History Of The Horse


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History Of The Horse

  1. 1. Author: Tricia Weldon For more information on this author go to: anandaranch.org
  2. 2. Prehistoric Horse The horse as we know it today is descended from a small, primitive, four-toed animal. Prehistoric horses stood only about 4.5 feet high at the shoulder. Approximately fifteen million generations later, Equus evolved as the first “true horse.” Equus migrated from North America throughout the world. Fossil remains have been discovered in Asia, Europe, and Africa as well as throughout North and South America.
  3. 3. Historical Background of Fossils In the 1870's, the paleontologist O.C. Marsh published a description of newly discovered horse fossils from North America. At the time, very few transitional fossils were known The sequence of horse fossils that Marsh described was a striking example of evolution taking place in a single lineage. Here, one could see the fossil species quot;Eohippusquot; transformed into an almost totally different-looking (and very familiar) descendent, Equus
  4. 4. Fossils As new fossils were discovered, though, it became clear that the old model of horse evolution was a serious oversimplification. It was misleading to portray horse evolution in a smooth straight line, for two reasons: First, horse evolution didn't proceed in a straight line. We now know of many other branches of horse evolution. Our familiar Equus is merely one twig on a once- flourishing bush of equine species. We only have the illusion of straight-line evolution because Equus is the only twig that survived. Second, horse evolution was not smooth and gradual. Different traits evolved at different rates, didn't always evolve together, and occasionally reversed quot;directionquot;. Also, horse species did not always come into being by gradual transformation of their ancestors; instead, sometimes new species quot;split offquot; from ancestors and then co-existed with those ancestors for some time. Some species arose gradually, others
  5. 5. Extinction? Because there were no horses in the western hemisphere when it was discovered by Europeans, the extinction of the horse after it had flourished there for 60 million years remains one of the unsolved mysteries of history. For the first time in tens of millions of years, there were no equids in the Americas.
  6. 6. Extinction? Extinction cannot be attributed directly to the effect of glacial cold. The horse actually survived the ice ages, only to disappear as the ice was retreating.
  7. 7. Cave paintings in Lascaux France Keys to this unsolved mysteries may be in these Stone Age cave paintings located in France and Spain Very often these paintings reveal the horse as an object of prey. These depictions may be a reflection of why he disappeared from the New World when other grazing animals such as the bison survived.
  8. 8. Man and Horse The earliest association between man and horse was one-sided. Man hunted and subsisted on the flesh of horses. The bones of 40,000 horses that existed 25,000 years ago, found outside a rock shelter at Solutre, France, provide evidence of the cave man’s dependence on the horse.
  9. 9. Evidence for Extinction in North America In the last few years, evidence found at St. Mary’s Reservoir in southern Alberta, Canada suggests that humans played a significant role in the horse’s extinction.
  10. 10. Evidence for Extinction in North America The floor of the reservoir was covered with animal tracks; as was the remains of a prehistoric horse with several smashed vertebrae and bones that bore evidence of butchering. “Clovis points,” the spearheads associated with some of the first humans to reach the continent, were also found and dated back 11,000 years. After being analyzed the spearheads revealed signs of the residue of horse protein; the points had apparently been thrust into the horse. “Environment and climate change were definitely factors in the extinction event, but there had been numerous instances of glaciers advancing and retreating during the Pleistocene, and this is the only time we see a magafaunal extinction. The arrival of humans is the only real new factor” (Dr. Paul McNeil).
  11. 11. Domestication of the Horse It is difficult to establish exact dates of domestication. Some believe the evidence found at several sites shows equine tooth wear that only could appear from the friction of a bit against the molars. Sites include Dereivka, a Ukrainian settlement site dated 4500 – 3500 B.C., and the Botai culture, dated 3500 – 3000 B.C. in the northern steppes of Kazkhstan. Evidence also suggests that China and Mesopotamia were among the first civilizations involved in the domestication of the horse between 4500 – 2500 B.C.
  12. 12. Harnessing the Power When we consider the greatest significance in building civilizations, the horse’s harnessed power has no equal. Even today we evaluate performance of the automobile in terms of horsepower.
  13. 13. Early Cart Horses The prevailing view among paleo-historians is that the first horses to be tamed were hitched to carts before being mounted. They base their conclusions on skeletal remains, which indicate that Bronze Age horses were only about the size of large ponies, about 14 hands (56quot;) at the shoulder.
  14. 14. There were four primeval types of horses which were domesticated at different times and places. PONY I Pony I developed in Northwest Europe. He was approximately 12 hands tall, had very thick skin, was brown or bay in color, and was quot;waterproofquot;. His direct descendant is the Shetland Pony. PONY II Pony II developed in North Eurasia. He was heavier in build than Pony I and was quot;frostproofquot;. He was dun or cream color and had the dorsal stripe and bars on the legs associated with the quot;dun factorquot;. He was the forefather of Przewalski's Horse.
  15. 15. HORSE III Horse III developed in central Asia and west into Europe. He had a long, narrow, Roman head, a long neck, long ears, slab sides and a sparse tail and mane. He was quot;drought proofquot;. He was the forefather of the Andalusian. HORSE IV Horse IV developed in the western area of Asia. He was about 12 hands, was quot;heat proofquot; and provided the quot;qualityquot; in today's breeds - he was fineboned, had a high-set tail and abundant mane and tail. He was the forefather of the Arabian.
  16. 16. The Mounted Steed The first record of riding came from Persia in the third millennium B.C. By 1580 B.C. this trend had spread to Egypt, and 250 years later it was found in Greece. In fact, the first horse training book, the Kikkuli Text, was written in 1360 B.C.
  17. 17. The Horse in the East By the Han dynasty (475-221 BC) Mounted cavalry had become the dominate military use of the horse. The Chinese produced three of the most significant inventions in equestrian history:  The breast-strap harnesses  The stirrup  The horse collar
  18. 18. Oriental Technology The Chinese harnessing system was the first to effectively utilize the horse’s power without hampering its ability to breathe. This piece of equipment allowed for the development of shafted horse-drawn vehicles which were far more advanced and efficient than those of their counterparts in the West. The invention of the stirrup allowed mounted cavalry for the first time to have a secure platform when they fought.
  19. 19. The Classical Horse The horse inspired such awe in ancient man that he included him in his mythology. Apollo’s Chariot drawn by his four fiery horses, pulled the sun across the sky. Apollo granted the son one wish, he wanted to go across the sky in father’s chariot. Apollo tried to dissuade his son, but at last Apollo agreed. At first everything went smoothly, Phaeton managed the horses. But then he was scared of the height, he lost control of the horses. The chariot dropped too low and the Sun nearly burnt the Earth. To save it, Zeus struck the boy with a thunderbolt. Pegasus: The winged horse, born from the blood of the Gorgon Medusa when she was slain by Perseus The Centaur: A magnificent creature who had a body which was half horse and half man. He was renowned for both extreme physical strength and great wisdom.
  20. 20. The Classical Horse The Trojan Horse: The Greeks left the huge wooden horse behind when they retreated from the siege of the walls of Troy. Rejoicing at the war’s apparent end, the Trojans brought the wooden horse within the walls of the city. That night the Greek warriors within the horse’s belly crept out and opened the gates to renewed attack, and the great Illiam/Troy fell to the Greek army.
  21. 21. Xenophon Xenophon: 427-355 BC was a soldier, mercenary and Athenian student of Socrates. He is known for his writings on the history of his own times, the sayings of Socrates, and a fully preserved manual on the horsemanship. On the Art of Horsemanship comes to us from 360 BC, the work of the Athenian cavalryman Xenophon. It is the oldest known text on horseback riding still in existence, and the first work known to emphasize training techniques that account for the state of the horse's psyche as well as his body. The work is divided into eleven chapters, and deals with the purchase, care and training of horses. It also deals, to some extent, with the construction of stables and the equipment needed for several aspects of horsemanship.
  22. 22. On the Art of Horsemanship In examining his body, we say you must first look at his feet. For, just as a house is bound to be worthless less if the foundations are unsound, however well the upper parts may look, so a war-horse will be quite useless, even though all his other points are good, if he has bad feet; for in that case he will be unable to use any of his good points. If anything worries him. Let the groom be under orders also to lead him through crowds, and accustom him to all sorts of sights and all sorts of noises. If the colt shies at any of them, he must teach him, by quieting him and without impatience, that there is nothing to be afraid of.
  23. 23. The one best rule and practice in dealing with a horse is never to approach him in anger; for anger is a reckless thing, so that it often makes a man do what he must regret. Moreover, when the horse is shy of anything and will not come near it, you should teach him that there is nothing to be afraid of, either with the help of a plucky horse--which is the surest way--or else by touching the object that looks alarming yourself, and gently leading the horse up to it. To force him with blows only increases his terror; for when horses feel pain in such a predicament, they think that this too is caused by the thing at which they shy.
  24. 24. From 336 to 323 BC, Alexander the Great arguably was the most successful military commander in world history, conquering most of the known world before his death.
  25. 25. Alexander and Bucephalus There are few legends that capture man’s love of the horse as Alexander the Great and his beloved Bucephalus. Son to King Philip of Macedonia, Alexander was tutored by Aristotle in academic matters and studied horsemanship with his father. At the tender age of twelve, Alexander bonded with Bucephalus and was credited with being the horse’s only rider. Inspired by his equestrian abilities, Alexander set out to conquer the world astride the mighty horse. Bucephalus carried the young ruler from Greece to Egypt to India. When Bucephalus died, Alexander honored the horse by naming a city in central Asia after him.
  26. 26. The Roman Race Horse The Circus Maximus: Latin for largest arena . Built during the second century BC. At one-third of a mile long and 150 yards wide, the Circus Maximus allegedly held 250,000 people. Julius Caesar expanded the Circus around 50 BC. The remains suggest that there may have only been 150,000 seats there; people came from all over the empire to watch these races, sometimes over great distances Similar to modern harness racing, there were usually twelve races with four
  27. 27. THE MIDDLE AGES, 600 A.D. The fall of the Roman Empire began the Middle Ages which lasted some seven hundred years. The early portion of this period is sometimes called the Dark Ages since the glories of the former Roman Empire virtually vanished. These were times of religious wars and barbarian invasion. The horse became largely a vehicle for battle or the hunt since the Roman roads, which had previously united Europe, fell in disrepair. Travel from one area to another was dangerous due to the hostile relations between kingdoms. For the most part, chariots fell from use and the wagon remained a farm vehicle. Despite a decline in the quality of technological innovation in many spheres of life, the Middle Ages saw the horse adapted to new roles in such diverse areas as warfare and agriculture
  28. 28. Medieval Horses In the Middle Ages, Horses were specially bred to meet the requirements of warfare and chivalry and the needs of the mounted knight It is commonly believed that the great war-horses, were developed during the Middle Ages to support the great weight of the armored knight. Actually, the real reason large horses were useful was because their weight gave greater force to the impact of the knight's lance, both in warfare and in the tournament. The war-horse was sometimes shod with sharp nail heads protruding so that he could trample foot-soldiers in his path. He was a very potent weapon, and yet his descendants are the mild mannered and docile work horses of today who put their strength to less brutal use.
  29. 29. Tournaments From War to Sport Many sports have historically prepared the individual both physically and emotionally for battle. In the Middle Ages, the quot;tournamentquot; became the most popular form of recreation for knights all over Europe. The events of the tournament kept the knight in condition for the role he played in warfare. The tournament lasted well after the heavily armored knight became tactically obsolete and remained a sport in which nobility, valor, and grandeur were a continuing reality.
  30. 30. RENAISSANCE Renaissance literally means quot;re-birth.quot; Between 1450 and 1650, re-birth represented a renewed interest in the laws of man's world and the universe. Leonardo Da Vinci Draws the Horse, 1452-1519: Da Vinci's art ranks at the very top of the long list of Renaissance masters. Of particular interest to those studying the history of the horse are his drawings of the horse's anatomy. Leonardo studied the horse's skeletal and muscular systems, as well as its motion, with both insight and accuracy
  31. 31. The Spanish Riding School The mere mention of the Spanish Riding School brings to mind elegant white horses performing at majestic heights. Today, just as when the school was founded centuries ago, the art of training and exhibiting schooled horses is carried on with rigorous disciplined finesse. Why is the School Called quot;Spanishquot; but Located in Vienna, Austria? In 1580, the Archduke Charles organized the royal stud at Lipissa, and there he bred horses acquired from Spain to Arabian, Barb and Andalusian mares from Naples. The horses which resulted from careful breeding were named Lipizzaner after the stud. These became the horses exclusively used in the Austrian court, and the horses' Spanish ancestry gave the school its name.
  32. 32. RETURN TO THE NEW WORLD The Spanish Return Equus to its Prehistoric Home The first horses to reach the North American continent were the mounts of the Spanish conquistadores. However, it is a myth that the vast Mustang herds that roamed the West by the 1880s were strays from the expeditions of Cortez 1519, Coronado 1540 or DeSoto 1541. Spanish missions that followed the explorers into the Rio Grande Valley in the early 1600s brought numerous horses.
  33. 33. Indian Ponies The century from 1650 to 1750 was a period during which the Spanish horses were dispersed over the plains, and among the Indians a great “horse culture” developed.
  34. 34. Chickasaw Horses These horses came from a series of Franciscan missions that were established in the Southeast (Georgia) They provided a Spanish base in the native herds that were later used to breed the Quarter Horse, American Saddle Horse and the Tennessee Walking Horse
  35. 35. The Appaloosa The Palouse River country of the northwestern United States has given its name to this breed. The name Appaloosa derived from the slurring of “ A Palouse.” Because of their colorful markings the Nez Perce bred the Appaloosa. The breed nearly disappeared after the surrender of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce to the United States Army in the Bear Paw Mountains of Montana in 1877.
  36. 36. The Calvary Horse Comanche, The Only Survivor After the Battle of the Little Big Horn, a horse was found in a thicket with seven arrows in his body. The horse, named Comanche, was a gelding ridden by Captain Keogh, one of Custer's officers. The horse's wounds were treated and he was carefully loaded onto a riverboat. Comanche was sent back to Fort Lincoln in the Dakota Territory, where he was given great attention until he recovered. The Seventh Cavalry's commanding officer insisted that Comanche be saddled for all engagements and official occasions, but he could never be ridden again. Comanche became a national celebrity. On his death, his obituary appeared in newspapers throughout the country. Comanche was taxidermied after his death, and is now exhibited at the Museum of Kansas University.
  37. 37. P ONY EXPRESS, 1860 TO 1862 Rapid Western growth demanded a fast and reliable postal system. In 1860, the Pony Express was created to carry letters over a route of 1,966 miles between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. The average total trip took 10 days. The riders carried only saddlebags containing mail and sidearms to fight off the Indians. A one-half ounce letter cost $5 to send by the Pony Express, and a mailbag would therefore be worth $3,200 in postal fees. At relay stations located every 25 miles, the rider picked up a fresh horse. After only two years, the Pony Express was replaced by the telegraph and the railroad. In spite of its brief existence, the Pony Express played a flamboyant and significant role in the opening of the American West.
  38. 38. The Horse in America Today Comprehensive study reveals horse industry has a nearly $40 billion impact on the US economy (6/29/2005) by American Horse Council The horse industry in the United States contributes $39 billion in direct economic impact to the US economy and supports 1.4 million jobs on a full-time basis, according to a new study released today by the American Horse Council (AHC). When indirect and induced spending are included, the industry's economic impact reaches $102 billion. The study also estimates the horse population in this country has reached 9.2 million