Department of Education

Animal Ethics

Animal Ethics

Horses


Varietal range difference

There is a range of breeds in use in Australia. These can be classified according to activity:

  • Olympic disciplines, e.g. Thoroughbred/Warmblood;
  • Hacking/show ring, e.g. Thoroughbred/Pony/Arab;
  • Racing, e.g. Thoroughbred and Standardbred;
  • Farm work, e.g. Stockhorse; and
  • Endurance riding, e.g. Arab.

Physical characteristics

Size at the withers varies between breeds; Shetland, about 8 hands, draught breed, 16-20 hands (1 hand = 100mm)
Weight varies with breed: for example, 130kg (miniature horse) = 900kg (Percheron)
Age at adult size 4 years, but variation between breeds
Average life span 25-35 years
Weight at birth Shetland 30kg, draught 100kg
Gestation period 320-345 days (average 335)
Number of offspring normally one; twins are rare and associated with low survival rates
Range of breeding ages mares 3-15 years
Weaning age 6-9 months
Body temperature 38°C
Heart rate 30-40 beats/minute
Respiration rate 12 breaths/minute; variations between individuals
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Horses
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