Equines are used for conservation grazing. They are selective grazers having a strong preference for grasses, which favours forbs (which may be rare) in botanically diverse grasslands. In extensive areas they create mosaics, with short grazed lawns among undisturbed taller vegetation. They are the ancestors of the wild tarpan. Hardy breeds of pony are tougher, more adaptable and have a more varied diet than domestic horses, at least in autumn and winter. They have thick coats which protect against biting insects and bad weather, and allow them to overwinter outdoors. Horses and ponies (Equus ferus) were domesticated about 6,000 years ago from the tarpan (which was completely extinct by the early 20thC). The Konik Polski pony is thought to be most closely related to the tarpan. Equines are not ruminants and graze for up to 16 hours per day.

This definition is abridged from A – Z of tree terms: A companion to British arboriculture.
Read the preface. Order the book.

Previous term | Next term