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Horses and Innate Behaviour

            Horses originate in many different sizes and colors and have a life span of between 25 – 30 years. The four natural paces for the horse are the walk, trot, canter and gallop. Horses genus is Equus, Equus comes from the ancient Greek word meaning quickness. The following terminology is used to describe horses of various ages: colt, filly, foal, gelding, mare, stallion and yearling. The innate behaviors that horses are born with, meaning behaviours referred to as natural, are suckling, standing, running and neighing. These behaviors tend to be nearly complete the first time they are expressed. Horses have specific dietary needs because they are herbivores and have a unique digestive system. Horses are a non-ruminant herbivore. Non-ruminant means that horses don't have multi-compartmented stomachs as cattle do. Instead, the horse has a simple stomach that works much like a human's. Their digestive system requires a high-fiber diet that is consumed in small amounts over a long time. Some of the foods they eat include, grass, hay, grains, concentrate mixes, salt and minerals and treats. Horses are prey animals because they're vegetarians therefore they can be preyed upon. Horses are constant herbivores and do not prey on any form of animal.
             Horses generally prefer to stop whatever they are doing to defecate or urinate. Riders should become sensitive to this and make allowances. Horses will often establish an elimination area within a paddock. If possible, they are likely to avoid grazing near that area. Run-in sheds are an important part of horse care even though some horses may not use them. Regardless of the conditions, some horses simply will not use a shelter. Shelter for horses are needed even if not used, shelters could be as simple as a tree. .
             Many of the behavioral problems between species occur because the two species show their mood in different ways. Horses are wonderful at picking up subtle displays of body language because that is how they communicate with each other.

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