Animal Info Horses History

About the history of horses, their importance in civilization, use in battle, the development of America.

HORSES

HISTORY

The horse has made a greater contribution to civilization than any other animal. In terms of service, the horse, rather than the dog, has been man's best friend over the centuries as soldier, hunter, field hand, mail carrier, racer, entertainer, and--until the late 1800s--the world's major means of land transportation.

Although Stone Age people depended upon Equus caballus for their main source of food, it wasn't until around 4000 B.C., in central Asia, that the horse was first tamed and ridden. About 1650 B.C., the Egyptians captured and trained horses to pull battle chariots, and by 1600 B.C. the Hittites of Asia Minor and Syria were writing elaborate manuals in cuneiform on proper horse care. The Greeks developed the basics of horsemanship about 400 B.C. The principles remain much the same today.

During the Middle Ages, horses were bred for size and stamina so that they could carry knights and heavy equipment into battle. Like their riders, the horses wore armor.

Horses played a vital part in the development of America, working as teams for stagecoaches and covered wagons and as mounts for Indian fighters and the Pony Express. Today the horse is primarily used for sports (racing, polo, hunting) and entertainment (circuses, carnivals, rodeos, western movies).

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