Puzzle Description: Icelandic horse named Cookie
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The horse (Equus caballus sometimes seen as a subspecies of the Wild Horse, Equus ferus caballus) is a large odd-toed ungulate mammal, one of ten modern species of the genus Equus. Horses have long been one of the most economically important domesticated animals, and have played an important role in the transport of people and cargo for thousands of years. While isolated domestication may have occurred as early as 10,000 years ago, clear evidence of widespread horse use by humans dates to around 2000 BC. Since they were domesticated, selective breeding has resulted in many breeds. Some have been bred so that they can be ridden, usually with a saddle, while other breeds can be harnessed to pull objects like carriages or plows. In some cultures, horses are a source of food, including horse meat and sometimes milk; in other cultures it is taboo to eat them. Today, in wealthy countries, horses are predominantly kept for leisure and sporting pursuits, while they are still used as working animals in many other parts of the world.
Depending on breed, management, and environment, the domestic horse today has an average life expectancy of 25 to 30 years, although many domestic horses live until the ripe old age of 45.
Pregnancy lasts for 11 months and usually results in one foal (male: colt, female: filly). Twins are rare. Horses, particularly colts, may sometimes be physically capable of reproduction at approximately 18 months but in practice are rarely allowed to breed until the age of 2 or 3 years at the earliest. Sexually mature females are called mares and males are stallions. Mares are rarely bred until they are at least 3 years old. Horses are not considered completely grown until an average age of 4 years, though the age of achieving full growth also varies by breed and by individual genetics. Horses specifically bred for sport are generally not entered into competition until the age of 6 because their teeth and muscles are not properly developed. In the strenuous sport of endurance riding, horses are not allowed to compete until they are a full 60 months (5 years) old. However in Spain, the Andalusians and Lipizanners generally commence training at 2 or 3 and continue for years, generally starting to perform at the age of 9 or 10.
The size of horses varies by breed. The cutoff in height between what is considered a horse and a pony is always 14.2 or smaller hands (58 inches, 145 cm), though some smaller horse breeds are considered "horses" regardless of height. Light horses such as Arabians, Morgans, Quarter Horses, Paints and Thoroughbreds usually range in height from 14.0 to 17.0 hands and can weigh up to 1300 lbs (about 600 kg). Heavy or draft horses such as the Clydesdale, Belgian, Percheron, and Shire are usually at least 16.0 to 18.0 hands high and can weigh up to 2000 lbs (about 900 kg). Ponies are no taller than 14.2 hands, but can be much smaller, down to the falabella or shetland, which can be the size of a large dog. The miniature horse is as small as or smaller than either of the aforementioned ponies but are considered to be very small horses rather than ponies despite their size. The difference between a horse and pony is not just a height difference. They have different temperaments and conformation and ponies often have thicker manes and tails.
Evolution of the horse
Hyracotherium, the oldest known ancestor of all modern horses, was only about 8 inches (20 cm) high at the shoulder.Main article: Evolution of the horse
Horses and other equids are odd-toed ungulates of the order Perissodactyla, a relatively ancient group of browsing and grazing animals that first arose less than 10 million years after the dinosaurs became extinct. In the past, this order contained twelve families, but only three families—the horses and related species, tapirs and rhinoceroses—have survived till today. The earliest equids (belonging to the genus Hyracotherium) were found approximately 54 million years to the Eocene period. The Perissodactyls were the dominant group of large terrestrial browsing animals until the Miocene (about 20 million years ago), when even-toed ungulates, with stomachs better adapted to digesting grass, began to out compete them.
The horse as it is known today adapted by evolution to survive in areas of wide-open terrain with sparse vegetation, surviving in an ecosystem where other large grazing animals, especially ruminants, could not. 
Horse evolution was characterized by a reduction in the number of toes, from five per foot, to three per foot, to only one toe per foot (late Miocene 5.3 million years ago); essentially, the animal was standing on tiptoe. One of the first true horse species was the tiny Hyracotherium, which had 4 toes on each front foot (missing the thumb) and 3 toes on each back foot (missing toes 1 and 5). Over about five million years, this early equids evolved into the Orohippus. The 5th fingers vanished, and new grinding teeth evolved. This was significant in that it signaled a transition to improved browsing of tougher plant material, allowing grazing of not just leafy plants but also tougher plains grasses. Thus the proto-horses changed from leaf-eating forest-dwellers to grass-eating inhabitants of the Great Plains.
By the Pleistocene era, as the horse adapted to a drier, prairie environment, the 2nd and 4th toes disappeared on all feet, and horses became bigger. These side toes were shrinking in Hipparion and have vanished in modern horses. All that remains are a set of small vestigial bones on either side of the cannon (metacarpal or metatarsal) bone, known informally as splint bones, which are a frequent source of splints, a common injury in the modern horse.
Domestication of the horse and surviving wild species
Competing theories exist as to the time and place of initial domestication. The earliest evidence for the domestication of the horse comes from Central Asia and dates to approximately 4,500 BC. Archaeological finds such as the Sintashta chariot burials provided unequivocal evidence that the horse was definitely domesticated by 2000 BCE.
Most "wild" horses today are actually feral horses, animals that had domesticated ancestors but were themselves born and live in the wild, often for generations. However, there are also some truly wild horses whose ancestors were never successfully domesticated.
Historical wild species include the Forest Horse (Equus ferus silvaticus, also called the Diluvial Horse), thought to have evolved into Equus ferus germanicus, and may have contributed to the development of the heavy horses of northern Europe, such as Ardennais.
There is a theory that there were additional "proto" horses that developed with adaptations to their environment prior to domestication. There are competing theories, but in addition to the Forest Horse, three other types are thought to have developed:
Przewalski's Horse, the last surviving wild horse speciesA small, sturdy, heavyset pony-sized animal with a heavy hair coat, arising in northern Europe, adapted to cold, damp climates, somewhat resembling today's Shetland pony
A taller, slim, refined and agile animal arising in western Asia, adapted to hot, dry climates, thought to be the progenitor of the modern Arabian horse and Akhal-Teke
A dun-colored, sturdy animal, the size of a large pony, adapted to the cold, dry climates of northern Asia, the predecessor to the Tarpan and Przewalski's Horse.
The tarpan, Equus ferus ferus, became extinct in 1880. Its genetic line is lost, but its phenotype has been recreated by a "breeding back" process, in which living domesticated horses with primitive features were repeatedly interbred. Thanks to the efforts of the brothers Lutz Heck (director of the Berlin zoo) and Heinz Heck (director of Munich Tierpark Hellabrunn), the resulting Wild Polish Horse or Konik more closely resembles the tarpan than any other living horse.
Przewalski's Horse (Equus ferus przewalskii), a rare Asian species, is the only true wild horse alive today. Mongolians know it as the taki, while the Kirghiz people call it a kirtag. Small wild breeding populations of this animal, named after the Russian explorer Przewalski, exist in Mongolia.  There are also small populations maintained at zoos throughout the world.
Other truly wild equids alive today include the zebra and the onager.
Free-roaming mustangs (Utah, 2005)Wild animals, whose ancestors have never undergone domestication, are distinct from feral ones, who had domesticated ancestors but were born and live in the wild. Several populations of feral horses exist, including those in the western United States and Canada (often called "mustangs"), and in parts of Australia ("brumbies") and New Zealand ("Kaimanawa horses"). Isolated feral populations are often named for their geographic location: Namibia has its Namib Desert Horses; the Sorraia lives in Portugal; Sable Island Horses reside in Nova Scotia, Canada; and New Forest ponies have been part of Hampshire, England for a thousand years.
Studies of feral horses have provided useful insights into the behavior of ancestral wild horses, as well as greater understanding of the instincts and behaviors that drive "tame" horses.
Other modern equids
Other members of the horse family include zebras, donkeys, and onagers. The Donkey, Burro or Domestic Ass, Equus asinus, like the horse, has many breeds. A mule is a hybrid of a male ass (jack) and a mare, and is usually infertile. A hinny is the less common hybrid of a female ass (jenny) and a stallion. Breeders have also tried crossing various species of zebra with mares or female asses to produce "zebra mules" (zorses, and zonkeys (also called zedonks)). This will probably remain a novelty hybrid as these individuals tend to inherit some of the undomesticated nature of their zebra parent, but they may inherit the zebra's resistance to nagana pest: zorses, also called zebroids, have been used in Central African game parks for light haulage.
Horses are prey animals with a well-developed Fight-or-flight instinct. Their first response to threat is to flee, although they are known to stand their ground and defend themselves or their offspring in cases where flight is not possible, such as when a foal would be threatened. Through selective breeding, some breeds of horses have been bred to be quite docile, particularly certain large draft horses. However, most light horse riding breeds were developed for speed, agility, alertness and endurance; natural qualities that extend from their wild ancestors.
Horses are herd animals, and become very attached to their species and to humans. They communicate in various ways, such as nickering, grooming, and body language. Some horses will become flighty, and hard to manage if they are away from their herd. This is called being "herd-bound."
Horses within the human economy
Around the world, horses play a role within human economies, for leisure, sport and working purposes. To cite one example, the American Horse Council estimates that horse-related activities have a direct impact on the economy of the United States of over $39 billion, and when indirect spending is considered, the impact is over $102 billion. 
In wealthier, First World, industrialized economies, horses are primarily used in recreational pursuits and competitive sports, though they also have practical uses in police work, cattle ranching, search and rescue, and other duties where terrain or conditions preclude use of motorized vehicles. In poorer, Third World economies, they may also be used for recreational purposes by the elite population, but serve a much wider role in working pursuits including farming, ranching and as a means of transportation. To a very limited extent, they are also still used in warfare, particularly in regions of extremely rugged terrain.
Horses for leisure
Profile of a horsePeople in many nations use horses for leisure. Many people find being around horses soothing and therapeutic and choose to keep horses as companion animals.
Horses for sport
Horses are used in two ways for sports: as mounts for competitors and as competitors themselves. Horses as competitors are trained to be ridden or driven in a particular event. Examples include barrel racing, eventing, horse racing, harness racing, dressage, and show jumping. Although scoring varies by event, most emphasize the horse's speed, maneuverability, obedience and/or precision. Sometimes the equitation of the rider is also considered.
Sports such as polo and horseball use horses as mounts on which the main competitors ride. Although their riders are the primary competitors, horses serve as a necessary part of the game. In medieval jousting, for example, the main goal is for one rider to dismount the other. Although the horse assists this process and requires specialized training to do so, the details of its performance are not judged, only the result of the rider's actions.
The most widely-known use of horses for sport is horse racing, seen in almost every nation in the world. "Flat" racing (the other being steeple chasing- racing with jumps),usually involves the Thoroughbred horse, but many other breeds are also raced in other countries. A racehorse can reach speeds up to 40 mph/70 km/h. In the case of a specialized sprinting breed, the American quarter horse, speeds over 50 mph have been clocked. In a type of racing popular in many nations, harness racing, where horses race at a trot or pace, speeds over 30 mph have been measured.
A major part of the economic importance of horse racing, as for many sports, lies in the gambling associated with it.
Horses for work
There are certain jobs that horses do very well, and no amount of technology appears able to supersede. Mounted police are used for crowd control. Some land management practices such as logging are most efficiently done with horses, to avoid vehicular disruption to delicate soil such as a nature reserve. Forestry rangers may choose to use horses for their patrols.
In poor countries such as Romania, horses are widely used for agriculture, mainly pulling plows.
In old times, as trucks haven't been available yet, special horse breeds, the draft horses, were used to pull beer carts; and breweries owned their own horses. Breeds like the Shire Horse normally weigh a ton.
In countries such as Kyrgyzstan, horse-riding is still the most common means of transport, at least in the countryside.
Horses used for therapeutic purposes
A form of physical therapy is Therapeutic horseback riding. People with both physical and mental disabilities have obtained medically beneficial results from riding. The movement of a horse strengthens muscles throughout a rider's body and promotes better overall health. In many cases, riding has also led to increased mobility for the rider and sometimes has helped injured people regain the ability to walk. Soldiers injured in warfare have been known to use this form of physical therapy to regain movement in limbs or simply become accustomed to prosthetic limbs. People who have cognitive or sensory disabilities benefit because riding requires attention, reasoning skills and memory. 
The benefits of equestrian activity for people with disabilities has also been recognized with the addition of equestrian events to the Paralympic Games.
There is also is another new but growing movement that uses horses as companion animals to assist people with mental illness called "equine-assisted" or "equine-facilitated" psychotherapy. Actual practices vary widely due to the newness of the field; some programs include therapeutic riding, but others do not. Non-riding therapies simply encourage a person to touch, speak to and otherwise interact with the horse. Even without riding, people appear to benefit from being able to connect to a horse on a personal level. People with mental illnesses can benefit from the interaction and relationships formed with both horses and people. Horses are also used in camps and programs for young people with emotional difficulties.
There also have been experimental programs using horses in prison settings. Exposure to horses appears to improve the behavior of inmates in a prison setting and help reduce recidivism when they leave. A correctional facility in Nevada has a successful program where inmates learn to train young mustangs captured off the range in order to make it more likely that these horses will find adoptive homes. Both adult and juvenile prisons in New York, Florida, and Kentucky work in cooperation with the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation to re-train former racehorses as pleasure mounts and find them new homes.
Horse meat has been used as food for animals and humans throughout the ages. It is eaten in many parts of the world and is an export industry in the USA and other countries. Bills have been introduced in both the House and the Senate which would put an end to this practice in the US. 
Mare's milk is used by people with large horse-herds, such as the Mongols. They may let it ferment to produce kumis. Mares produce a lower yield of milk than cows, but more than goats and sheep.
Horse blood was also used as food by the Mongols and other nomadic tribes.
Premarin is a mixture of female hormones (estrogens) extracted from the urine of pregnant mares (pregnant mares' urine). It is a widely used drug for hormone replacement therapy, despite that the natural 17-beta estradiol for humans can be easily produced synthetically. Premarin has created much controversy amongst horse lovers, since its production necessitates that the mare is kept pregnant. The resulting foals are sent to slaughter for petfood or for human consumption in countries where horse meat is popular.
The tail hair of the horse is used for making bows for stringed instruments such as the violin, viola, cello and double bass.
Horsehide leather has been used for boots, gloves, jackets, baseballs, and baseball gloves. The saba is a horsehide vessel used in the production of kumis. Horsehide can be used to produce animal glue.
Horse hooves can be used to produce hoof glue.
Main articles: Horse anatomy, Horse coat color, and Equine coat color genetics
Parts of a horse
Morpholohy and Locomotive System of a HorseBecause horses and humans have lived and worked together for thousands of years, an extensive specialized vocabulary has arisen to describe virtually every horse behavioral and anatomical characteristic with a high degree of precision.
In horse racing the definitions of colt, filly, mare, and horse may differ from those given above. In the United Kingdom, Thoroughbred racing defines a colt as a male horse less than five years old and a filly as a female horse less than five years old; harness racing defines colts and fillies as less than four years old. Horses older than colts and fillies become known as horses and mares respectively.
The anatomy of the horse comes with a large number of horse specific terms.
Horses exhibit a diverse array of coat colors and distinctive markings, and a specialized vocabulary has evolved to describe them. Often, one will refer to a horse in the field by its coat color rather than by breed or by sex. The genetics of the coat colors has largely been resolved, although discussion continues about some of the details.
The English-speaking world measures the height of horses in hands. One hand is defined in British law as 101.6 mm, a figure derived from the previous measure of 4 Imperial inches. Horse height is measured at the highest point of an animal's withers. Perhaps because of extensive selective breeding, modern adult horses vary widely in size, ranging from miniature horses measuring 5 hands (0.5 m) to draft animals measuring 19 hands (1.8 m) or more. By convention, 15.2 hh means 15 hands, 2 inches (1.57 m) in height.
An entire equine dictionary can be found at: The Horse Dictionary
Horses versus ponies
Ponies are smaller than horses and stay that way through their lives. In general, to be a pony the equine in question must stand 14.2hh or lower at the withers. Many breeds do not grow bigger than this measurement of size, and part of the breed characteristics is pony. Therefore, any equine in that breed must be pony sized to be registered. Ponies also tend to have certain conformational characteristics: they tend to be stockier than horses, have shorter legs, wide barrels, and thick necks and heads.
There are exceptions to this general rule. Some breeds are pony sized, but called horses. Examples include the caspian horse which often stands only eleven or twelve hands, but it has the conformation of a horse – refined head, clean legs and fine bones – rather than that of a pony. Other breeds, such as the Pony of the Americas or the Welsh cob, share some features of horses but are still considered ponies.
All horses move naturally with four basic gaits; these are referred to as walk, trot ("English") or jog ("Western"), canter ("English") or lope ("Western"), and gallop.
Besides these basic gaits, additional gaits such as pace, slow gait, rack, fox trot and tölt can be distinguished. These special gaits are often found in specific breeds, and are referred to as "gaited" because they naturally possess additional "single-footed" gaits that are approximately the same speed as the trot but smoother to ride.
Horse breeds with additional gaits include the Tennessee Walking Horse with its running walk, the American Saddlebred with its "slow gait" and rack, the Paso Fino horse with the paso corto and paso largo and Icelandic horse which are known for the tölt. The Fox Trot is found in several gaited breeds, while some Standardbreds, pace instead of trot.
The origin of modern horse breeds
Horses come in various sizes and shapes. The draft breeds can top 20 hands (80 inches, 2 metres) while the smallest miniature horses can stand as low as 5.2 hands (22 inches, 0.56 metres). The Patagonian Fallabella, usually considered the smallest horse in the world, compares in size to a German Shepherd Dog.
Several schools of thought exist to explain how this range of size and shape came about. These schools grew up reasoning from the type of dentition and from the horses' outward appearance. One school, which we can call the "Four Foundations", suggests that the modern horse evolved from two types of early domesticated pony and two types of early domesticated horse; the differences between these types account for the differences in type of the modern breeds. A second school -- the "Single Foundation" -- holds only one breed of horse underwent domestication, and it diverged in form after domestication through human selective breeding (or in the case of feral horses, through ecological pressures). Finally, certain geneticists have started evaluating the DNA and mitochondrial DNA to construct family trees. See: Domestication of the horse
The Icelandic horse (pony-sized but called a horse) provides an opportunity to compare contemporary and historical breed appearances and behavior. Introduced by the Vikings into Iceland, these horses did not subsequently undergo the intensive selective breeding that took place in the rest of Europe from the Middle Ages onwards, and consequently bear a closer resemblance to pre-Medieval breeds. The Icelandic horse has a four-beat gait called the "tölt", similar to the "rack" of certain American gaited breeds.
Some countries specialize in breeding horses suitable for particular activities. For example, Australia, the United States, and the Patagonia region of South America are known for breeding horses particularly suitable for working cattle and other livestock. Germany produces Holsteiner and other Warmblood breeds that are used for dressage. Ireland is recognized for breeding hunters and jumpers. Spain and Portugal are known for the "Iberian horses", Andalusians (Pura Raza Espanola) and Lusitanos, used in high school dressage and bullfighting. Austria is known worldwide for its Lipizzaner horses, used for dressage and high school work in the famous Spanish Riding School in Vienna. The United Kingdom breeds an array of heavy draft horses and several breeds of hardy ponies, including the Dartmoor pony, Exmoor pony and Welsh pony. Both the United States and Great Britain are noted for breeding Thoroughbred race horses. The United States is also known for the Morgan and Quarter horse breeds. Russia takes great pride in breeding harness racing horses, a tradition dating back to the development of the Orlov Trotter in the 18th century.
Breeds, studbooks, purebreds, and landraces
Seabiscuit, one of the most well-known race horsesSelective breeding of horses has occurred as long as man has domesticated them. However, the concept of controlled breed registries has gained much wider importance during the 20th century. One of the earliest formal registries was General Stud Book for thoroughbreds, a process that started in 1791 tracing back to the foundation sires for that breed. These sires were Arabians, brought to England from the Middle East.
The Arabs had a reputation for breeding their prize Arabian mares to only the most worthy stallions, and kept extensive pedigrees of their "asil" (purebred) horses. During the late Middle Ages the Carthusian monks of southern Spain, themselves forbidden to ride, bred horses which nobles throughout Europe prized; the lineage survives to this day in the Andalusian horse or caballo de pura raza espańol.
Standardbreds are another racing breed. They have an additional gait, the pace, and are usually driven, pulling a light carriage known as a sulky, rather than ridden.
The modern landscape of breed designation presents a complicated picture. Some breeds have closed studbooks; a registered Thoroughbred, Arabian, or Quarter Horse must have two registered parents of the same breed, and no other criteria for registration apply. Other breeds tolerate limited infusions from other breeds—the modern Appaloosa for instance must have at least one Appaloosa parent but may also have a Quarter Horse, Thoroughbred, or Arabian parent and must also exhibit spotted coloration to gain full registration. Still other breeds, such as most of the warm blood sport horses, require individual judging of an individual animal's quality before registration or breeding approval.
Breed registries also differ as to their acceptance or rejection of breeding technology. For example, all Jockey Club Thoroughbred registries require that a registered Thoroughbred be a product of a natural mating ('live cover' in horse parlance). A foal born of two Thoroughbred parents, but by means of artificial insemination, is barred from the Thoroughbred studbook. Any Thoroughbred bred outside of these constraints can, however, become part of the Performance Horse Registry.
Many breed registries allow artificial insemination (AI), embryo transfer, or both. The high value of stallions has helped with the acceptance of these techniques because they 1) allow for more doses with each stallion 'collection' and 2) take away the risk of injury during mating.
Arabian horses, whether originating on the Arabian peninsula or from the European studs (breeding establishments) of the 18th and 19th centuries, gained the title of "hot bloods" for their temperament, characterized by sensitivity, keen awareness, athleticism, and energy. It was these traits, combined with the lighter, aesthetically refined bone structure, which was used as the foundation of the thoroughbreds. The European breeders wished to infuse some of this energy and athleticism into their own best cavalry horses.
The Thoroughbred is unique to all breeds in that its muscles can be trained for either fast-twitch (for sprinting) or slow-twitch (for endurance), making them an extremely versatile breed. Arabians are used in the sport horse world almost exclusively for endurance competitions. Breeders continue to use Arabian sires with Thoroughbred dams to enhance the sensitivity of the offspring for use in equestrian sports. This Arabian/Thoroughbred cross is known as an Anglo-Arabian.
True hot bloods usually offer both greater riding challenges and rewards than other horses. Their sensitivity and intelligence enable quick learning with greater communication and cooperation with their riders. However, their intelligence also allows them to learn bad habits as quickly as good ones. Because of this, they also can quickly lose trust in a poor rider and do not tolerate inept or abusive training practices.
Muscular and heavy draft horses are known as "cold bloods", as they have been bred to have the calm, steady, patient temperament needed to pull a plow or a heavy carriage full of people. One of the most best-known draft breeds is the Belgian. The largest is the Shire. The Clydesdales are among the most easily recognized, particularly famous in the United States as the mascots for Budweiser beer. 
"Warmblood" breeds began when the European carriage and war horses were crossed with Arabians, Anglo-Arabians and Thoroughbreds. The term "warm blood" was originally used to mean any cross of heavy horses on Thoroughbred or Arabian horses. Examples included breeds such as the Irish Draught horse, and sometimes also referred to the "Baroque" horses used for "high school" dressage, such as the Lipizzaner, Andalusian, Lusitano and the Alter Real. Sometimes the term was even used to refer to breeds of light riding horse other than Thoroughbreds or Arabians, such as the Morgan horse. But today the term "warmblood" usually refers to a group of sport horse breeds that have dominated the Olympic Games and World Equestrian Games in Dressage and Show Jumping since the 1950s. These breeds include the Hanoverian, Oldenburg, Trakehner, Holsteiner, Swedish Warmblood, and Dutch Warmblood.
The list of horse breeds provides a partial alphabetical list of breeds of horse extant today, plus a discussion of rare breeds' conservation.
Tack and equipment
A horse wearing a halterMain article: Horse tack
"Tack" (also known as saddlery) refers to equipment worn by the horse, normally when being ridden or longed for exercise. The tack may be made from leather or from a synthetic material, which tends to be lighter to carry and cheaper to buy.
The basic equipment a horse requires includes:
A bridle or hackamore that allows a rider to control the horse's head, which is made up of a bit or noseband, set into straps over the horse's head, and reins, which are attached to the bit or hackamore noseband and are held by the rider.
A bit is a specially-shaped piece of metal (or sometimes plastic) passed through the horses mouth.
A saddle, which includes stirrup leathers and stirrups for the rider's feet, and a girth or cinch that holds the saddle on.
A saddle pad or blanket to protect the horse's back.
A halter and lead rope
Grooming supplies, including brushes, a currycomb (a rubber brush-like device used to remove mud and deep dirt), and hoof pick for cleaning out the horse's feet.
Many other types of equipment are often seen, including the following:
A crupper goes around the tail of a horse, holding the saddle or harness in place and stops it moving forward too far.
A breastplate or breast collar holds the saddle or harness in place and stops it moving backwards too far.
A bridle, harness and cart are required for driving a horse.
Other instruments which are used when riding and training horses include various forms of whips, crops, and spurs. To an observer who has had no experience dealing with horses, these devices can seem cruel. These devices are not designed to inflict pain when used properly, though it is true that almost any 'tool' can be abusive in the wrong hands. But these aids are merely tools to allow better communication to a horse when used by an experienced handler.