Equine Utility

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Equine population of India. Horses, donkeys and mules and their utility. :

Equine population of India. Horses, donkeys and mules and their utility.


Horse L ast farm animal domesticated, first in central Asia or Persia , more than 3000 years B.C Species Equus caballus , the horse is distinguished from asses and zebras by the longer hair of the mane and tail , the presence of “chestnut” on the inner side of the hind leg and by other less constant characters such as larger size, larger hoofs, more arched neck and smaller head and short ears.


Horse is a single-hooved (ungulate) mammal belonging to the taxonomic family   Equidae The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years Humans began to domesticate horses around 4000 BC , and their domestication is believed to have been widespread by 3000 BC. Among all domestic animals horses occupy unique position in Olympic games.


Horse Donkey Mule Kingdom Animalia Animalia Animalia Phylum Chordate Chordate Chordate Class Mammalian Mammalian Mammalian Sub-class Eutheria Eutheria Eutheria Order Ungulate Ungulate Ungulate Sub-order Perissodactyla Perissodactyla Perissodactyla Family Equidae Equidae Equidae Genus Equus Equus Equus Species Caballus Asinus Zoological name Equus caballus Equus asinus E. caballus + E. asinus


Utility Men first use the horse as source of food , these animals being hunted by palectithic (Old Stone Age) man. This was prior to their domestication. Also, the use of horses for meat still persists in many part of the world, including France, Belgium and Switzerland. Horses, ponies, mules and donkeys are the most valuable pack animals for transportation of men and material in the plains of northern and north‑western regions, in the hills and foothills as well as in the semi‑arid regions and many other parts of India. Horses are widely used for races, polo, equestrian sports, hunting and various other purposes. Horses are also used by the army, paramilitary forces and the police for mobility, patrolling and riot control duties.


The donkey is an important animal in the economy of landless labourers , small and marginal farmers and other poorer sections of the society, both in rural and urban areas. Mules have their use both in military establishments and civilian occupations. In the medical field horses are used as a factory for the manufacture of antitoxins that are used for rendering animals and people immune to certain diseases such as tetanus. U sed as food, pack, race, game animal. Donkey and mules used in army

Terminology Used In Equine Production:

Terminology Used In Equine Production Group of Animals - Pack Adult male - Stallion Young male - Colt Young female - Filly New born - Foal Castrated male - Gelding Castrated female - Spayed Female with its offspring - Foal at foot Act of parturition - Foaling Act of mating - Covering Brood mare - Female horse used for breeding Broken horse - Well trained horse Cob - Short legged stocky horse Aged horse – More than 8 years Yearlings - 1– 2 years of age Whaler - Australians addle horse.


Thoroughbred horse - Horses whose immediate ancestors are used with stallion and mares record. Mainly used for racing and crossbreeding programmes . They are registered with Jockey club. Pure bred Horse - Entered in stud book maintained by a breed society Halt – bred Horse - Race horse with no pedigree Light horses - Used mainly for riding, driving, and racing. They measure 14.2 – 17 hands at withers , weigh about 408 – 635 kg. Ponies - Measures under 14.2 hands. Weighed 136 – 400 kg. Mainly used for riding and driving. 1 Hand = 4 inches (10.16 cm) 


Jack - Male ass is called jack. Jack is crossed with a mare and the resulting offspring is called mule. (Mules are usually sterile) Jennet - Female ass is called Jennet. When a stallion is crossed with a jennet, a resulting offspring is called hinny. Hinny is smaller in size than mule.


Bishoping - The practice of artificially altering the teeth of older horses in an attempt to make them to sell as young horses. Blemishes - Those abnormalities that do not affect the service ability of the horse, including shoe boils and capped hocks. Blood horse - A pedigree horse Blood spavin - Varicose vein enlargement which appears on the inside of the hock. Bolting - Habit of horses of eating too fast


Colic - Severe ingestion which causes abdominal discomfort and pain Doping - The administering of a drug to a horse to increase or decrease his speed in a race. Race course officials run saliva test, and urine test to detect whether any horses have been doped . Usually such test are conducted on the winners of every racehorse.


Gymkhana - A program of games on horseback Laminitis / Founder - Inflammation of sensitive laminae under the horny wall of the hoot. Quarter crack – A vertical split in the horny wall of the inside hoof, which extends from the coronet. Quittor – A deep seated running sore which occurs on the coronet bar or hoof head. Run / gallop - Fast, four beat gait of horse Stud - Male horse kept for breeding. Stud book - The permanent book for breeding records. Whinny - The horse’s sound that denotes happiness

Reproductive parameter of Horse & Donkey:

Reproductive parameter of Horse & Donkey S.no Parameter Horse Donkey 1 Age of puberty (months) 15-24 2 Breeding life (Years) 18 ± 2 3 Gestation period (days) 336 ± 5 (340) 360-375 4 Length of oestrus cycle (days) 21 ± 5 20-26 5 Length of oestrus (days) 6 ± 4 2-10 6 Time of ovulation (days) 5 th day of heat 7 Optimum time for service 2 nd – 5 th day of heat, Repeat 2 days later still on heat. 8 First heat after foaling (days) 7-8 days 17-18 9 Sex ratio 1: 30-40 10 Best breeding season Early spring

Physiological parameter of horse:

Physiological parameter of horse S.no Parameter Range/ Average 1 Normal temperature 99.5 -101.3 0 F 2 Respiration rate / min 8-16 3 Heart rate / min 32-44


It is considered that asses are of purely African origin. The ass was first domesticated in the valley of the Nile . Three wild races of asses were observed: North-East African race (Nubia) North-East African race (Sudan) and Somalian race (Somali-land). Donkeys

Features of Donkeys:

Features of Donkeys The greatest contribution to AH by Asses is production of mules. Mules fit well in different agricultural operations.


Jacks and their mule offspring have well-muscled, broader loins, long and well sprung ribs. Consequently, they can take more abuse and punishment than the horse. Jacks also have a characteristic bray, which is a decidedly in contrast to the hinny of the horse.

Types of Donkeys:

Types of Donkeys The modern domesticated asses have mainly descended from the Nubian race. Though grey colour predominates but black, white and even piebald asses can be seen. FAO has reported 3 distinct types of Indian asses viz. Indian ass, Indian wild ass and Kiang. Indian wild asses are available in Rann of Kutch while Kiang are available in Sikkim and Laddakh .


Indian Ass Indian Wild Ass Kiang Ass Kiangs are dark red brown with white under parts and patch behind the shoulder. Among Indian, two major types of donkeys i.e. those of larger size and smaller size are common. The larger size donkeys are light grey to almost white in colour . The smaller size ones are dark grey in colour . Good quality donkey stallions of exotic breed obtained from France and other European countries are maintained by NRCE, State AHD of Haryana and UP, and at Equine Breeding Farms of the Army .


MULES These are hybrid born out of male donkey (JACK) and the horse mare . The production of mules involves three steps including breeding of jack stock for use as stallion, breeding of the horse mares and crossing of jack with mare. One of the difficulties in mule production is to locate a fertile jack that can serve the horse mare. The mules are usually produced for draught purposes. The mules are most useful as draught, pack and transport animals particularly in difficult terrains including hills .


The mule combines some of the superior qualities of both the species. It has size, speed, strength and spirit of the horse and surefooted-ness, lack of excitability, endurance and ability to thrive on poor food of donkey. The draught mules stand from 155-172 cm in height and weigh from 450-650 kg. There are two distinct types of mules, namely, Mountain Artillery (MA) and General Service (GS) kept by Indian Army. Mountain Artillery mules are used for carrying heavy load and artillery in mountain region and general services mules are used for general transportation.


With its short thick head, long ears, thin limbs, small narrow hooves, and short mane, the mule shares characteristics of a donkey In height and body, shape of neck and croup, uniformity of coat, and teeth, it appears horse-like The mule comes in all sizes, shapes and conformities. There are mules that resemble quarter horses, huge draft mules, fine-boned racing mules, shaggy pony mules and many more types .


SOUND: A mule does not sound exactly like a donkey or a horse. Instead, a mule makes a sound that is similar to a donkey's but also has the whinnying characteristics of a horse (often starts with a whinny, ends in a hee-haw). Sometimes, mules whimper. COLOUR: The coats of mules come in the same varieties as those of horses . Common colors are bay, black, and grey. Less common are white, roans (both blue and red), dun. BEHAVIOUR: The mule possesses the sobriety, patience, endurance and sure-footedness of the donkey, and the vigour , strength and courage of the horse. WORK: Operators of working animals generally find mules preferable to horses: mules show less impatience under the pressure of heavy weights, and their skin, harder and less sensitive than that of horses, renders them more capable of resisting sun and rain. Their hooves are harder than horses', and they show a natural resistance to disease and insects.


Mules exhibit a higher cognitive intelligence than their parent species - horses and donkeys. This is believed to be the result of hybrid vigor , similar to how mules acquire greater height and endurance than either parent. Mules are highly intelligent. They tend to be curious by nature. A mule generally will not let the rider put it in harm's way. However, the stereotype of the mule as being stubborn is somewhat unfair and inaccurate. Shares the characters of donkey(patience, endurance) and horse( vigour , strength and courage), common colours bay, black and grey.

Classifications of Mules:

Classifications of Mules Historically, mules were classified as draft, sugar, farm, cotton, and pack and mining. Draft and sugar mules were the largest being 17.2 hh (hands high) to 16 hh and 1,600 to 1,150 pounds. Farm and cotton mules were intermediate in size (16 hh to 13.2 hh and 1,250 to 750 pounds). Pack and mining mules were smaller, but could range from 16 hh to 12 hh and 1,350 to 600 pounds. Today mules are classified as draft, pack/work, saddle, driving, jumping, or miniature. The type of mule produced depends on the breed or type of horse and breed or type of donkey used to produce the mule.

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