HORSE

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HORSE (equus caballus, Lin.). The genus equus belongs to the third family of the pachydermata, the solidungula, or those animals having but one apparent toe, and this covered by an undivided hoof. They are distinguished by having six incisors in each jaw, which, in their young state, are marked by a furrow on the crown. The molars, which are 24, are square, having their crown divided by numerous plates of enamel, disposed in a crescent form. The male has two small canine teeth in the upper jaw, and sometimes the same number in the lower; these are almost always wanting in the female. Between those canines and the molars is a vacant space. The stomach of the horse is simple, and of a moderate size, but the intestines are very long, and the coecnm enormous. The mane is long and flowing, and the tail covered with long hair. The hqrse is known to most nations as the most useful and manageable of those animals that live under the sway of man. In gracefulness of form and dignity of carriage, he is superior to almost eveiy other quadruped; he is lively and highspirited, yet gentle and tractable ; keen and ardent in his exertions, yet firm and persevering. The horse is equally qualified for all the various purposes in which man has employed him ; he works steadily and patiently in the loaded wagon or at the plough ; becomes as much excited as his master in the race; and appears to rejoice in the chase. The horse feeds on grass and grain, and defends himself with his hoofs and teeth. Besides his invaluable services whilst alive, after death his skin is used for a variety of purposes ; the hair of his mane and tail for chair bottoms, mattresses, &c. His flesh, although rejected among civilized nations, is much used among several rude tribes; and from the milk of the mare, the Calmucks and other Tartars prepare a spirituous drink of considerable strength. The period of gestation is about 290 days. The young horse does not acquire his canine teeth till about his fifth year. The voice of this animal is peculiar, and well known under the name of neighing. The life of the horse, when not shortened by ill usage, extends from 25 to 30 years. The most certain knowledge of the age of a horse, isto be obtained from the teeth. The 12 cutting teeth begin to shoot about two weeks after the birth of a foal. These, or, as they are termed, colt teeth, are round, short, not very solid, and are cast at different periods to be replaced by others. At two and a half years, the four middle ones are shed; in another year, four others drop out; at four years and a half, the four last are cast; these latter are replaced by others called corner teeth. They are easily known, being the third above and below, counting from the middle of the jaw. They are hollow, and have a black mark in their cavity. When the horse is four and a half years old, they are scarcely visible above the gum, and the cavity is very sensible : at six and a half, they begin to nil, ind the mark continually diminishes and contracts till seven or eight years, when the cavity is filled up and the black mark obliterated; after this, the age is to be judged by the canine teeth or tushes. The two in the lower jaw usually begin to appear at tl iree years and a half, and those of the upper jaw at four, continuing very sharppointed till six. At ten, the upper seem blunted, worn out and long, the gum leaving them gradually; the barer they are, the older is the horse; from 10 to 14, there is little to indicate the precise age. The age of a horse may also be ascertained, though less accurately, by the bars in his mouth, which wear away as he advances in years. The horse, like the other tame animals, was no doubt originally wild, but his domestication happened at so early a period, as to leave no record of the event, and it is now impossible to ascertain, with any certainty, in what country he originated. Wild horses, it is true, are found in various parts of the world, but in most cases it is impossible to say whether they are the remains of the ancient stock or are derived from the domesticated animal; though, as respects those found in the American continent, there is no doubt but that they were originally introduced by the Spaniards.Desmarest gives upwards of 20 varieties of the horse, and his catalogue is by no means complete. We shall only be able to notice the principal. The wild horses of Tartary are smaller than the domestic; their hair, particularly in winter, is very thick, and generally of a mouse color. Their heads are larger, in proportion to their bodies, than those of tame horses, and their foreheads remarkably arched. These horses are very watchful of their common safety. Whilst a troop is feeding, one of their number is placed on some eminence as a sentinel; when danger of any kind approaches, lie warns his companions by neighing, and they all betake themselves to flight. The Calmucks take them by riding among them on very fleet tame horses, or destroy them by arrows. The kumiss or vinous liquor, which the Tartars prepare from mares' milk, is made by adding to any quantity of that milk, soon after it is drawn from the animal, one sixth part of water, and an eighth part of very sour cows1 milk, or a portion of old kumiss: this mixture is kept in a wooden vessel covered with a thick cloth, and placed in a situation where it is kept warm: it soon turns sour, and a thick curdy substance is found at top; this is intimately mixed with the sour fluid beneath, by churning for a length of time, when it becomes fit for use. The most esteemed horses are the Arabian. These are seldom more than 14 to 14^ hands high, more inclined to be lean than fat; they rise higher from the ground than other blood horses, and gather much more quickly. The breed in Arabia is never crossed as in other countries, but preserved unmixed with the utmost solicitude. The Arabs prefer the mare, as being more capable of bearing hunger, thirst and fatigue ; and these must neither bite nor kick, or they are deemed vicious ; indeed, it is no uncommon thing to see children play and fondle about the mare and her foal without fear or injury. Madden says, when an Arab sells his mare, he rarely sells all his property in her; he generally reserves the second or third foal. The genealogy of a full blooded Arabian horse must be proved at Mecca, for one race only is valued, which is that of Mohammed's favorite mare. Tiiat author also observes, that it is so difficult to get a thoroughbred Arab mare to send out of the country, that he doubts if any ever go to Europe; those usually sent as such being Dongola horses, which are very inferior, being worth only from 120 to $150, whilst an Arabian is worth from 1500 to $2000. The Arabians keep their horses picketed by the fore legs. They never lie down, night or day, being always kept standing ; even after a long journey, they are only suffered to give a tumble or two on the sand, and then made to rise. The Persian horses are much esteemed, but not equal to the Arabian. The Barbary horse, which approaches the Arabian, is the origin of the Spanish and Italian. The Andalusian horse is much prized. It is small, but beautifully formed. The head is, however, rather large in proportion to the body, the mane thick, the large, and the hoof high. The Italian horses are not so much esteemed now as formerly; they are large, and move well, and are used for carriage horses and heavy s cavalry. The Danish horses are stout and well built, but seldom elegant. Th** same may be said of the Dutch horse, which is preferred for the draught throughout Europe. The French horses differ much, according to the part of the country from whence they are derived. The breed of horses in England and the U. States is as mixed as that of the inhabitants, the frequent introduction of foreign horses having produced an infinite variety. The wild horses of America are descended from the Spanish, and partake of the form of their ancestors. They occur in immense numbers to the westward of the Missouri. In major Long's Expedition, it is stated that their habits are very similar to those of the domestic animal. They are the most timid and watchful of our wild animals. They show a great attachment to each other's society, though the males are occasionally found at a distance from the herds. It appears that they sometimes take long journeys, and it is worthy of notice, that along the paths which they make, large piles of dung are 'found, showing that this animal in the wild state has, in common with some others, the habit of dropping his excrement where another has done so before him. Our hunters have a mode of capturing them which appears peculiar to America. This, which is termed creasing, is shooting the animal through the neck, taking care not to injure the spine. When a rifle ball is received in the upper part of the neck, it occasions a temporary suspension of the powers of life, but does no permanent injury. As may be supposed, it requires no small degree of skill and precision for its successful performance. From the attention which has been paid in the U. States to the rearing of this species of animal, and by the judicious mixture of breeds, as well as a careful observance of every circumstance proper for improving the good qualities anq^ correcting the defects or imperfections of the horse, we now have horses famous for all the different excellences of those of other countries. Without the horse, it may be asserted, that man could not have reached his present pitch of civilization, nor have been able to overcome the numerous obstacles to comfort and happiness. The want of these animals was one of the principal VOL. vi. 37 their invaders; and the decided superiority of the white over the Indian, was owing almost as much to the horse as to the knowledge of firearms. In fact, next to the want of iron, the want of horses is, perhaps, one ,of the greatest physical obstacles to the advancement of the arts of civilized life. During the age of chivalry, no knight or gentleman would ride upon a mare, as it was thought dishonorable and degrading. No sufficient reason has been assigned for this singular custom. During that time, the breeds of horses most in repute, were those of Normandy and Flanders, from their great size and strength. When gunpowder was invented, however, from the heavy coats of mail being laid aside, this description of horse was consigned to the wagoner, and sedulous attention paid to animals of a lighter and more active character. Various tables have at different times been drawn up, as to the proper proportions of a horse, none of which have been found correct. The celebrated English horse .Eclipse was neither handsome nor well proportioned, according to these rules, yet for speed and strength, the mechanism of his frame was almost perfect. An old writer, Camerarius, says, a perfect horse should have the breast broad, the hips round, and the mane long, the countenance fierce like a lion, a nose like a sheep, the head, legs and skin of a deer, the throat and neck of a wolf, and the ear and tail of a fox. The other species of this genus are the ass (E. asinus), the zebra (E. zebra), the quagga (q. v.) (jp. quagga, Gm.), and the wild mule (E. hemionos). This animal, in its size and general appearance, is not unlike the common mule, the progeny of the horse and ass. Its head is large, forehead flat, becoming narrow towards the extremity of the nose ; ears longer than those of the horse, and lined with a thick coat of whitish hair. The limbs are long and finely shaped. There is an oval callus within the fore legs, but none on the hinder. The hoofs are small, smooth and black ; the tail naked for one half of its length, and covered on the other by long hairs. The hair is of a brown ash color, very long in winter, but short in summer. There is a blackish testaceous line extending from the mane along the ridge of the back to the tail. The height of this animal is about three feet nine inches; length six feet. It was well known to the ancient naturalists. Aristotle, who terms it hemionos or half ass, says it was found in Syria; and Pliny, on the authority of Theophrastus, says it also occurred in Cappadocia. It is no longer an inhabitant of these countries, only being found in Tartary, where they chiefly frequent the country around the lake Tancnoor. They live in herds, consisting of mares and colts, with an old male: these herds seldom contain more than 20. The foal attains its growth in its third year, at which time the males expel them from the troop. Their neigh is louder than that of the horse. They are very timid and cautious, stationing sentinels whilst they are feeding. They are amazingly swift, even outstripping the antelope. The Tartars often take them alive when young, but have never been able to domesticate them. They are usually killed or taken in rainy or stormy weather, at which time they are less shy. The Mongol and other Tartar tribes prefer their flesh to any other food. (See Ass.) Horse Poiver. A horse's' power of draught or carriage, of course, diminishes as his speed increases. The proportion of diminution, according to professor Leslie, is as follows: If we represent his force when moving at the rate of 2 miles an hour by the number 100, his force at 3 miles per hour will be 81; at 4 miles, 64;. at 5 miles, 49; at 6 miles, 36 ; which results agree pretty nearly with the observations of Mr. Wood (Treatise on RailRoads, page 239). At his height of speed, of course, he can carry only his own weight. A horse draws to the greatest advantage when the line of draught inclines a little upwards. Desaguiiers and Smeaton consider the force of one horse equal to that of five men, but writers differ on this subject. The measure of a horse's power, as the standard of the power of machinery, given by Mr. Watt, is, that he can raise a weight of 33,000 pounds to the height of one loot in a minute. Care should be taken, when a horse draws in a mill, or an engine of any kind in which he moves in a circle, that the circle be large; for, since he pulls obliquely, and advances sideways as well as forwards, his fatigue is greater as the circle is smaller. In some ferryboats and machinery, horses are placed on a revolving platform, which passes backward by the pressure of their feet as they pull forward against a fixed resistance, so that they propel the machinery without moving from their place. A horse may act within still narrower limits, if he stands on. the circumference of a large vertical wheel, or on a bridge supported by endless chains, which pass round two drums, and are otherwise supported by friction wheels. Various other mod^s of applying the force of animals are practised, but most of them are attended witty great loss of power, either from friction or from the unfavorable position of the animal.