Horses are members of the order Perissodactyla, Odd-toed ungulates, along with tapirs and rhinoceros. Yes, that sweet creature in the barn calls "cousin" the combative rhinoceros and the pig-like tapir. Actually, knowing Armani, it isn't that much of a stretch.
A rather regal Brazilian Tapir
Two Black Rhinoceros
Some common features of the order are:
- They have a "mesaxonic" foot structure. That is that they all bear weight on their middle toe. In horses the other toes have atrophied away completely.
- They graze and browse plant material.
- They digest via hindgut (intestines) fermentation.
- They have a single offspring (or rarely twins) after gestating 11 - 16 months.
And I've noticed through observing my own perissodactyl that they have a prehensile upper lip, which is used for unlocking gates, halter tag, unrolling polo wraps and nabbing treats. (See my previous post for evidence.) But if I catch Armani stomping out a fire, I'll be sure to let you know.
Dressage for rhinos? A sculpture of a rhino wearing a saddle from the Han Dynasty. It isn't noted if this could have been drawn from life or a more fanciful imagination.