
When possible, ship horses with their friends, meaning other horses they’re familiar with. This lowers the risk of attracting disease from other animals. Also, like humans, horses feel comfortable around those they know. They feel less stress when coupled with recognizable horse mates. Consider investing in a 2-horse gooseneck trailer, which provides a lot of space, yet allows for plenty of comforting companionship.
Always Keep it Clean
In tight spaces, pathogens from manure have a far greater influence on a horse’s respiratory system, especially if the animal is already feeling stressed from the trip. Always clean your horse trailer thoroughly between treks. For long trips, stop intermittently to clean manure from the trailer, and wash away all traces of urine and dried feces.
Teach the Horse to Load
Loading is extremely stressful for horses, and a time when injury is most likely to occur. Teach your horse the loading procedure by walking them through it until they are comfortable with the process. Don’t overwork your horse by over-practicing, though. Just get them familiar with loading, and give them a refresher course once or twice a week.
If your horse is especially difficult or reluctant to learn, hire an experienced and patient trainer. If there has been a longer gap in trips, take your horse for a practice run by making a short road trip.
Maintain Air Quality
Unless you’re traveling in the colder northern territory, it’s not likely your horse will get too cold. However, horses become stressed and sick due to poor ventilation and rising temperatures inside the trailer. Leave the trailer windows or vents open. Check for drafts coming from the back of the trailer that could blow exhaust fumes into the small area. Maintain great air quality and make accommodations to keep the inner cabin from becoming too hot or cold for your animals.
Let Your Horses Rest
Travel taxes horses, both mentally and physically. If you’re planning on using your horse for an athletic or farm-related event after the journey, leave early to give the animal a few days, even as much as up to one week, to rest and get its strength back. For after-trip conditioning, give your horse about a week to recover and get back to normal health after a long drive.
Timing and money may be important factors to consider, but the best way to care for your horses is to adopt a slow and steady driving routine, rather than an erratic and time-sensitive trip full of stress.
In order to understand hauling horses better, have someone drive the trailer while you sit in the back, mocking the ride of the horses. Some horse owners even secure a half-full glass of water to the top of the dashboard, noting that any water splashing outside the glass is the direct result of erratic and potentially unsafe driving.
Dan Kelly has been working with horses since he volunteered at a neighbor’s ranch as a teenager. With a heart for their grace and strength, he often writes about horse training and care on equestrian blogs and training sites.
Learn more about horses. See the World of Horses and Ponies with all types of horse breeds from light horses and ponies, to draft horses!
Horse people honor and celebrate just about everything, but with a wonderful horseman’s twist!
Horsemen and women are passionate about anything horse. Websites, facebook pages, and blogs dedicated to horse lovers are filled with pictures and quotes that embrace the finest qualities we each strive for.
Strength and courage, passion, love, hard work and endurance spread across the pages. But the simple everyday riches of life are also embraced like smiles, spring, horse shedding season, and even the fact that it’s a Friday! Quickly I find myself being drawn in, and loving it!
I was so fortunate to be raised in a family where horses were a big part of our activities. My father, raised on a ranch in Eastern Montana, felt horsemanship was a fundamental part of life. Trail riding, cattle herding, and rodeos were all part of our fare.
The short summer seasons were filled with exploring on horseback, heading out with a packed lunch, and swimming gear incase we chanced upon a stream or pond. During the long winter season, the horses were kept at a highland ranch, where moving cattle between pastures was an ongoing affair. With 10 children, local ranchers loved to have us show up at branding time. All those extra hands helped the work go smoothly and quickly. Then the arrival of springtime had my brothers trying their hands at bronco busting in local rodeos. All these wonderful parts of a young, blossoming horse person set the stage for my life as a passionate horse lover.
Owning a Horse… the ultimate passion
Horses are still used for ranching and other types of work, but the joy of riding and keeping them as companions is what stirs the hearts of even more people today. Each horse breed has its unique abilities and charm, and there’s a horse for every type of person.
Getting the right horse depends on what you imagine doing with it. There are many types of horses, each with their individual breed characteristics. They come in a variety of colors and vary greatly in height and size, as well as temperament. Be patient and take the time to determine what you want, because owning a horse is not only a fabulous experience, but a big responsibility.
Horses are commonly divided into three groups; Light Horses, Draft or Heavy Horses, and Ponies.
Photo © Animal-World.com, Courtesy Maria Wahlberg of Sweden
- Light Horse Breeds – The majority of the riding horses are found in the light breeds. All Light Horses originally descended from the Arabian type. They have great strength and stamina, and depending on the breed, can be used in a variety of show disciplines, with some specialized as racing breeds.
- Heavy Horse Breeds – The heavier types, commonly known as Draft Horses were developed from the bulkier equines found in the northern hemisphere. They generally have a quiet calm temperament, but they are big and strong.
- Pony Breeds – Ponies on the other hand, are small. The Pony Breeds are durable horses that evolved smaller in stature, but strong and hardy, because they came from areas where there was often inferior nutrition and harsh environments. They are very durable and usually require less care than the other two groups, but they are also more independent.
Photo Wiki Commons, Courtesy ken taylor
Horse paraphenalia… extending the passion
Whether you own a horse or not, once you become a horse lover you’ll find yourself drawn to anything that has to do with horses. I find myself perking up with interest when watching movies or television, whenever a horse comes onto the scene. The super bowl halftime is a favorite, just to see those beautiful Clydesdales in the Budweiser commercials. A recent episode of the fantasy drama “Da Vinci’s Demons” even includes an Andalusian, the beautiful Pure Spanish Horse.
The Internet is great for finding all sorts of tack, equipment, and riding gear. But it is also a great place to find all sorts of cool horse related accessories, knickknacks, and collectables.
I collect Painted Ponies from the popular “Trail of Painted Ponies” project. Rod Barkser, a writer who makes his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, started the project. He was actually prompted to begin the Trail of Painted Ponies project because of a public art exhibition entitled “Cow Parade” that he came across while passing through Chicago during a research trip. He was charmed by these artistically transformed cows, and took it to a new level. He was inspired by the ponies of Santa Fe, and today many artists submit designs for competition, and the results are wonderful pieces of collectable art!
There are too many different types of collectibles to even begin to outline them here. But if you are a horse lover and collector of horse related art, accessories, and collectables, you can check out the horse section of a website called The Collectionary.
The Horses Collectionary is a growing library of horse collectibles and nostalgic items that are fun to peruse, and you can join and share your collections as well.
Happy horse loving, enjoy your passion!
Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
Horses are strong animals who have beautiful coats. Used for everything from war to work, horses have been loyal companions to the human race over the years. Are you considering buying a horse? Here are some particulars on going about the process.
They are great to watch in action. If you’ve never been to an equestrian show, then you are missing a treat. Horses learn to gracefully jump hurdles, perform fantastic feats and show off their individual character. These large animals are incredibly well behaved when trained.
But, is a horse right for you? Maybe your son or daughter is asking for one. Or, you think it would be nice to own one. The process is not like buying a cat or a dog. It is a bit more involved. Here are some points to consider first.
Horse Buying Tips
1. Learn as much as you can about horses – You will likely have questions like: What type of horse is best for me? How can I tell a healthy horse from a sick one? What does a horse need? Will I like riding them? Believe it or not, people will buy a horse when they don’t even know if they like riding it or not. That’s an expensive pet if you find that you don’t like the feel of the animal!
2. Take a horse for a test drive – Before purchasing any pet, find out how you will like it. Take horse riding lessons. Lease a horse and see if you like dealing with him on a full time basis. Through lessons, you will get a feel for what equipment is needed for riding a horse and how to care for him.
3. Talk to other horse owners – Join a horse club or an online community for horse owners. You can get information on the cost of feeding, the type of housing, transportation, veterinary requirements, exercise, training and the like. There is a lot involved with caring for such a large animal.
4. Take your time – It can take months or even longer to find just the right horse at the right price. During this time investigate if you have the money to maintain a horse and the right facility to house him. Some find ways to board at the farm of a friend or in stables for a fee.
5. Get a clean bill of health – You may find that buying a horse can be cheaper from a private owner instead of a breeder. But, be sure that you are getting what you pay for. Get a qualified medical assessment from a veterinarian who can examine the horse before you sign on the dotted line. Also, consult a trainer to check the horse’s temperament.
Do you want to buy a horse? Buying a horse is not a process that should be rushed into. Read the above tips to be sure you are ready.
Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Quarter Horse!
Have you ever wanted a horse or marveled at what beautiful creatures they are? Chances are, you have! Quarter Horses are just one type that you might be interested in!
Quarter Horses are truly an American breed of horse. Everyone has heard of them, and many people consider them to be one of the best all around breeds of horses. I will start with some history. They are one of the oldest breeds in America – starting from the early 17th century in Virginia, when settlers got horses from the Chickasaw Indians. The Chickasaw Indians horses were descendants of horses brought by Spanish explorers. These horses were then bred with English running horses, which gave them a good solid horse which could do everything they needed, from pulling and hauling, to riding and herding horses. In fact, the Quarter Horse eventually got its name because it could sprint a quarter of a mile faster than any other horse! Today, Quarter Horse racing is still in effect in the western United States.
The American Quarter Horse Association was the first registry for these horses, being founded in 1940 by Robert Denhard. It is now the largest breed registry in the world with over 3 million registered horses! These horses are considered a stocky type of light horse breed. They usually weigh under 1,500 pounds and are used most often as leisure horses. They can be used for other tasks as well – such as racing, ranch working, and as show horses. The Quarter Horse can reach 15-16 hands and they are compact, stocky, and muscular horses.
Quarter Horse care is fairly easy as far as horse care goes. They keep weight on quite easily and only need a low amount of daily feed (compared to some other horses). Their diet should consist of grass and hay, with vitamin and mineral supplements provided on a minimum basis as needed. They can become overweight somewhat easily so you must make sure to not overfeed them! This may be because their ancestors were free-roaming plain horses, making it necessary to thrive on the simple foods that were available. These horses can be kept in either a pasture or a stall, and they should be provided with ample exercise.
Training of Quarter Horses includes many different activities and sports because of their speed and agility. They are excellent at cutting, reining and gymkhana. They are also great at ranch-type work, including driving cattle which makes them wonderful Western Pleasure Horses. They can also do well at jumping and English Pleasure activities. They are very good at stopping quickly and turning sharply. In general these horses are fairly attentive and responsive in temperament, making them great family horses, beginner horses, and trail riding horses.
In general, Quarter Horses are pretty hardy horses and they live some of the longest lives! It takes ongoing neglect of their basic maintenance to really cause them problems. However, one genetic disease to be on the look out for before purchasing a Quarter Horse is hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP). This disease is not very common but it is passed down from the sire and should be tested for in any horse that you plan to obtain. The disease causes uncontrolled muscle twitching and/or muscle weakness and can sometimes cause collapse and death.
Quarter Horses are available just about everywhere in the United States and you should be able to locate one quite easily if you wish to obtain one. Look at Animal-World’s page on Quarter Horses for more information.
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.
"I am a powerful, hard-working horse!"
With a heritage traced to the Alpine mountain ponies, the Haflinger is very hardy and strong,
but also sweet tempered!
The Haflinger, also known as the Avelignese is a rather small but sturdy chestnut colored horse descended down from the Tyrolean ponies of Austria and northern Italy. These horses only stand between 13 to 15 hands high, however they are ponies… Read More