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text by Sylvia Spain, art by Thor Wickstrom

I wonder what it would
be like to live in a
palace like that?

April 2019 Volume 18 umber 4 $6.95

That’s no palace, Zia. That’s a stable. You Well, in the old days,
would have to be a tame horse to live there. horses did most of the
work around the farm.
I wonder what it’s like
being a tame horse?

But nowadays most You’d have to wear a saddle. And carry a
horses are ridden person around...
just for fun. Ridden?
What do you HAW!
mean, ridden?

While running TALLY HO! But some people That’s good,
and jumping just like to ride because they’re
certainly not going
fences. on trails. to ride on me!

to the

Volume 18, Number 4 April 2019

Liz Huyck Editor
Tracy Vonder Brink Contributing Editor
Emily Cambias Assistant Editor

Jacqui Ronan Whitehouse Art Director

Erin Hookana Designer

David Stockdale Permissions Specialist

ASK magazine (ISSN 1535-4105) is published 9 times a year, monthly except for combined Who loves to run? page 23
May/June, July/August, and November/December issues, by Cricket Media, 70 East Lake Street,
Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60601. Additional Editorial Office located at 1751 Pinnacle Drive, Suite D t ts
600, McLean,VA 22102. Periodicals postage paid at McLean,VA, and at additional mailing
offices. For address changes, back issues, subscriptions, customer service, or to renew, please 2 Nosy News
visit, email [email protected], write to ASK, P.O. Box
6395, Harlan, IA 51593-1895, or call 1-800-821-0115. POSTMASTER: Please send address 4 Nestor’s Dock
changes to ASK, P.O. Box 6395, Harlan, IA 51593-1895
29 Ask Ask
April 2019,Volume 18, Number 4 © 2019, Cricket Media, Inc. All rights reserved, including
right of reproduction in whole or in part, in any form. Address correspondence to Ask, 70 30 Contest and Letters
East Lake Street, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60601. For submission information and guidelines,
see We are not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or other material.
All letters and contest entries accompanied by parent or guardian signatures are assumed to
be for publication and become the property of Cricket Media. For information regarding our
privacy policy and compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, please visit
our website at or write to us at CMG COPPA, 70 East Lake Street, Suite 800,
Chicago, IL 60601.

Grateful acknowledgment is given to the following publishers and copyright owners for
permission to reprint selections from their publications. All possible care has been taken to
trace ownership and secure permission for each selection.
“Born to Run,” art © 2003 by Leslie Evans; “How We Made Friends with Horses,” text © 2003 by
Meg Moss, art © 2003 by Jo Lynn Alcorn; “A Visit from the Farrier,” text © 2015 by Meg Moss;
“The Return of the Horse,” art © 2013 by Adam Larkum.

Photo acknowledgments:

C: DashaR/; 2 (LC) NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T Pyle, (RC) NASA’s Goddard
Space Flight Center; 3 (RB) Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and
Research, Exploring Deep-sea Habitats off Puerto Rico and the U.S.Virgin Islands; 6-7 Katho
Menden/; 8 (TC) EMMANUELLE ROBERT/Alamy Stock Photo; 9 (RC) Everett
Collection Historical/Alamy Stock Photo; 16 (RT) wideonet/, 16-19 (bkg)
Rashad Ashur/, 16 (RT), (LB), 17 (RT), (RC), (RB), 18 (LT), (RT), (LB), (RB),
(RT), (LC), (RC), 19 (RT), (LB) photographs by Seth and Mark Mynhier; 22 (TC) Courtesy of
Karen McComb; 23-25 (bkg) Chantal de Bruijne/; 23 (RC) Anton Shahrai/, (RT) Tuul and Bruno Morandi, (BC) EmmePi Travel/Alamy Stock Photo; 24
(LT) IanDagnall Computing/Alamy Stock Photo, (LB) Aurora Photos/Alamy Stock Photo; 25
(TC) Hakbong Kwon/Alamy Stock Photo, (RC) EMMANUELLE ROBERT/Alamy Stock Photo;
26 (LB) ildogesto/; 28 (bkg) DidemA/; 32 (TC) justdd/, (RT) Elle Arden Images/

Printed in the United States of America 33 Whatson’s Joke Page
From time to time, Ask mails to subscribers advertisements for other Ask
products, or makes its subscriber list available to other reputable companies for back cover: Marvin and Friends
their offering of products and services. If you prefer not to receive such mail,
write to us at ASK, P.O. Box 1895, Harlan, IA 51593-895. Are horses the first great explorers?

1st Printing Quad/Graphics Midland, Michigan March 2019 page 27

Teacher guides available for all our magazines at

Is it time to renew?


Suggested for ages 7 to 10.

page 12

Features Who was the first horse?

6 Born to Run
by Amy Tao

8 Too Fast to See page 8
by Amy Tao

10 How We Made Friends

with Horses Can horses fly?

by Meg Moss

16 A Visit from the Farrier
by Meg Moss

20 How to Speak Horse

23 A Day at the Races page 19
by Tracy Vonder Brink

26 The Return of the Horse

28 How to Speak Zebra
by Zia

How big is your fingernail?


Planet Hunter 2 front of its star—like a person walking
The Kepler telescope has spent ten
years in space, looking for planets around and around a lamp. Kepler’s
around other suns. But now it’s time pictures have uncovered more than
2,600 planets. Scientists now think
for it to retire. even more planets than
Kepler launched in 2009. It circled there are the hard-working spacecraft
pictures of other stars. But
the sun and took the same stars over finally ran out of fuel. Kepler will
stars. It snapped keep drifting around the sun, but its
and over. Then scientists compared
tlihttelepidcitmurmeesrtoonfiandresgtaurlasrthscahtegdoutle.a search for planets is over. In 2019 a
new telescope called TESS launched to

That happens when a planet passes in continue the search.

I saw some planets
over here.



Kepler TESS

Who Are You Calling a Monster?

Australian researchers are using a monster.” The “monster” is actually a

new kind of underwater camera to kind of sea cucumber. They’ve been
study the ocean near Antarctica. The seen before in the Gulf of Mexico. But
cameras have spotted some interesting this is the first sighting in Antarctica.

creatures. One of them was this Sea cucumbers are named for their
animal, nicknamed the “headless chicken
shape, which is often cucumber-like.

2 ask

An Ancient Treat art © 2019 by Greta Songe

Like leftover Halloween
candy under your bed,
some very old chocolate
has turned up in an
unexpected place. Chocolate
and cocoa are made from
the pods of a tree called
cacao. Historians have
known for a long time
that the ancient people
of Central America were
enjoying cocoa almost
4,000 years ago. But new
evidence hints that cocoa
was discovered even longer
ago—and farther south.
Researchers have found
traces of cacao beans in
ancient pottery from a site
in the Amazon, in South
America. The new clues
mean chocolate-eating
might be 5,300 years
old. Compared to that,
your dusty cand bar is
perfectly fresh.

Many kinds of sea cuc m ers craw nd dwellers
along the bottom of th ocean. But the can be so

“headless chicken mons ” rude.
above the seafloor. Wh n it’s hun r it
drops to the bottom to s ur u mud ask 3

I’m getting
the hang of
steering him.

You’re riding pretty I’ve carried people
well for your first up this trail for ten
years. I think I know
time, Phil.
where I’m going.

Horses are OK, but
what if we were riding

something cooler?

Like what?

Yeah, like What’s so great about
what? unicorns? It’s a horse
with a narwhal tooth.
I love
they’re so


4 ask

I could explore I would fly away on
the ocean on a Pegasus.

I’m a pretty
good swimmer.

OK, that would be fun.

Well, I’m happy Who are you These kids are OK, but
with my plain calling old? what if we could be ridden

old horse. by something cooler?

Like what?

ask 5

Born to Run by Amy Tao
art by Leslie Evans
If a cheetah and a horse ran a 100-meter dash, who
would win? Probably the cheetah—as the fastest land Breathe Deep
animal, it can run 70 miles (112 km) an hour. Even the A horse’s large lungs and
fastest racehorses reach speeds of only about 45 mph. heart pump oxygen-rich blood
around its body. The oxygen
But what if they raced a mile? That would be a different provides energy for running
story. The cheetah would get tired and quit half way. But a fast over long distances.
horse could keep running for miles without tiring. It’s built
for both speed and endurance.

Standing Naps
Can you sleep
standing up? A horse
can! Its legs can
lock into a standing
position when it
naps. That way, it’s
always ready to run.

Bones show
we’re all

hip Long-Distance Legs
knee/stifle The horse’s long legs let it cover lots
of ground with each step. The leg bones
heel/hock are the same as in a human leg, but
toe stretched out. The lower leg is strong
but lightweight, so it can swing back and
forth quickly. The horse’s massive thigh
and hip muscles provide power.

6 ask

Proud Neck Look Around
A horse’s long neck is A horse’s eyes face sideways,
not just beautiful. It so it can see all around.
helps the horse balance Its eyes are very sensitive
while it’s running. to movement. This helps
the horse react quickly to
anything that might be a
predator—even if it turns out
to be just a shadow.

Want to Tough Toes
race? A horse runs on tiptoes. Each leg
ends in one long, strong toe covered
with a hard hoof. The hoof is like a
human toenail, but very thick. Nailing
a metal shoe into the hoof doesn’t
hurt at all. The shoe protects the
hoof from hard roads. The shoe is

open so it doesn’t
hoof block a springy
wall part of the foot

called the frog.
This acts like a
frog shock absorber
when the hoof hits
shoe the ground.

Power Foot Keeping Cool
A horse’s foot is very Like a person, a horse sweats
flexible. It flattens to cool down. Dogs, cats, and
and stretches like a other animals with fur cool
spring to propel the themselves by panting. But if a
horse forward. big horse could only cool down
that way, it would quickly over-
heat when running.

ask 7

Too Fast to See
Do horses ever really fly? How do you prove it?
by Amy Tao

Artists often drew running horses in this pose. But was it right?

For centuries, artists drew running photographer Eadweard Muybridge
horses as if they were flying
through the air, legs stretched took up the challenge.
out and all four feet off the ground. But
for a long time, no one knew if horses In 1872, a wealthy
really ran like that.A horse simply
horse trainer hired
u s too quickly. It was impossible to
see clearly how its legs moved—until Muybridge to help

him prove that a

galloping horse

sometimes has all Eadweard Muybridge took
fast photos to study how
You’re not horses and people move.
fooling me!

Muybridge snapped 1 2 3
fast photos of running

horses to see how their

bodies move. Each

frame is a fraction of

a second later in time.

7 8 9 10

Proof! A running horse does get all four feet off the ground at once.

8 ask

four feet off the ground at once. With this strange setup,

Most cameras of the time could not Muybridge took a series of

take pictures of moving objects. To photographs that clearly showed

capture an image, their shutters had how a horse’s legs moved as it

to stay open for at least 15 seconds. trotted, walked, and galloped. He

If the subject moved in that time, published the photos in 1878. His I’m ready for
my closeup!
the picture was blurry. On school photos proved that a fast-moving

picture day, you might have to horse really does fly in midair with

hold a pose without moving for 10 all four feet off the ground at

minutes or more. once—but bunched up, not

But Muybridge had built a stretched out like Superman.

much faster camera. It took

a picture in only a fraction of This shed held a row of cameras, A row
a second. He thought it could of strings clicked the cameras one after
even capture a running horse. another as a horse ran past.

Muybridge rigged a special

racetrack with 12 threads

stretched across it. The threads

connected to 12 cameras set in

a line.When a horse ran across

a thread, a camera instantly

took its picture.

456 Poetry in
11 12 13 motion!

ask 9

How We Made Fri

by Meg Moss, art by Jo Lynn Alcorn

If you are a bike rider, you may remember
your first long ride. On a bike, you could
travel so much faster and farther than
you ever could on foot. Off you went to your
friend’s house, to school, or to the park.
What freedom!

The first humans to ride horses
probably felt the same way.

Wild Herds

Who was the first to throw a leg over the
bare back of a horse? Scientists aren’t
sure. But they do know that horses once
ran wild through the open grasslands of
Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

Prehistoric people first viewed horses
as a source of food. Long before humans
learned to farm, they were hunters. For food,
they searched for fruits and nuts, and stalked
bison, mammoths—and horses.

Then, about 10,000 years ago, horses
disappeared from the Americas. The herds of
Europe and Asia also shrank. The exact reason
isn’t known, but it was probably the result of
climate changes and over-hunting.

Giddy up!

10 a s k

ends with Horses

The only place where horses thrived
was the grassy plain, or steppe, of Central
Asia and Mongolia. There, for the first
time, horses began to make friends with
humans. This helped both horses and
humans survive. The once-wild horse was
domesticated—herded and cared for by
people. Later, people would take horses to
all the corners of the world.

I’m ready
to go!

a s k 11

I beg your

To Eat or to Ride? through snow to find grass. Horses
can also eat tough plants that other
Of the millions of species on Earth, animals can’t.

only a few have been successfully Horses could be used for meat—
and also milked. Archaeologists have
domesticated, tamed to live with found traces of mare’s milk on broken
pieces of many ancient pots. If people
humans. Sheep, goats, and cattle were milked horses, it’s likely the horses
were tame. After all, who would try to
domesticated for their meat, milk, milk a wild horse?

and hides. Were horses first herded Ancient hunters probably learned
about horse behavior by watching
I’ll bet I can Why would for similar reasons? wild herds. Later, this helped them
domesticate horses. Once horses were
domesticate you want to? Some archaeologists studying tame enough to milk, people likely
an alligator! started riding them too.

ancient sites in Central Asia have

found evidence that horses were kept

for food 6,000 years ago. Keeping

horses helped people live through

the harsh winters. Sheep and goats

need to be fed in winter, but horses

can feed themselves. They can dig

Becoming the Horse earliest ancestor. This small Mesohippus, or “middle
horse lived 55 million years horse,” developed about 35
The horse as we know it ago. Its feet were like paws, million years ago. It was still
has evolved over millions of with four toes on the front a browser, like Sifrhippus, but
years. Ancient horses were feet and three on the back. it was larger—the size of a
very different. But as their The toes were awkward for sheep. It had just three toes, a
environment changed, their running, but good for stepping big middle toe and two smaller
toes and teeth adapted. That through the marshy forests. toes to the side. Each toe had
helped them survive. Sifrhippus was a browser—it a hoof. These feet let the
nibbled berries and leaves with horses run across soft (but
You might not recognize its tiny teeth. no longer swampy) ground.
the fox-sized creature known
as Sifrhippus as the horse’s

Sifrhippus Mesohippus


The First Ride used to hold a bit in a horse’s mouth. This is the
Ancient horse teeth found nearby only way to
No one knows who took the first show signs of wear that could only
horseback ride, or where. Perhaps have been made by a bit. This leads travel.
an ancient herder, or a fearless kid, scientists to believe that 6,000
hopped on the back of a particularly years ago, people were not only
friendly horse. It must have been a riding horses, but using bits
wild ride as the startled horse bolted and reins to steer them.
off, carrying the unfamiliar weight of
a person. Without saddle or reins, the
rider probably held on for dear life.

Horse herders soon had a new
challenge. Once you’re up on a horse,
how do you tell it where to go?

Recently, archaeologists found a
clue: a few pieces of antler with holes
in them. They look like cheek-pieces

Over the next 18 million helped it gallop fast across the Humans have bred modern
years, the earth’s climate plain to outrun predators. horses into many varieties.
slowly changed. The lush Each horse breed has its own
forests became dry, grassy Equus, the modern horse, color, size, and speed. But all
plains. And the horse changed, developed about 3 million horses, from small Shetland
too. Merychippus had long, years ago. It was tall and fast. ponies to huge Percherons, are
strong teeth to grind and Its single hoof let it spring the same species—Equus ferus.
chew tough grasses. Its legs forward for speed. And it
were also long, each ending had extremely long teeth to
in a single hoofed toe. That survive on a food that was

Merychippus Equus


How do horses The leader But who listens?
know who’s boss? tells them,
like I tell
Horse Friends
How did people tame wild horses? The
horses themselves probably helped.
Horses are social animals. They like to live
in herds. Every horse in a herd knows its
rank, and knows who’s boss.

Horses communicate with one
another using body language. They show
friendship by grooming each other,
nibbling and scratching with their teeth.

To show who’s in charge, a horse will
reach out and lower its head as if to
bite, or raise a leg as if to
kick. It will flatten its

14 a s k

ears—protecting its body—to signal mounted raiders swooping down What do you Pants!
it’s ready to fight. on your village, horses snorting and call these
hooves clattering! Once a town had again?
It’s likely that humans who met an enemy on horses, they often
hunted horses all day noticed these built town walls. They’ll never
signals and learned to imitate them. catch on.
At first, this may have let them And horses may be responsible
get close to a herd. Then they may for another modern invention—
have learned how to use gestures to pants! Many ancient people wore
convince the horses that the humans simple robes with bare legs. But
were leaders of the herd. bare-legged riding is uncomfort-
able. So about 4,000 years ago, some
Gradually, tamed horses became clever rider stitched two tubes of
more popular as working animals than cloth together, and started a new
as dinner. People put horses to work fashion trend.
carrying packs and pulling chariots,
wagons, and plows. Horses carried Until the railroad was invented
people long distances in search of in the 1800s, horses remained the
better lands and hunting grounds.And fastest transportation on land. So
on horseback, people could visit and important were these speedy steeds
trade with far-away places. that the first trains were called
“iron horses.” It was only in the
Horses were also used for waging 20th century that horse power
war. Imagine hundreds of fierce was gradually replaced by cars.
Humans still love horses, but
as friends, not for getting

a s k 15

by Meg Moss
photographs by Seth and Mark Mynhier

A Visit
from the

What’s a A farrier takes
farrier? care of horses’ What’s a hoof?


Today’s customer is When Mikey the horse
Mikey, a nice young needs new shoes,
horse who lives on a he doesn’t go to the
farm in Indiana. He shoe store. His owner, Alyssa,
needs some new shoes. calls Natasha. Natasha is a
farrier. Her job is taking care of
horses’ hooves.


Natasha measures how long Mikey’s hooves
have grown. Too long? Time for a trim!

Natasha brings all her tools

with her to Alyssa’s farm. The

first thing she does is check how

long Mikey’s hooves are. Horse

hooves grow, just like fingernails.

In fact, they are made of the

same stuff as fingernails. It’s

called keratin.

Wild horses walk and run

about 30 miles a day, and that

wears their hooves down

naturally. But horses who

live on farms, like Mikey,

don’t run around as much.

So Natasha has to trim his

hooves to keep them healthy.

Trimming doesn’t hurt,

just as it doesn’t hurt when

you trim your fingernails.

But hooves that grow too long If it’s not a

could make it hard and painful frog, why call
it a frog?

for Mikey to walk.

First Natasha uses

a hoof pick to clean out

the dirt that builds up No one’s
around the frog. This really sure!

frog isn’t a little green

animal that says ribbit. It’s

a triangle-shaped pad on

the underside of the hoof.

It cushions the hoof. But if

there’s too much dirt around

it, a horse can’t stand or walk Natasha uses a metal hoof pick and
a stiff wire brush to clean around
properly. the horse’s hooves.

a s k 17

Natasha clips
the hoof and
then files it

Next Natasha stand while she files
the sides of his hoof.
grabs her nippers. They A horse
Now it’s time nail file.
do the same job as nail clippers. for the shoes.
Horseshoes Time for a It won’t
Natasha uses them to clip off the hurt, right?
extra growth around the wall of
are C-shaped
Mikey’s hoof. pieces of metal.
You can’t tie
It’s hard to make all the clips them on

even, so Natasha must file the

These rough edges smooth. She has
nippers are to hold Mikey’s leg to file the
like toenail bottom of the hoof wall. But
clippers for she rests the foot on a hoof

She selects a shoe Small nails hold the horseshoe
the right size to in place. These go into the hard
fit each hoof. hoof. They don’t hurt the horse.
Sometimes she has
to bend or shape
the metal to get a
good fit.


like sneakers. Natasha hammers little And here she is cuddling little
nails through the horseshoe into the Star after her first trim. Baby
hoof wall. Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt! horses don’t wear shoes, but their
tiny hooves need trimming when
i y gets ridden a lot, so he they are a few months old.
wears shoes to protect his feet. Other
horses wear special shoes to help Natasha loves her job and her
correct problems with their hooves. horse buddies. And they love
Some horseshoes have cleats, little her!
spikes to give working horses extra
grip on snow or slippery ground. But
most horses go barefoot, especially if
they have strong, healthy hooves.

The other horses on the farm
don’t need new shoes or a trim today,
but Natasha stops by every two
months or so to check on them.
Here she is filing Sarah’s big hoof.

Can you paint
them pink?

Some horses don’t wear shoes. But they Thanks, Natasha!
still need to have their hooves trimmed.


How to Ears
Speak Horse
A horse’s ears
art by Cheryl Kirk Nol can tell you what
it’s listening to,
Horses are very intelligent animals.
They pay close attention to what other and how hard.
horses are doing and how they’re
feeling. This helps the herd get along. Horses Pricked up “Airplane ears”
show how they’re feeling with body language. Interested, listening Relaxed, thinking
Humans can learn to read these cues too.

Alert, held back Pinned back
Tense or worried Scared or angry

Contented Tail Excited Eyes

Horses swish their Horses’ eyes are very expressive. A “hard”
tails to shoo flies. eye is the horse version of glaring. A horse
But fast swishing can will sometimes glare at another horse (or a
mean the horse is
person) to say “cut it out!”

Startled Afraid

Swishing insects Soft and round White showing
or annoyed Relaxed, happy Scared

Mouth Sometimes young horses
will clack their teeth.
Horse faces can show doubt, surprise, This means “I’m only
and anger, just like human faces. A little! Be nice!”
tense horse will clench its jaws and hold

its head back a bit.

A horse will some- When a horse curls its
times chew and lick lip and sniffs deeply,
its lips when it’s calm- it’s called a “flehmen.”
ing down after a mild Horses do this when
stress, like learning they smell something
something new. new or interesting.

20 a s k

Relaxed and happy Body Language Unfriendly
Head level, body relaxed, ears Body tense, ears back, eyes
to side, tail still or swishing You can also read a horse’s hard, tail swishing quickly or
gently mood from the way it holds held out behind, rear legs wide,
ready to run
its whole body.

Fidgety, annoyed, bored Alert, curious
Head tossing, ears swiveling, Head up, ears pricked forward,
stamping, tail swishing tail a bit up, nostrils wide

Mad, ready for a fight
Head thrust out, snaking back
and forth, ears back, eyes white,
teeth bared, legs spread, lifting
feet ready to kick

I understand her
body language.

art © 2019 by Cheryl Kirk Nol I’m relaxing. Sigh Sounds Squeal Back off,
Or bored. I’ll fight!

I’m excited, irritated, Snort High-pitched Danger!
or have some fluff neigh Everyone be alert!
in my nose.

Hello! or Nicker Whinny Hey, I’m
Hurry up. over here.

a s k 21

Horses can
from their
photos, and
they were
smiling or

Horses Can Also Read Us One famous horse, known as
“Clever Hans,” was so good at reading
Horses are great at reading the body people that his trainer thought he
could count. The trainer taught Hans
language of other horses—and of to tap his hoof to give the answers to
math questions. Amazingly, Hans was
people. They can tell whether a person almost always right!

is confident, shy, or afraid just from But if Hans wore a blindfold, his
skill disappeared. He also got questions
I like that wrong if the person asking didn’t know
the answer. So what was going on?
Plush how they stand. Without meaning to, the people asking
better! Recently, scientists tested the questions were tensing up or blink-
ing when the horse got to the “correct”
how well horses can read human number. Hans learned to stop tapping
when he saw these tiny give-aways. The
faces. They showed horses photos humans didn’t realize they were doing

of smiling and frowning people. it. But the horse did.
So, always assume a horse
After a few hours, the people in the knows just what you’re
The horse Clever photos met the horses with a blank
Hans could expression. The horses were more
not really do friendly to the people who had been
multiplication—but smiling in the photos.
he was a genius
at reading human

Horses are smart, Horse smart It’s not that I
so how do we know doesn’t have can’t. It’s that I
to be people choose not to.
they can’t do
math? smart.

22 a s k

Picture yourself on a strong, a country
sturdy horse, ready to race. between Russia
Other kids on horses crowd and China. It’s

around. A rope stretched across twice as big as Mongolian horses
the starting line drops, and you’re Texas. Much are small and
off! Hooves pound like thunder, of Mongolia is strong.

and a dust cloud rises.You race for grassland with

miles over short Mongolian grass. few trees, called

If you and your horse are the first the steppe.

to cross the finish line, you’ll earn Horses

the title of tumny ekh, or “leader of arrived in

ten thousand.”You will have won Mongolia long Russia

Mongolia’s Naadam Festival. ago, crossing Mongolia

The Mongolian people have a over on a land China

bond with horses that goes back bridge from

thousands of years. Mongolia is North America.

AtheDaRyacaets By Tracy Vonder Brink

In Mongolia, when
kids race, it’s the

horse that gets
the prize.

Well, who
does all the



People chose his warriors by having
competitions of wrestling,
learned to archery, and horse racing. Later,
these contests became part of a
use horses public festival, called Naadam.
That was over 800 years ago.
for travel, The festival is still held today.

hunting, and The Naadam Festival takes
place all over Mongolia in
herding. In mid-July. Many towns hold their
own races. The largest gathering,
the 1200s, National Naadam, is held in the
capital city of Ulaanbaatar. As
fierce many as 180,000 horses race
there. There are also wrestling
Did you ride with My warriors and archery contests, but horses
Genghis Khan? ancestors on horses are the stars.
helped a
did. A horse can go faster with a lighter
rider, so almost all the riders are kids
ruler named between the ages of 5 and 13. Riders
and horses begin training two or three
Genghis months before the festival. Training
begins with the horses running a little
Genghis Khan Khan found over half of a mile, or 1 km. They
was a Mongolian an empire. It’s believed that Genghis gradually run for longer and longer
leader who Khan started the Naadam Festival. until it’s time for Naadam.
conquered much
of Asia around Khan wanted his fighters to be There are six categories of races,
the year 1200. strong, fast, and able to fight from based on the horses’ ages. Two-year-
old horses run the shortest distance, 6
the saddle. Legends say that he to 7.5 miles (10–12 km). Seven-year-
old horses race for an amazing 15.5 to
Horses are a central part of life in Mongolia. Most 16 miles (25–16 km)! In comparison,
kids learn to ride very young. It helps that Mongolian the longest horse race in America is
horses are quite small. only a mile and a half. The races are
long and straight to test the horses’
strength and stamina.


And they’re off!

Run like
the wind!

Riders sing songs to praise and horse is also given Since the horses do
encourage their horses as they a prize. the running, it’s only
head to the starting line. Many of fair that they get
the kids ride bareback, without After the to wear the medals.
a saddle. Once the race starts, prizes are This horse has won
trainers often drive cars alongside awarded, race a lot of races!
the racers, shouting instructions fans rush forward
and cheering them on. Race fans to touch the sweat a s k 25
gather at the finish line many miles and dirt on the
away. They can’t wait to see which winning horses.
horse will win. They are sure it
will bring them
The winning horse in each age good luck in the
group is given a medal. Its rider earns next year.
the title of “leader of ten thousand,”
the name Genghis Khan gave to his Where would
commanders. There are prizes for the humans be
winning trainers, too. But Mongolians without us?
believe it’s important to encourage
the horses, so the youngest losing

The Return art by Adam Larkum
of the Horse
Once upon a time, early horses roamed the
Americas. Then they left on a journey that
took them around the world—and back again.

2 One day, around five
million years ago,
some early horses
living in what is now
Alaska wandered a bit

Long ago—55 Gradually, the land
began to change. Less
1 million years, rain fell. Forests changed
to be exact—a to grassland. The family
tiny horse called of little Hyracotherium
Hyracotherium grew into many different
grazed happily on shrubs species. Some got bigger
in the woods of North and began to eat grass.
America. It didn’t look They spread out all
much like a horse, really. over North and South
It was about the size of America, living on the
a dog and looked more broad grasslands and
like a three-toed deer. mountains and in the
forests and deserts.

You are used to I'm back!
seeing the earth
from its side, but to
follow the horse’s
story, imagine you
are looking at the
earth from above
the North Pole.

26 a s k

farther west than usual. 3 Other bands followed, the Middle East, Europe, and
Back then, a strip of solid including the ancestors all the way to Africa, where
land connected Alaska and of the modern horse. their descendants became
Siberia. They walked straight This family, called Equus, zebras and donkeys.
across it and on into Asia. liked Asia just fine. There
was lots of tasty grass and Meanwhile, back in America,
plenty of room to run. Some life became hard for horses.
stayed in Asia, while others By about 10,000 years ago, no
wandered farther west, into horses of any kind were left
in North or South America.

4 But on the some horses. These
other side creatures astonished the
of the world, Native Americans, who
horses thrived. had never seen such an
They met up with some animal before.
strange, two-legged
creatures who seemed to But the horses felt
like riding on their backs. right at home in the
New World. And no
In 1492, Spanish wonder! They were
explorers set sail to find home—returning to the
a western route to India grassy plains where their
and ran into America ancestors started out so
instead. On their second long ago.
trip, they brought along

a s k 27

How to Speak Zebras and horses
are cousins! Zebras
Zebra are more stripey!
Can you tell what

this zebra is


art by Thor Wickstrom

Why yes, What do
I would like you mean,
a cupcake! it’s Marvin’s

May I have a pink one?

Did I just eat Oh, why
a worm? is there
no wind?

I have Tell me a
had about story!
enough of
this climate Everybody
change! dance!


Hey, Sage! Canryn F. in Niger, In the wild, it’s dangerous for horses to sleep lying down.
Africa, wants to know, why do Getting back on their feet takes time. Every second counts
horses sleep standing up? when cougars, wolves, coyotes, or bears are prowling.

So during the day we take little naps standing up.

Why don’t they fall over? Why do they need Horses can’t sleep very soundly when
to lie down? standing. But like other animals, they
need to completely relax their brains
Horses have leg joints that lock. Two kinds of tough Mainly we get and bodies once a day. They need to
cords inside the leg—tendons and ligaments—hold our lying-down sleep deeply enough to dream. And to
them in place. That way, horses can relax their leg sleep at night. get deep sleep, they must lie down.
muscles without taking a tumble. But all horses need
to lie down to sleep for a little while every day. “Mane”-ly?
Hee! Hee! Hee!
Muscles in the horse’s head
have a “rest” position that Only about 30 minutes
doesn’t need much energy. a day. And it doesn’t
have to be all at once.
Tough ligaments and All We don’t need a
tendons inside the together, lot of deep sleep.
horse’s legs hold this is
them in position so called
they are perfectly the “stay
balanced. This lets apparatus.”
the horse stand
without needing
muscle power.

But what about predators So, what do That remains
that hunt at night? they dream a mystery.

We take turns sleeping.

One horse stays
awake to warn us.

In our November/ Send your letters to Ask Mail,
December issue we 70 East Lake St., Suite 800, Chicago, IL
asked you to imagine a 60601, or have your parent/guardian
mini you in a miniature email us at [email protected]
world. Thanks to all you
talented tiny artists for
sharing your acorns
with us!

Caden F.,
age 8, New York

My Miniature World Little Inch’s Dream Acorn
Aliya K., Aishani K.,
age 8, California age 9, California

Georgia M.,
age 8, Texas

Dear Marvin, Dear Eric, Dear Ask,
What pranks do you like? My I just invented a fantastic new How hot is the sun? And how
favorite is prank! It reprograms people’s cold is Uranus? Please put this
keyboards so that when they in a space magazine with other
Eric C., by email type in words, it comes out space facts.
as emojis! What do you think,
would that be hilarious? Cady M.,
Marvin Dear Cady,
The sun is quite hot. Its core
can reach 27 million degrees F

30 a s k

Griffin W., Hayden A.,
age 10, by email
If I Were 1/2 Inch
Tall: I would fly on Me on a Pizza
a dragonfly, live for Tamsin B.,
a week on 3 grapes, age 9,
have a pet ladybug, Indiana
live in a pothole, and
use a bird feather as
a bed.

Helen T., Michigan

Theo P., Zane F., age 8,
age 9, Tennessee
Zuzu, age 9, California

(15 million degrees C). At the Dear Ask, fast!). But cats can pass along
surface, it’s hot enough to Can humans catch diseases parasites—tiny creatures like
vaporize iron. Uranus, on the that cats get? Also, can you fleas and plasmodia that live on
other hand, is rather chilly. make an issue about video the cat’s body. And cats get
The temperature there is about games? cat versions of human diseases,
—325º F (—200º C). So bring though they don’t catch them
warm undies. Regards, from us. Video games is a great
Leia P., age 7, Illinois idea! We’ll get started just as
I live for space facts! soon as I clear this next level....
Bot Dear Leia,
Mostly, humans can’t catch Wishing you purrfect health,
cat colds (say that 10 times Whatson

a s k 31

April Contest

Imaginary Horses

Ancient myths and legends
are full of fantastical
horses: centaurs,
unicorns, Pegasus with
wings, even horses with
fish tails (hippocampi) or
eagle claws (hippogriffs).
For this month’s contest,
invent your own fantastical
mythical horse creature, and
draw us a picture. We’ll rustle up a
rodeo of the rarest in an upcoming issue of Ask.

Contest Rules: 5. Your entry must be signed or emailed 7. Email scanned artwork to [email protected]
by a parent or legal guardian, saying it’s, or mail to: Ask, 70 East Lake
1. Your contest entry must be your very your own work and that no one helped St., Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60601. Entries
own work. Ideas and words should not you, and that Ask has permission to must be postmarked or emailed by April
be copied. publish it in print and online. 30, 2019.

2. Be sure to include your name, age, and 6. For information on the Children’s Online 8. We will publish the winning entries in an
address on your entry. Privacy Protection Act, see the Privacy upcoming issue of Ask.
Policy page at
3. Only one entry per person, please.
4. If you want your work returned, enclose

a self-addressed, stamped envelope.


Fun science and tech for the seriously curious CURIOU S COLLECT
ages 9–14 IONS

32 a s k


Hee! art by
Thor Wickstrom

Knock Knock. Why don’t you ever see
Who’s there? hippos hiding in trees?

Avery! Because we’re so good at it!
Avery who?
What’s round on both ends
Avery time I and high in the middle?
come over we go Ohio!
through this!
What does it mean if you
What kind of horse can jump find a horseshoe?
higher than a house? Somewhere, there’s
All of them—houses can’t jump! a barefoot horse.

Which side of a bird has Why is Cinderella no good
the most feathers? at soccer?
Because she always runs
The outside! away from the ball!

What’s as big as a horse, What cheese is
but weighs nothing? made backwards?
A horse’s shadow!
What pet makes the
loudest noise? When does a horse go
to sleep?
A trum-pet! Whinny wants to.

What looks like half a horse?
The other half!

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