The Domestication Of The Horse

Horses have long been a part of humankind’s way of life, and from literature and scientific evidence that has been unearthed, it is believed that people first began to domesticate them about 6,000 years ago around 4,000 BC.

The main reason for taming them was that they could be tethered and used to pull loads from one place to another because they are strong and quick. They are skittish animals, and are one of the few species that rest and sleep standing up. Horses have an innate fight or flight reflex and run away from predators. Newborn young, called foals, are literally born kicking and screaming and can run, albeit on unsteady legs, just a few hours after delivery.

Man quickly recognized that horses could do more than pull and carry loads, they could be used for personal transport as well as war, and early historical texts from around the world show that by the year 3,000 BC, much of the world had cottoned onto the idea and huge numbers of them were trained for whatever task they were deemed necessary for.

The first people to perceive the value of horses were the Asians, and it is thought that the people of modern day Ukraine and Kazakhstan were the first to realize their true potential. These people still have a very strong bond to the equine species, but it was the Mongols who really began to live an almost symbiotic life with these animals.

People needed their horses for milk and meat, so they began to roam with them over the steppes. The horses needed to graze and so the people moved with them. Horses were used for everything and not one bit went to waste. They even made fermented milk drinks from the mares and when an animal was slaughtered, bone fragments were sharpened into razor sharp knives and needles to sew the hides into clothes. The sinew and ligaments were used as thread and the meat was of course eaten.

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