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Taming the horse

Taming the horse

Conflicting theories exist regarding the time and place of initial domestication. The earliest evidence of horse domestication comes from Central Asia around 4500 BC.

Archaeological evidence provided evidence that the horse was domesticated by 2000 BC.

Wild Horse

Most of the “wild” horses today are actually wild horses, whose ancestors were domesticated, but they themselves were born and lived in the wild for several generations.

However, there are also truly wild horses whose ancestors were never domesticated.

There is a theory that there were four main cows that developed and adapted to the environment before domestication. According to different theories, they were all separate species or physically different manifestations of the same species. In any case, the theory of historical wild varieties from which horses evolved, suggests the following basic prototypes:

Forest horse (Equus ferus silvaticus). It is believed to have evolved in Equus ferus germanicus, which may have contributed to the development of warm-blooded horses in northern Europe, as well as the “heavy horses” of the Ardennes type.

The subspecies “Draft”, a small, sturdy, dense-haired animal, originated in northern Europe, adapted to the cold, wet climate. Somewhat resemble today’s horse, for example, the Shetland pony.

Subspecies “Asian”, a taller, slim, graceful and agile animal that appeared in western Asia, adapted to hot, dry climates. It is believed that she was the progenitor of the modern Arabian horse and Akhal-Teke.

A subspecies of Tarpan, grayish-brown in color, a sturdy animal the size of a large pony, adapted to the cold, arid climate of northern Asia, the ancestor of the Przhevalsky horse and the domesticated Mongolian horse.
Tarpan, Equus ferus ferus, died out in 1880. His genetic line was lost, but his phenotype was updated by “breeding back”, i.e. a process in which domesticated horses with primitive features were repeatedly bred. Thanks to the efforts of the brothers L. Heck (director of the Berlin Zoo) and H. Heck, Heck’s horse looks like a tarpan more than any other existing ones.

The Przewalski horse (Equus ferus przewalskii), a rare Asian species, is the only true wild horse living today. Also known as the Mongolian wild horse. Small wild habitats of this animal, which is named for the Russian researcher Przhevalsky, exist in Mongolia. Its representatives can also be seen in zoos around the world. After the fight against extinction, the Przewalski horse finally thrives in the wild again.

Wild animals whose ancestors were domesticated, but they themselves were born and live in the wild, are different from wild animals whose ancestors have never been tamed. Several wild horse populations exist in the western United States and Canada (mustangs), and in the regions of Australia (unbroken horses) and New Zealand (Cayman horses). Wild horse settlements are often named for their geographical location: Namibia has its horses in the Namib desert, Sorraya lives in Spain and Portugal, the horses of the Sable Island live in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Other members of the horse family include zebras, donkeys, and onagers.

Donkey, donkey or donkey. Equus asinus, like a horse, has many breeds.
Mule is a hybrid of a male donkey and mare, usually infertile.
Loshak is a hybrid of a female donkey and a stallion.

Breeders also tried to cross different zebra species with mares or donkey females in order to produce “zebra mules” (zorses, zonkeys or zedonks). This will probably be a new hybrid, as these individuals tend to inherit a part of the natural character of their zebra parent, but they may inherit the zebra’s resistance to parasites: zorses also called zebroids were used in Central African parks.

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