Fun Legs

Antero-external view of the anterior limb of a...

Discussing the Horse’s Appendicular Skeleton.

The appendicular skeleton is comprised of the fore and hind limbs.  The fore limbs do not attach to the spine at all, instead they are suspended with muscles and tendons.  Which give the horse more agility so that they can do things like folding up their legs when jumping.  The hind legs attach to the pelvis and even though they support only 40% of the horse’s weight, they produce the most forward motion and the stabilization attachments to the spine.  So the next time you are with a horse, think about this and don’t forget to have fun!

Happy and Healthy

Concerning  Horse’s Diet.

English: A buckskin Dole Gudbrandsdal horse &q...

English: A buckskin Dole Gudbrandsdal horse “Norlys” grazing. Français : Un cheval Dole-gudsbrandsdal à robe Isabelle broute. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Obviously, the most natural thing that a horse can consume is green grass.  It is also the most nutritious thing a horse can ingest.  Grass contains Silica, which promotes dental, hoof,  and bone health.  For most people, it is hard to find fresh green grass in the winter.  These people can buy their horses hay.  Although good hay can be quite nutritious, it still does not have as many health qualities as fresh grass.  Some people supplement their horses with grains, oats being the traditional choice.  Horses can also eat (good) corn but grass seed heads are the closest thing to what horses eat in the wild.  When it comes to grains (or any other food) fresher is better. With all the processing going on nowadays grains can lose much of their nutritional value such as silica.  You can also get your horse concentrate mixes.  These mixes contain things like flax, beet pulp, molasses, bran, vitamins, and minerals, usually to make up the shortcomings in your horse’s diet such as in the winter when the horse is not getting much grass or to give the horse energy.  It is also a good idea to give this mixture to pregnant mares to keep their health up so that their foals will most likely be healthy.  You can also give your horse salts and minerals in the form of a salt block so that your horse can satisfy its cravings whenever it wants.  Just for a little fun fact, reports have shown that horses will usually crave salt more in the summer than in the winter.  So keep your horse happy, healthy, and content with a good diet and plenty of exercise.   

Deserving Good

English: cat and dry food

English: cat and dry food (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Concerning Cat’s Diet

Being Carnivorous, cats eat a variety of birds, mice and other animals.  Although they ARE carnivores cats also ingest grass. Usually they do this to rid themselves of something irritating in their stomachs, but sometimes cats just like the flavor of grass.  Regarding food, there are two kinds of food which you can buy your cat, canned and dry.  Canned food is relatively easy to store and the best kinds are very nutritious but are also exorbitantly priced. While dry food is less expensive it is low in fat and believed to cause bladder disorders in older cats.  So if you don’t want an unpleasant surprise, look into your cat’s food and make sure to get good stuff.  Your cat deserves it!

Long and Lucky

English: Young male tabby cat

English: Young male tabby cat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Domestication of Cats

When where cats first domesticated?  Apparently most people think it happened in the Middle East.  Ancient Egyptians (who also worshipped cats) kept cats to keep the gluttonous mice from devouring their grain stores.  Around that time traders brought cats to Italy where they were lovingly accepted. Soon all of Europe wanted cats and they even made their way to America via ships.  People who own cats are very lucky, because cats are usually good natured and long living.

Ultimate Bones

Mounted skeleton of an Arabian horse

Mounted skeleton of an Arabian horse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Regarding the Horse’s Axial Skeleton

The axial skeleton is the part of the horse’s endoskeleton* that contains the skull, vertebrae column, sternum, and ribs.  If you are not familiar with the skull, ribs, ect, this is what they are composed of.  The skull has 34 bones and 4 cavities, the cranial cavity, the orbital cavity, the nasal cavity, and the oral cavity.  The cranial cavity encloses and protects the brain. While the Orbital cavity surrounds and protects the eye, the oral cavity is a passage to the respiratory system and the digestive system, and finally, the nasal cavity leads to the respiratory system and also includes the extensive pericardial sinus.  Moving along, the vertebral column has about 54 bones including 7 cervical (neck) vertebrae, the atlas and axis which support and move the skull, 18-19 thoracic (the vertebrae that the spine is mostly made from) vertebrae, 5-6 lumbar (lower back)  vertebrae, and 15-16 caudal (tail) vertebrae.  Although, the number can be different according to different breeds of horses.  The Arabian for example only has 5 lumbar vertebrae, and 16 cervical vertebrae.  The sternum is located on the back of the pelvis and is the part that the backbone attaches to, usually having one or two of the lumbar vertebrae fused to it.  And ultimately, the ribs,  horses usually have 18 pairs of ribs but the Arabian has 17 pairs.  The ribs are used to enclose and protect the vital organs such as the heart and lungs.  So the next time you see a horse, think about all the interesting things I have told you today and make sure to check out next week’s blog about the horse’s Appendicular skeleton.

*A skeleton on the inside of a creature’s body.

Playing Predators

Concerning Cat’s Playtime.

English: Cat Play-fight

English: Cat Play-fight (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cats, being carnivores, (which are the most playful mammals) base their play on rehearsing the skills they need to survive as a predator such as hunting, fighting, and killing.  When kittens play chase, they play the roles of pursuer and pursued switching frequently and learning the life of a predator. Obviously sometimes a kitten might get a meager scratch or bite but it is rare that they would get injured during play.  Playing, cats are never scared or distressed and it is obvious that cats enjoy interacting in this way.  If you only have one cat, make sure that your cat is not bored by giving it toys or letting it outside.

Horses Pumping Frogs

Discussing the Equine Heart.

The frog is triangular in shape.

The frog is triangular in shape. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A horse’s heart has a more rounded shape that a human heart and is also smaller compared to the horse’s size than a human’s.  The horse heart is composed of four sections, the left and right atria and the left and right ventricles.  When a horse reaches  maturity its heart usually weighs 7.5 lbs, but it can weigh as much as  twice that amount.  The horse heart grows until the horse reaches four years of age, but sometimes (usually because of a condition) the horse’s heart might grow a little more.  There is a component on the horse’s hoof called a “frog”.   Located in the digital cushion, the frog aids the heart by helping to pump the blood up the leg.  How this works is when the horse walks, (trots, canters, gallops, ect.)  the frog is compressed against the ground and shoots the blood up the leg.  That is why a horse can go lame if it stands around all day and doesn’t get enough exercise.  The heart is not strong enough to pump all the blood up the horse’s long legs, and consequently the horse will go lame. Usually in the back legs first as horses tend to move their front legs more.  So make sure your horse gets enough exercise and ride often to get that frog pumping to ensure your  horse’s health.

Dream Twitching

Concerning Cats Sleep Cycles.

English: An adopted stray cat, breed unknown, ...

English: An adopted stray cat, breed unknown, yawning and showing off its teeth and tongue.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cats can sleep up to 16 hours a day, but, when they wake up they do an interesting ritual. Immediately after waking up, cats usually yawn. (Although other animals like dogs tend to yawn when nervous, this does not apply to cats.) After yawning, cats,  which are very flexible, do a series of stretches flexing their necks, legs, paws, and back.  And finally, they groom themselves.  By the way, did you know that cats have two modes of catnapping?  Light sleep and deep sleep. In light sleep the cat can easily be aroused and in deep sleep the cat can flex, twitch, and dream.  I know that cats flex, twitch, ect.   But I know for a fact that some cats sleep more than sixteen hours a day!

Cute Bites?

The sense of touch in an equine.

Chevaux de Przewalski sur le causse Méjean en ...

Wild horses interacting  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The sense of touch is an important but usually overlooked element in the lifestyle of a horse.  Most people think that horses have a thick tough hide.  But they really do not.  Although tougher than the human epidermis, horse’s skin is rich in nerve endings.  If you watch horses interacting, you will see lots of evidence that horses communicate using touch.  Mares reassure their foals with a brush of the muzzle, friends scratch each others backs with their teeth, and sometimes horses just stand next to each other for comfort and/or support.  When interacting with humans, a rub, pat, or massage in the right place will tell the horse that the human is his friend  and sometimes the horse will respond.  Which is cute when the  horse nuzzles or sniffs you, but is not so cute if the horse bites or stomps you.