A zorse is a hybrid animal, the combination of a zebra male and a horse female. Any type of horse/donkey/pony combination with a zebra is called zebroid, and sometimes all can be referred to under the common name. You might also hear a zebra/donkey hybrid called a zonkey instead.
The zorse is not a common animal, and retains much of its instinctual wild ancestry. They can be difficult to handle, hard to train and very strong. While there exists fans of the animal, and even organizations that support the sale and affinity for the zorse, such as the International Zebra — Zorse — Zonkey Association (IZZZA), many find the animals tough to handle and far prefer the docility of standard horses for work or riding. The zorse also cannot reproduce, so in order to get more of them, you must go back to the individual breeds to produce more.
Early training is extremely important because of natural instincts of the zebra. Zebras have a much greater flight/fight instinct than do horses, as they are naturally prey animals. Socially, zebras tend to stay in small groups, instead of in the large groups associated with horse ranches. An improperly trained zorse may be aggressive toward others animals, and is prone to injury from being startled.
Training begins with imprinting, but not bottle-feeding it. A zorse shows little respect for its keeper if it is bottle fed, so if it cannot get milk from its mother, trainers prefer to feed the animal from a bucket. Imprinting then is about daily communication, touching, and training of the animal. Unlike a horse, a zorse must begin training within a few days of being born in order to be a docile animal.
Many might wonder why people would even bother to have a zorse if they can get access to a zebra. The answer generally lies in the fact that a purebred zebra is even harder to train. It can possibly injure itself or its keepers because it is exceptionally strong.
Despite the work involved in raising a zorse, many are rewarded by its intelligence, hard work, and its lovely striped patterns. Some horse shows now have zorse categories, and some animals may compete in races or equestrian events. The captivating appearance is sure to be remarked upon.