//The horse through history

The horse through history

The horse is not only an animal that has been associated with humans since ancient times. The horse has also been an animal that has played an especially important role in human history. That is why today we will analyze the role of the horse through history and its importance today.

The horse has accompanied the human being in his transformation of the world and also in his transformation into being civilized. At first the horse was a source of food, but quickly its physiological characteristics made it more than that. The horse played a very important role in the production and distribution of goods during history. Likewise, the horse had a very important role in the history of the transport of people.

But one of the roles of the horse that most changed the way the world was conceived was its role as a technology of war. The horse in battles became for centuries the movement technology of war par excellence.

Due to the use of the horse as a warfare technology in history, the methods of breeding and reproduction were deepened. This improved the characteristics of the horses according to the need. No doubt the horse has had an impact on the history of humanity and civilization.

Today we will see a ride “on horseback” through different stages of the development of humanity and history. We will study the role of the horse in history and know why some say that the horse is the most important animal in history.


The beginning between the horse and humanity

The horse appears in the history of mankind approximately 5100 years ago. With this, a change was initiated that will have no turning back. Initially the horse was equivalent to a cow, with the big difference that catching a horse was much more difficult.

Horses for humans were prey that had to be captured wild to feed. Prey par excellence, the horse knew that his life depended on his agility and his keen senses. Therefore, it is considered that horses can be skittish, that they can be traumatized easily and with acute senses. His life depended on being alert and not making the same mistake twice.

However, the intelligence of the human being was transforming it into an animal that served to be raised. Like cows, horses were bred to become food for the first civilizations. So much so that today the custom of eating horse meat is preserved. But we’ll leave that for later.

Horse meat has been a food from the first moment man had contact with the horse. Over time production patterns have changed to favor beef production given its higher productivity. But this is a custom that has not been lost.

That is why the horse in the first instance was food for men. But quickly his role changed because the horse was an intelligent and strong animal. This made it fit to be a production tool rather than its own goal. Next, we will delve into its role as a support in the production of goods.

The horse in agriculture and livestock

Due to the horse’s strength and intelligence, its role in the story was destined to be modified. As soon as man noticed this potential, he began to use the horse as a tool for agriculture. The horse could be used to drag heavy loads or plows.

This accelerated and enhanced the birth of nomadic communities, which grew their food and remained in one place. Also, thanks to this, livestock began to develop in a different way to what had been carried out. The establishment of nomadic communities gave rise to the importance of generating means of transport to connect communities.

Already around 4000 BC the human being began to ride horses. Its current enormous potential was quickly increased by this technology, horse riding. Horse riding was a skill that allowed you to travel great distances in a short time.

Horseback riding also allowed humans to ride it to direct agricultural activities. In addition, horse riding also became a way to get prey and control animals. That is why the horse is considered a key factor in the popularization of livestock.

We may think that everything was there, but on this technology a much deeper change began to take shape. The creation of the wheel that occurred some 500 years before the horse mount was a key factor for a new revolution, the carts.

Horse-drawn carts allowed several people to be moved over great distances. But the differentiating factor here is that the people who were transported did not require knowing how to ride a horse. This is how the transport of people and goods was revolutionized while the horse continued to leave its mark on history.

The horse in the history of agriculture
The horse in the history of agriculture

The horse as a technology of war in history

Human being has always had conflict and war as the engine of his history. That is why the history books do not count the long periods of peace but list the wars, their start and end dates. History reflects winners and losers, and it is rewritten to “the measure” of the winners.

That is why we can consider that the horse is an animal that marked a before and after in humanity. The struggles for the territories were limited to the scope of the routes made by humanity. His mobility before the horse was extremely restricted. The horse came to transform the mobility of the human being and to take his battles and “his history” beyond the natural borders of humanity.

The horse became the determining technology that changed the way war was made, in the same way that gunpowder, fuel vehicles, airplanes or nuclear energy changed it. Bringing war to any corner of the planet became a possibility. An opportunity exploited by the great expeditions of the empires of the ancient world.

Without the horse expeditions like Alexander the Great’s or empires like the Roman would not have been possible. The horse changed the history of humanity, as well as others would later change it. But the horse would not so quickly abandon its moment of glory. The privileged place of the horse in history extended until the birth of the steam engine.

Statue of Buccephalus and Alexander the Great
Statue of Buccephalus and Alexander the Great

Is the horse important in human history? Yes of course

No doubt the horse transformed humanity. This noble animal has been used in noble industries even for the lowest purposes of the human being. War, as we know it today, would have been impossible without the horse, and so the history of the human being.

Perhaps now that the horse does not carry our wars in tow, we can learn something from its pacifism. To teach sometimes it is better to be prey than predator. Perhaps the human being, just as he learned to “improve war” through the horse, will learn to “improve” peace and his history as well.