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The Horse

The horse gallops all around,
It lifts its feet up off the ground;
Its mane is flowing,
Its head is high,
See the horse gallop by?

- Ellen Baumwoll


Directions: Print out the animal picture and color. Cut out the pictures by cutting on the solid lines and dotted lines. Assemble the picture by connecting each end of the base piece with double-sided or scotch tape so the picture stands up. Print out the page with the poem and the facts and place it in your own poem book. Illustrate the poem. Write your own story or poem and add it to your poem book.

Horse Facts.

Horses belong to an order of mammals, Equus caballus, with odd-toed hoofs and teeth that are modified for chewing. They have short hair, a long mane, and a long tail. The horse family includes more than 200 breeds of domestic horse, zebras, and asses all believed to be descendants of Przewalski's horse, the only truly wild horse in the world today.

All members of the horse family feed on plant matter. They usually graze all day long on grass rather than leaves but individual species may also eat herbs, buds, fruit, bulbs, roots, branches, foliage, shrubby trees, hay, and a mixture of oats, barley, corn, and bran. Speed is the main defense of all horse species. They communicate through a soft nickering to a loud whinny and may snort and squeal as they fight. Their ears and mouth reveal their mood. Ears strained forward usually indicate fear. Alert and upright, with mouth slightly open, is a friendly greeting. Pressed back, possibly with the mouth open, is a threat gesture. A horse shows submission by holding down its ears while making nibbling movements with its mouth. Horses shed their thick coats of hair in the spring. They can see forward, sideways, and even backwards because their eyes are on the side of their heads. They have such a well-developed sense of hearing and smell that they know something is near before they can see it.

Until it is a year old, a horse is called a foal. A female horse is called a mare. A male horse that is used in breeding is called a stallion. A young stallion is a colt and a young mare is a filly. A gelding is a male horse that has been castrated and cannot be used for breeding. A year old horse is called a yearling. A horse is not considered full grown until it is five years old.

Members of the horse family are herd animals. When isolated or alone, a horse often becomes depressed. In the wild, horses usually live in herds and are led by a dominant stallion (male) who fights off rival males and mates with his mares (females). Mustangs are wild horses. Horses have been domesticated since ancient times by man for work and for pleasure.