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Portal:Horses

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Horses

Horse and foal
The horse (Equus ferus caballus) is a hoofed (ungulate) mammal, a subspecies of one of seven extant species of the family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today. Humans began to domesticate horses around 4000 BC, and their domestication is believed to have been widespread by 3000 BC; by 2000 BC the use of domesticated horses had spread throughout the Eurasian continent. Although most horses today are domesticated, there are still populations of wild and feral horses. There are over 300 breeds of horses in the world today, developed for many different uses.

The horses anatomy enables them to make use of speed to escape predators and they have a well-developed sense of balance and a strong fight-or-flight instinct. Related to this need to flee from predators in the wild is an unusual trait: horses are able to sleep both standing up and lying down. Horses and humans interact in many ways, including a wide variety of sport competitions, non-competitive recreational pursuits and working activities. A wide variety of riding and driving techniques have been developed, using many different styles of equipment and methods of control. Many products are derived from horses, including meat, milk, hide, hair, bone, and pharmaceuticals extracted from the urine of pregnant mares.

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The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) is a nonprofit organization focused on preserving and promoting genetic diversity among rare breeds of livestock. Founded in 1977, the ALBC was the pioneer livestock preservation organization in the United States. It has since initiated programs that have saved multiple breeds from extinction and works closely with similar organizations in other countries, including the British Rare Breeds Survival Trust. The ALBC has published several books on rare breed livestock and maintains a classified advertisement system for rare breed enthusiasts.

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Two young Nokota mares
The Nokota horse is a feral and semi-feral horse breed located in the badlands of southwestern North Dakota in the United States. The breed developed in the 1800s from foundation bloodstock consisting of ranch-bred horses produced from local Indian horses mixed with Spanish horses, Thoroughbreds, harness horses and related breeds. The Nokota was almost wiped out during the early 1900s when ranchers, in cooperation with state and federal agencies, worked together to reduce competition for livestock grazing. However, when Theodore Roosevelt National Park was created in the 1940s, a few bands were inadvertently trapped inside, and thus were preserved. Today, the park conducts regular thinning of the herd to keep numbers between 70 and 110, and the excess horses are sold off. In the late 1970s, brothers Leo and Frank Kuntz began purchasing the horses with the aim of preserving the breed, and in 1999 started the Nokota Horse Conservancy, later beginning a breed registry through the same organization. Later, a separate breed registry was begun by another organization in Minnesota.

The Nokota horse has an angular frame, is commonly blue roan in color, and often exhibits an ambling gait called the "Indian shuffle". The breed is generally separated into two sections, the traditional and the ranch type, which differ slightly in conformation and height. They are used in many events, including endurance riding, western riding and English disciplines.

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Tambo valley races 2006 edit.jpg
Credit: User:Fir0002

A Thoroughbred race in Tambo Valley in Australia. Horse racing is an equestrian sport that has been practiced over the centuries; the chariot races of Roman times are an early example. The common sobriquet for Thoroughbred horse racing is "The Sport of Kings".

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