The natural habitat of horses varies widely; these large, warm-blooded mammals thrive in lush valleys, on mountainsides, desert plateaus and grassy plains. As horses do not climb trees or build nests, they stay away from forests and underground environments such as caves and dens. However, they are quite adaptable to their surroundings, and they develop important traits to survive in their environments.
Upon arriving in the United States, 16th century Spanish explorers brought a wealth of new goods and animals, including horses. Many of these animals were domesticated, but inevitably some escaped the confines of pens and farm fences, and they set off for the rugged grassy plains of the American West. The earliest horses thrived in wide, open plains. Horses are herbivores, feeding primarily on grasses, shoots, seedlings and plants. Native horses found abundant food supplies in the fertile valleys of the West and plenty of room to roam. The development of the West, however, drove wild horses to other locations, including deserts. Desert climates were suboptimal for early horses, as they were characterized by rough, rocky terrain and limited food and water supplies. However, the hardiest horses adapted, and wild breeds still live in desert locales. Others thrive in mountains, roaming from base foothills to sub-alpine elevations, feeding on vegetation and drinking from spring-fed streams.Learn More
According the Bureau of Land Management, feral horses can be found in Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, Montana and North Carolina. Modern horses are descended from species that originated in Eastern Europe, Asia and Mongolia, and wild specimens still live in these regions.Full Answer >
Horses are herbivores because they eat primary producers. Primary producers are organisms that are able to produce their own food using chemical energy or energy from the sun.Full Answer >
Horses primarily eat hay and grass, with grains like corn or oats added for extra calories. Horses are also provided with salt, either added into a concentrate mix of grains, flax seed, beet pulp, bran and molasses or separately as a salt block in the pasture. Horses also receive treats in the form of apples, carrots and sugar. Some horses occasionally enjoy a bite of meat.Full Answer >
Horses communicate through body language. Horses grazing in a pasture can pick up on another horse's emotions through subtle changes in movement or stance. A dominant horse lifts its head with its chin up and its ears folded back to tell another horse to move. The dominant horse lunges forward if the other horse does not follow the orders.Full Answer >