Horses Have Trotted Through Thousands of Years of Human History
by Rose Loos-Austin, Age 12
history of horses is a long and interesting story that started around
farming communities sprung up starting in the southwest part of
central Asia and the edges of Europe where conditions permitted.
Early farmers spent their days growing crops and herding livestock.
These early farmers were some of the first to domesticate horses. At
first, horses were raised for slaughter. It wasn't until about 500
years later, around 4000 B.C.E., when horses were used as transport
for the first time.
Soon after the first wheeled
vehicles arose. Horses were selectively bred for desirable features,
such as strength, so they could pull these vehicles. By the third
millennium, horses were strong enough to pull whole war chariots.
With the addition of spoked wheels, chariots were more maneuverable;
those who had chariots on their side dominated the battlefield.
2500 B.C.E., the Surabaya people invented bits and bridles which
allowed them to ride horses. This helped shepherds
herd livestock over large areas of land and paved the way for the
rise of nomadic pastoralism in the first millennium (1000 B.C.E.)
This way of life would engulf the area for thousands of years. The
nomads lived in tents that could easily be disassembled and
transported. These tents were made out of animal hide and called
yurts. Herds of sheep, horses, camels and goats were moved between
the summer and winter pastures, greatly increasing the available land
The Cimmerian people of Russia
were the first known nomadic power. They rose to prominence in the
900's. Around 200 years later they bumped into the Scythians, another
nomadic people, who migrated into the Cimmerian territory in the
700's. The Scythians went to war with the Cimmerians for around
thirty years before driving them into Anatolia. Here, the Cimmerians
defeated the Phrygia, and Sardis the capital of Lydia. In about 626
they were fought off by the Lydians. The Cimmerians ceased to be
mentioned in historical sources after possibly settling in
The Scythians built a
powerful empire stretching from Persian borders to southern Russia.
Horse-riding was the key to their military success. It gave them a
speed and mobility that amazed their enemies. They were so skilled on
horseback that they stopped an invasion by the infamous Persian army
in 513 B.C.
Short History of the World]