The horses and their congeners
Unlike the heavy-weight tapirs and moreover the rhinos, the perissodactyl “neighbors” according to the “evolutionary tree” have always been the horses, which symbolize the beauty and precipitation. High-legged, long-necked, big eyes and wide smellers – all this describes them being tireless runners. And indeed, the horse representatives are able to run 50-60km/hour for several hours. During the close-ins they can gallop up to 75-80km/hour.
Most species of this kind inhabit the open dry spaces. The wildwood is not an appropriate place for speed performances. The African savannas are inhabited by the zebras, the species of which are distinguished by the number of stripes on the body: the Grevy zebra has got the bushiest stripes, and the poorest number of stripes has Burchell’s zebra. Before the middle of the XIX century the steppe zebra had least number of stripes (that were only present on the neck). It was native to the semi-desert in South Africa.
The wild ass unlike the domesticated is slender, long-legged creature that lived in the northern part of the African continent (you can only find it in the Ethiopic highlands). It has got a dark “belt” over its back and the transversal strips on the shoulders. You can see zebra-like stripes over the light-colored legs. The South-Asian plain and mountainous deserts are inhabited by the dziggetai, which is something between the wild ass and the horse. It is the most fast-running and the strongest among all the wild horses.
There were also tarpans that lived to the northern part, in the semi-deserts, grasslands and forestlands all over Europe and Asia. The domesticated horses came out of them. All the areas, except the Central Asia, where the stepped and silvan tarpans lived were killed between the XVII-XIX centuries. And only the remote deserted areas in Xinjiang you can still find several Junggar tarpans, which is more known like Przewalksi’s wild horse. By the way, all wild horses had a short, stand-up mane, and the falling-off mane is the result of the horse-breeders’ selection job.
All the horses and their congeners are public animals. They graze in small herds. The head of the herd is the strongest stallion. It is the first one to come up to the water-hole sharply observing the surroundings and during the herding jerks up its head or rises to the top of the hill to pre-see the danger. The adult mares and their colts, as well as foals keep the stallion’s side. The colts aged over 3 are expelled from the herd and they go their own stag herds.
When one of the stag stallions matures enough and feels like it is capable to form its own herd, it abandons its comrades and goes for a meet match with other stallions.
During the big moves, when the animals cannot but leave the herding place because of the droughts and search for other water places, the herds then gather into a bigger drove of horses. In the early days, the herds of many thousands moved in one direction following the ancient instinct they could get back when the grass turns green and the water-holes are filled up with a life blood. Today, unfortunately, you will no longer see these herds of horses in Asia. You can find them only in the no-man regions in Africa.