Horse History (Horsestory??) :)


The common history of humans working with horses dates at about 3500 B.C.; the archaeological vestiges show that horses were used in warfare. Over time, though, horses have been gradually used in working, sports and leisure activities. But it’s not the same type of horse that has been the companion of humans for all these different purposes, but numerous breeds have been created, by artificial selection methods, in order to cater for each of these separate activities.

While careful breeding is not something practiced exclusively by modern man, the old Bedouins making a real art of it in their attempts at obtaining pure bloodlines, it has become sophisticated enough for us being able to count about 300 different breeds these days. A refined horse like the Andalusian was created for riding and dressage purposes, while a large draft horse like the Clydesdale was created for heavy agricultural work and pulling equally heavy wagons. As such, various equestrian apparels have been designed (horse riding boots included) to meet the demands of specific uses of horses. While for dressage, for instance, the rider may need stiff dress boots, some mounted patrols, which should do some jumping, might prefer field boots, for their lacing at the ankle, which allows more flexibility.

Whereas horses are no longer used in combat, other than for ceremonial purposes, they are still used for working. In the US cattle farms, horses are needed to lead cattle on rugged ground, while in poor countries around 100,000 horses, mules and donkeys are still being used for farming. On the other hand, their use is more environmentally friendly than using some agricultural machinery running on fossil fuels; and for logging for one, they are far superior when it comes to the protection of soil and of trees for that matter.

But nowadays they are rather popular as companions of humans in sporting competitions. While in medieval times, horse shows were a common sight at fairs, horse racing these days is a major sport, watched by millions of people worldwide, and the subject matter of a whole industry due to the gambling around it. Dressage, show jumping, rodeos or fox hunting are also quite popular occasions for the animal and the rider to show their skills and their collaboration. Besides, in the UK at least, horses are still used as a means of transport for royalty or various VIPs to cultural events, for reasons related to both grandeur and tradition. As for television and films, they are indispensable, whether for large-scale battle scenes such as the one in ‘Chimes at Midnight’, for reviving historical settings like in any western movie, or for poignant metaphors like in ‘They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?’ Well, it’s hard to list all the uses they still have, but it’s worth mentioning their latest one in hippo-therapy.

Besides their uses when alive and kicking, for their skills, there are many related products they help humans with, such as mare’s milk and horse meat for food consumption, horsehide for gloves, riding boots or jackets or tail hair for bows of musical instruments. Of course, in recognition of their usefulness for humans, the latter provide them with food and shelter, medical care and grooming. While only a few horses are pets, they are tamed animals and, as such, cannot exist autonomously, naturally, except for the only one wild species left, namely the Przewalski’s Horse.


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Horses in Literature and Art 


Horses in Literature and Art

Horses are beautiful, majestic animals. They have been an inspiration for many artistic works in history. They inspire literature and art. Horses can be used as symbols for several things. Horses are commonly used as symbols for power, grace, beauty, nobility, strength, freedom.

Horses In Different Cultures

In Celtic culture, the Horses were associated with war and victory, and conquering territories. The Greco-Romans associated the horse with the spoils of war. Horses were a symbol of power, victory, honor, domination, and virility. In Hindu culture, Horses are equated with the cosmos because they believe a white horse was the last incarnation of their god, Vishnu. Horses also are very symbolic in Native American culture. They represent the power of the earth and wisdom and a messenger.

Horses In Art

Horses have been shown in art history for centuries. One of the best painters in the Tang Dynasty, Han Gan, regularly painted the imperial horses to study their movement and musculature. In 1513, Gothic artist Albrecht Durer, included horses in his portrayal of a valiant Christian knight. There was another painting in 1762 by George Stubbs, called Whistlejacket. He taught himself how to depict the anatomy of the horses. He used corpses of horses to study the anatomy. In 1800, there was a painting by Jacques-Louis David called Napoleon Crossing the Alps. This was one of the many portrayals of France’s emperor, Napolean Bonaparte. He asked to be portrayed as being calm on a “fiery” horse. He got what he wanted.

In 1878, Eadweard Muybridge, created the photo series of a horse running. It was an innovation in early photography. He used dozens of cameras at once, and he introduced it as a prototype of a rudimentary movie. He did it to prove that when a thoroughbred gallops it has all four hooves off the ground at the top of his stride.

In Picasso’s depiction of the bombing of a Spanish town during World War II, there was a figure of a twisted and agonized horse. You can see a skull shape in the horse’s nostrils and teeth. New York poet Patti Smith used horses in her album art. In the classic British comedy, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the characters use coconuts to make it sound like horses. They clacked the coconuts together to simulate the sounds of horse hooves.

Horses In Literature

The classic book, Black Beauty, is the a book about a horse’s career in 1877 as a London taxi-horse. The horse finds love in mare named Ginger. The book also talks about the twilight years of this gorgeous animal. Seabiscuit is another famous horse in literature. The biographical novel brought 1930s horse racing into America’s psyche. Hollywood brought the book to life in a great movie two years later. Don Quixote also features a great horse named “Rocinante” which means “lofty and sonorous.” There are some beautiful horses in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. One in particular, Shadowfax, who belonged to the wise wizard Gandalf. Gandalf referred to him as the swiftest steed in Middle Earth. The Houyhnhnms in Gulliver’s Travels were also famous. Gulliver persuaded them that he was not human, and he felt more at home with them after that.

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Is Horse Racing Cruel?


Horse racing is one of the most popular games in present times and is being played since quite a long time. One question that has always cast doubts about the game’s humane side and has questioned its legitimacy is about the game being cruel to horses. Recent reports and facts published by PETA have again brought this debate into limelight and the game has come under serious scrutiny.

Horse racing is highly competitive sport and here the pressure to win forces the Jockey to accelerate the speed of their horses to run faster. Surely this affects the body of the horse and makes them feel stressed and quite exhausted. Although, horses are quite strong and can bear up to 1000 pounds but this certainly does not mean that they do not get hurt or does not feel pain or suffering. Horse racing is a game where horses are made to run quite faster for entertaining the crowds and high amount of bets are placed on the winning horse.


How racing proves harsh on the body of the animal?

Horses are considered as the most energetic and one of the strongest species and they certainly can carry the load of heavy expectations. Horse racing is quite a challenging game and horses are made to run as fast as they can. They run for their life in a derby race and this certainly impacts their body.

Horses are trained from very young age for these races and young ones up to age of 2 year are made to race in trial races. Young horses are quite susceptible to injuries and they do not even develop their bones and muscles till such age. Therefore, it is quite apt to train a horse after a certain age to ensure their safety while in races.

Do horses often get affected by loneliness?

Horses are one of the most loved animals and they like to stay in herd to experience group activities and graze with fellow horses. Horses like to roam in large fields and they like to live in open places for a suitable living. Horse racing demands every horse to train separately and they are made to stay in isolated areas for days to avoid any injury or ill health.

Horses are dragged to various racetracks from time to time and it they seldom get the opportunity to stay in herd and enjoy with other horses. This makes them quite lonely and they get affected quite deeply.

To avoid this situation and remove the tag of cruel behavior that is associated with the game it is apt to provide them with suitable environment. Horses should be kept in company of other horses and they should always be treated in friendliest manner rather than a source of earning or entertainment.

Horse racing is quite a challenging game and tests the stamina and endurance of every horse. Racing takes a toll on their body and it is in the interest of humanity to provide them with proper care and nourishment before and after every race.

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Horse Training 101




Training a horse may be a long process but also a very rewarding experience. Training your horse by yourself allows you to teach him or her to do things in the manner that you prefer while creating a strong emotional bond. It is very satisfying to successfully train a horse and it is recommended to begin from the ground up and with time you will have a great riding horse.

Tips of successful horse training

The following are simple tips that will help you in training your horse successfully;

1. Recognize the level of you experience; Training a horse is an exciting experience. However, the excitement might hinder an objective look at your level of experience and knowledge on training horses. Horse training is a long process that should not be taken lightly. If you have the determination to train your horse but have little or no experience, it is recommended hire a professional trainer or acquiring plenty of advice from a friend who has more experience.

2. Be a strong leader for the horse. In order to achieve successful training, you should show your horse that you have, in mind, their best interest and also that you are trustworthy. You should ensure to do the best for your horse. Every horse is different and they each need different approaches. Leading is however different from bossing. When training your horse ensure to give strong and clear signals without being abusive or aggressive. As a strong leader, your goals include:

· Be assertive and avoid aggressiveness.

· Train your horse with a slow and steady pace so as to create trust.

· Keep the safety of horse both mentally and physically in mind always.

· Be calm and confident.

3. Be patient with your horse; You should not expect your horse to bond with you or trust you immediately even if you have plenty of experience. It is advisable to be patient throughout the entire training process so as to earn the trust of your horse successfully.

4. Create an effective training plan; Even the best horse trainers have their own mental lesson plan kept in mind. It is recommended to ensure that you are organized and have a step-by-step training plan. The training schedule should be broken down into tasks or small goals to enable you work through them eventually. Everything in your plan should be building on the things that you have already trained the horse. This implies that your horse’s training is consistently reinforced. You should stick to the training schedule. Taking longer than expected to train the horse is okay. You should however ensure not to leave huge time gaps between the training sessions.

5. Develop a steady discipline/reward system. You will be unable to train a horse properly if you are not consistent with the training system pertaining to the horse’s discipline and rewards. Positive reinforcement is greatly ideal as compared to negative reinforcement. Sometimes however, a horse will need you to be extremely assertive prior to doing what you ask of it.

There are numerous horse training techniques and philosophies. Also, horses tend to have varying conformation, temperatures, athletic potential as well as personalities, all of which might influence the techniques used for training. Employ the few simple tips above and you will definitely achieve success in training your horse.





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How to Care for Horses



Horses are truly beautiful and wonderful animals that demand a lot of attention and care. Basic care for horses includes feeding, grooming, bonding, training, and keeping them in good health generally. If you love your horse like most horse owners, you would ensure he has everything. To begin with, it is important to acknowledge that there is no “one-size-fits-all” in the care for horses and that every horse is unique and may require slightly different treatment approach from all the other horses. Below are general tips on how to care for horses.

A rubber curry brush can be used to loosen some of the dirt on the horse’s coat. Avoid using the brush on the horse’s legs and face because they are delicate. A dandy brush can then be used to get rid of dirt from the surface of the horse’s coat. You can then use a body brush to help smooth the horse’s hair. If the horse’s body hair is long, you may use electric clippers in trimming the body hair. Do not forget to clean the hooves of the horse. Lastly, bathe the horse with warm water and rinse off dirt in readiness for shampooing.

Horses need plenty of clean water. Also, do avail plenty of quality hay, as they eat grass in large quantities. They need about 20 pounds of mold-free hay every day. They also need grain in small quantities throughout the day. Note that the horse’s nutritional needs may vary depending on the amount of fresh grass consumed and the level of activity. Feedings should be scheduled for an hour before/ after ridding the horse to avoid interfering with digestion.

Sit on the fence or in the paddock and wait for the horse to approach you on his own terms. Spare some time to spend with your horse to gain his trust. When approaching the horse, do so slowly, and with a calm demeanor to improve your trust. Petting your horse is a great way to show appreciation. Stroke his muzzle, massage the ears, and pat the head. However, these and other treats given need to be in moderation. Some great treats include fresh carrots and apples. Lastly, encourage neck drops, which demonstrate submission and a good bond.

Observe safety at all times when training the horse. Avoid walking directly in front of or behind the horse. Take your time and do not rush the horse to learn fast, as patience is crucial in this process. Talking to your horse in a low and calm tone may help calm his frustrations. Using positive reinforcement to reward your horse when he does what you want helps get the horse on the right track, just as much as negative reinforcement, such as a gentle whip, does when he does what you dislike. A high quality saddle for comfort is important when training the horse.

Horse’s Health
Last but not least, the health of your horse is your responsibility. Plan regular visits to the vet for dental and physical examination. Ensure the horse gets all the vaccinations, including rabies and tetanus. The horse, just like you, also needs social life to interact with other horses. Also, protect your horse from extreme weather conditions and hazardous plants like oak leaves and black walnut.






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