Horses are herbivores, feeding mainly on fibrous forages such as grass. When necessary, they also eat other foods of plant origin, such as leaves, fruits, and bark, but are usually grazers rather than animals that pluck branches or leaves. Unlike ruminants, with their complex systems of stomachs, equine animals break down cellulose in the “cecum”, part of the colon. Their dentition formula is near-perfect, with the incisors that cut for chewing, and the molars for crushing food growing behind the crevices.

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Horses are animals that live in groups. Horses along with plains and mountain zebras generally have stable herds of one male and one female, with the remaining males forming small “single” herds. Other species form swarms of a transient nature, lasting only a few months, of which are either mixed or monogamous. In both cases, a clear hierarchy is established among individuals, usually with the dominant female controlling access to food and water resources and the dominant male controlling the opportunities. mating.

Ovulation in females is generally one egg, although about 24-26% is multiple (of which 99% is two eggs). Generally, the interval between ovulations is 1 day. Levels of progesterone (the sex hormone that maintains pregnancy) will increase after the second ovulation. After mating and becoming pregnant for about 11 months, the females will give birth, usually just one young. Juveniles are able to walk only about 1 hour after birth and they are breastfed by their mothers for about 4 to 13 months (domesticated equine animals generally breastfeed less frequently). Depending on species, living conditions and other factors, females in the wild will give birth every 1 or 2 years.

In temperate regions, non-pregnant females of equine animals generally have a seasonal estrus cycle, from early spring to autumn. Most females will go into estrus during the winter and are therefore unable to conceive during this period. The reproductive cycle is controlled by the photoperiod (duration of day), with estrus being stimulated as the length of the day lengthens. Termination of estrus prevents females from conceiving during the winter months, as it makes the survival of the young very low during the most inhospitable times of the year. However, when they live near the equator, the variation in day length is so negligible that the females do not have a period of estrus, at least in theory. In addition, for reasons unknown, about 20% of domesticated mares in the Northern Hemisphere are in heat year round, probably due to loss of sensitivity to melatonin.