Hippology is the science that aims to deepen our knowledge of equids. It deals with horses and ponies.
What is hippology ?
Hippology, not to be confused with equine ethology, covers several fields related to the study and knowledge of the horse, namely
- the anatomy of the horse and its morphology (the external and internal parts of the horse's body)
- the breeds of horses
- the particularities of the horse's coat
- the 5 senses of the horse
- its maintenance and appropriate care.
Anatomy of the horse
Every rider must have a minimum knowledge of the morphology and anatomy of horses, in this case :
- The different aspects of its anatomy when passing the gallops (a type of examination).
- The morphology of the horse allows it to be registered in the stud book (breeding or genealogical register) of its breed. There are positive points, but also negative points which will be noted during its identification.
- Knowledge of anatomy helps to better understand the horse and to detect small injuries or underlying illnesses, more or less serious.
Good to know : the parts of the horse's body are divided into 3 parts : forehand, body and hindquarters.
Hippology and horse coat
The identification of a particular breed or horse is possible through the coat and certain features such as the balzanes (white markings on the lower parts) and the lists (vertical markings on the head).
Please note : all this very detailed information is recorded in the horse's identification booklet (ID).
The 5 senses of the horse
The horse has 5 senses, like humans, namely
- smell : the horse has a highly developed sense of smell
- hearing : the horse has a very keen sense of hearing and can perceive ultrasound
- touch : some parts of the body are much more sensitive than others (for example, when a fly lands on the body)
- sight or visual acuity : 75% of horses are considered to be short-sighted, with average to poor eyesight depending on the breed and an angle of vision of 340°.
- Taste : the horse has the advantage of being able to recognise food that is toxic to it.
Hippology : maintenance and care
In the context of hippology, we take into consideration the numerous cares that the horse requires to be in good health :
- its lifestyle and housing (meadow or box)
- its diverse and varied diet, even if the horse is primarily a herbivore
- routine care : grooming, shoeing, vaccinations, deworming and dental care.
We can also encounter classic equine diseases such as colic, navicular disease, horning and laminitis.
To be distinguished : hippology and ethology
Hippology is to be distinguished from ethology, which corresponds to the science of animal behaviour, including the horse in a natural or unnatural environment, in relation to its fellow creatures; other animals and man. Ethology allows us to better understand the horse and to communicate with it.