Tuesday, December 30, 2008

But do rhinoceros do dressage?

Armani was particularly argumentative this weekend, drawing from me an unfavorable comparison to a rhinoceros.

Odd-toed ungulates

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

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.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Interesting and funny post.
A saddle on a Rhino? I wouldn't want to be the one to mount up.

Reddunappy said...

did you see the video on You Tube with the camel doing dressage?

sometimes my mare can be a rhino LOL

A Bay Horse said...

Oh my! Thank you for the tip about the camel video! Is this the one? I hadn't seen that. It is too cute.

Here is a link

Reddunappy said...

yep thats the camel video, ist it greatf LOL!!