Horse Lineage to Clydesdales

Throughout history the use of horses for not only motility and trade routes but also as an offence for battle, a handy force in agricultural, and for sport and riding pleasure has been seen around the world??™s countries in many different ways. From these hundreds of registered breeds of horses, ponies, and drafts comes a history unique to every breed that resides in the breeds own homelands. However, even the different species of horses in all shapes and sizes has a common ancestor that unites the characteristics that define the horses globally. Taking the perceived body structure from this prehistoric ancestor through bones and fossil remains, it is hard to see the pathway of adaptations that the horse has taken to become the lovable pintos and ponies that live in our world today. Even more so is that this ancestor had essay writer service???given birth??™ to the draft horses, more than five times their size.
The earliest horse recorded is Eohippus, as stated by The Encyclopedia of the Horse by Elwyn Hartley Edwards (1994), the Dawn Horse that roamed the Americas as a browser some 60 million years ago, even before the dawn of mankind. Very unlike the modern day horses, Eohippus was small, only 14 inches tall, and was a four toed animal thought to look more deer like, with light brown coloring, and spots covering its coat. To combat changing habitat and atmosphere??™s the species grew slowly; evolving into Mesohippus, a three toed ancestor that lived 35 to 40 million years ago. This ancestor was relatively bigger, being about 18 inches tall, and had the beginnings of premolar or incisor teeth. Therefore Mesohippus could live off of a greater variety of foliage, though this species is still classified as browsers. These loss of toes, are thought to be an adaption to the change of ground conditions of through the time periods, as the glaciers moved in the ground became firmer, and a new body structures were needed.
Between Mesohippus and the next more important ancestor the species grew in height to increase motility for migrations and survival. Also, the eye placement on the face adapted farther to the side when the skull enlarged to improve the animal??™s lateral vision. Not to mention their spotting all but disappeared due to all of these adaptations had improved the species defensive systems. Merychippus, also a three toed ancestor grew to the height of about 30 inches and was finally the size of a small pony; this creature came about between the periods of 20 to 25 million years ago and became the first grazers of the species having their teeth fully adapted to the grinding motion of a grazer. The line of horses finally had a one toed ancestor about six million years ago, Pliohippus. Pliohippus is also the ancestor for the relations to the horses: the donkey, zebras, and wild asses.
From the Americas this ancestor spread itself over the land masses using naturally occurring land bridges. Into Europe, Asia, and Africa and remained until the end of the Ice Age in 9000 B.C. However, because of the disappearances of the land bridges the isolated horse populations in North America unexpectedly and unanswerably became extinct on this continent until the reintroduction of horses by the Spanish in the 16th century. From the remaining population of Pliohippus and the first true Equus ancestor sprung several geographical separations that would eventually build the breeds that began in different the different areas. For the tundra that lied in the north, The Tundra Horse was its inhabitant; for the more eastern continental horses, especially Asia, The Asian Wild Horse became the ancestor; and for the European area came the ancestor for the modern day draft horses and the heavier horse breeds, The Forest Horse. The Forest Horse itself was thick legged and heavy bodied, being about 14 to 15 hands tall and weighing about 1200 pounds giving a prelude to its predecessor??™s build and temperament.
To help the draft horse breeds even more significantly in Europe, several adaptations were made by man themselves. The horse species has helped the development of mankind significantly in their advancements in agricultural farm work, transportation of product, and more importantly for man??™s battle mounts. As told in Donald Braider??™s The Life, History, and Magic of The Horse (1973), due to the religious crusades and the development of the kingdoms knights, horses were relied upon extremely heavily because the Knight (Quoted from Braider) ??? was trebly vulnerable when deprived of his means of transport.??™ No wonder really, when the armor the cavalry wore was so thick and incredibly heavy, weighing about 700 pounds, that not only had the knights lost the ability to move in such armor but also that any normal horse would only be able to carry the night briefly and at a short distance. To combat this, the steeds had to be agile, speedy, and have a great endurance and strength to not only transport the knight in their full armor but to go to battle with them as well.
From here the lines of Clydesdales can be traced into history. Defined by The Concise Oxford English Dictionary 12th edition, the Clydesdale is ???a horse of a heavy, powerful breed, used for pulling heavy loads.??™ However, even this breed was formed from the mixed blood of other breeds already established. The Clydesdales origin, as stated from the article ???Local horse center specializes in Clydesdales??? taken from the Lodi News-Sentinel a California newspaper (Aug 2009), can be traced back to its first breeding on Scottish farms more than 200 years ago. A look at the Clydesdale entry in the Britannica Concise Encyclopedia confirms that the breed was originally from the Lanarkshire region of Scotland, near the river Clyde, and was introduced to America in 1842 where the breed became popular. The newspaper article goes on to state that this horse breed specifically came about and became popular due to its ant-like strength and their ability to pull and carry objects many more times its own weight. It is smaller than the normal draft horse, but the highlands needed a smaller breed of drafts for the hilly regions.
The functionality of the breed is solid, but there is some speculation as to what kind of blood was mixed to produce the Clydesdale breed. From Arthur Vernon??™s The History and Romance of the Horse (1974), the use of only Flemish blood was used in the development of the breed, noting that the Flemish horses were also very popular throughout Europe at that time. This entry noted that the Clydesdale is less of a usual draft horse, having the tufts of white hair that begin below the breeds knee, which suggest that these horses were more often than not, not used for agricultural purposes and used instead for more city life and transportation. Another argument that is more commonly accepted is that the Clydesdale breed began using Flemish blood but then Shire blood, also known as the English Black, was heavily introduced into the breed. Another draft horse from the same region, the Shire horses were used more for carriages and beer carts than for farm work. Facts from The Spirit of the Horse (2006) by Bob Langrish and Nicola Swinney, states that the Clydesdale or Clydesman??™s Horse is simply ???the scaled-down version??™ with the Shire breed being a close cousin. It also notes that the Shire blood was closely integrated upon the establishment of the breed, being reintroduced in the nineteenth century by the two breeders Lawrence Drew and David Liddell, who at the time thought the Clydesdale and Shire horses were the same breed and actually better helped refine the breed.

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