History of Horses

Want facts about the history of horses?

• Approximately 75 million horses abound our world today.

• The height of a horse can be measured using hands. 1 hand is equivalent to 4 inches.

• Horses have a sharp sense of hearing, direction and smell. The skin is very sensitive and it will respond quickly with the slightest touch.

• Popular horses are Marengo, Moifaa, Bucephalus, Justin Morgan, etc. these are hall of famers.

• There are several markings on the horse’s body like a star, white face, stripe, white muzzle, blaze, etc.

Facts about the history of horses isn't useful without the background information. Horses like any other creatures were used long ago. The Bible, specifically the book of Job states that horses and horse riders used them in hunting ostriches. Horses’ drawings existed about 3000 BC. Drawings of chariots being pulled by horses can be seen in caves during the Bronze Age. A tomb in Egypt presented horse riding on 16000BC; this is the earliest records that can be traced in Egypt.

It was during 1400 BC when the first written text regarding horses was produced. The text states training of horses for chariots. The Art of Horsemanship was written by Xenophon about 360 BC and therein stated horseback riding, psychology and care for horses. Information on the said book is still relevant and being utilized today.

During the Ice Age history of horses, they roamed every continent excluding Antarctica. Horses vanished mysteriously during this era; a theory stated that the disappearance was due to migration of these animals towards the west through land bridges on Siberia.

After Charlemagne time and around 4th century, horses with stirrups and saddles were very visible. This is an Asiatic invention. It is believed in the history of horses that Asians were the first who tamed and rode horses. It paved the way of the mounted knights’ development. Around 1519 AD these animals reappeared in Northern America and were brought by Spanish conquerors to Mexico

Even with these historical reviews, there are other historical facts being presented by other countries. It is known that Persians, Chinese and Assyrians were skillful horse riders.

Brahmans of India claimed themselves as the first horse riders. Chinese where believed to be the true horsemen; way back in 4000 BC, they started harnessing their horses. As early as 1000 BC, Chinese were also involved in selective conformation and breeding of horses.

• Hittites of the Mediterranean were using horses for wars around 1,600 BC

• Assyrians were the first race among eastern Mediterranean to have used horses with a load; this resembles the saddle of today.

Egyptians used chariot horses to expand their empire; this is way back 1650 BC. The kinds of horses used in Egypt are much different from the Arabian horses.

• Greeks mythology presented horses as sea creatures ruled by their god Posiedon. Posiedon’s winged horse named Pegasus is also written about in mythology.

• Long ago, horses which ventured in Kenya unfortunately died because of a horse disease known as Trypanosomiasis. Ponies which had reached the clean and disease free part of Kenya survived and became the first horses in East Africa.

Though horses become domesticated long ago, a lot of misconceptions appear about their history. Quoting B. MacFadden from University of Florida, he presents some records from his journal “Science”:

• Around 20 million years ago, horses changed in size. Some got larger and others minimized to sizes of dogs. These animals didn't simply evolve bigger.

• Prehistoric horses weren’t leaf eaters. They adapted to eating both leafy materials and grasses.

• The horse’s fossils in North America went extinct about 55 to 10,000 million years ago. These were the first horses and not those which were brought by settlers in Europe.

MacFadden further stated that a clear knowledge of the records of horses’ fossils is vital to illustrate their evolution.

In the history of horses they have been visible throughout the ages and have been used for various purposes. One vital purpose of these animals is a means of transportation. They have also been used in agriculture and wars. Nowadays, the gracefulness, agility, speed and strength of horses are employed for pleasure and competitions. Similar to other animals, the history of horses is rich and worthy of studying and comparing.

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