The wild tarpans in the East have this instinct; and so it is, as I am informed by Admiral Sulivan, with the horses recently and formerly introduced into the Falkland Islands from La Plata, some of which have run wild; this latter fact is remarkable, as the progenitors of these horses could not have followed this instinct during many generations in La Plata. On the other hand, the wild cattle of the Falklands never scrape away the snow, and perish when the ground is long covered. In the northern parts of America the horses descended from those introduced by the Spanish conquerors of Mexico, have the same habit, as have the native bisons, but not so the cattle introduced from Europe. (2/22. Franklin 'Narrative' volume 1 page 87 note by Sir J. Richardson.)
The horse can flourish under intense heat as well as under intense cold, for he is known to come to the highest perfection, though not attaining a large size, in Arabia and northern Africa. Much humidity is apparently more injurious to the horse than heat or cold. In the Falkland Islands, horses suffer much from the dampness; and this circumstance may perhaps partly account for the singular fact that to the eastward of the Bay of Bengal (2/23. Mr. J.H. Moor 'Notices of the Indian Archipelago' Singapore 1837 page 189. A pony from Java was sent ('Athenaeum' 1842 page 718) to the Queen only 28 inches in height. For the Loo Choo Islands, see Beechey 'Voyage' 4th. edition volume 1 page 499.), over an enormous and humid area, in Ava, Pegu, Siam, the Malayan archipelago, the Loo Choo Islands, and a large part of China, no full-sized horse is found. When we advance as far eastward as Japan, the horse reacquires his full size. (2/24. J. Crawfurd, 'History of the Horse' 'Journal of Royal United Service Institution' volume 4.)
With most of our domesticated animals, some breeds are kept on account of their curiosity or beauty; but the horse is valued almost solely for its utility. Hence semi-monstrous breeds are not preserved; and probably all the existing breeds have been slowly formed either by the direct action of the conditions of life, or through the selection of individual differences. No doubt semi-monstrous breeds might have been formed: thus Mr. Waterton records (2/25. 'Essays on Natural History' 2nd series page 161.) the case of a mare which produced successively three foals without tails; so that a tailless race might have been formed like the tailless races of dogs and cats. A Russian breed of horses is said to have curled hair, and Azara (2/26. 'Quadrupedes du Paraguay' tome 2 page 333. Dr. Canfield informs me that a breed with curly hair was formed by selection at Los Angeles in North America.) relates that in Paraguay horses are occasionally born, but are generally destroyed, with hair like that on the head of a negro; and this peculiarity is transmitted even to half-breeds: it is a curious case of correlation that such horses have short manes and tails, and their hoofs are of a peculiar shape like those of a mule.
It is scarcely possible to doubt that the long-continued selection of qualities serviceable to man has been the chief agent in the formation of the several breeds of the horse. Look at a dray-horse, and see how well adapted he is to draw heavy weights, and how unlike in appearance to any allied wild animal. The English race-horse is known to be derived from the commingled blood of Arabs, Turks, and Barbs; but selection, which was carried on during very early times in England (2/27. See the evidence on this head in 'Land and Water' May 2, 1868.), together with training, have made him a very different animal from his parent-stocks. As a writer in India, who evidently knows the pure Arab well, asks, who now, "looking at our present breed of race-horses, could have conceived that they were the result of the union of the Arab horse and African mare?" The improvement is so marked that in running for the Goodwood Cup "the first descendants of Arabian, Turkish, and Persian horses, are allowed a discount of 18 pounds weight; and when both parents are of these countries a discount of 36 pounds (2/28.