Horses have been a part of human life for much of known history. Unlike dogs, which early man made short work of domesticating, horses were among the last animals to be domesticated. Their attributes of strength, speed, and staying power made the equine a real power to be reckoned with and, so, a difficult animal to tame. Even before this domestication, however, the horse has been influencing mankind in marvelous ways.
As early as 50,000 years ago, the Cro-Magnon man hunted the horse for meat. We have evidence that in the middle-east, animal husbandry was practiced around 9000 BC, and between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago, people everywhere were domesticating the horse. They quickly realized the great advantage horses would be to their lives. At work and play, the horse soon became a much loved companion.
Horseback riding has been well documented in history. Although we don’t know exactly when and where this discipline began, what we do know with some certainty is that riding a horse could have first been achieved quite by chance! Either way, people throughout the world discovered the joys and benefits of riding a horse. Riders soon discovered that they could cover longer distances, they could efficiently herd livestock, and they could ward off predators.
It wasn’t long before horses became a primary vehicle for warfare and hunting. The great war-horses, or destroyers, were carefully bred and even hand-picked. Fortunately for the horse, the mechanization of war made the need for horses nearly non-existent. It became time to put the horses back out to pasture where they belonged. Again, people became aware of the great benefits of horse ownership and the joys of riding.
In the New World of America, Rhode Island served as a primary horse breeding region in the 1700’s. Horses provided reliable transportation for the Americans. This was a preferred method of getting around to the rickety roads being built in small-town America. Horses proved themselves to be invaluable back then as people migrated to the west. The horse proved to be a faithful and invaluable companion, pulling heavy supplies across the large expanse of land. During the 1800s, the horse could be seen as a vital part of urban life. Soon, tack shops were opened and cabs and carriages were pulled along, effortlessly by man’s new best friend and this allowed people to move to their towns with complete freedom.
The horse remains one of man’s closest companions. Today, people from almost every culture are using the horse for work as well as play. The traditional Amish still plow their fields using the horse. The horse has remained a faithful companion since the earliest time in history and the horse has seen the man through many challenges in life. Always a loyal worker, the horse is a great friend, too!