What is it about horses that capture our hearts and our imaginations? Humans may have domesticated horses, but in truth, we’ve been captivated by these creatures for many thousands of years. Here are five facts you may not have known about the history of horses.
Horses have been domesticated for thousands of years.
Humans domesticated horses between 4,000 and 3,000 BC. Early on, however, horses were used more often for pulling things than for riding. It wasn’t until around 800 BC that people started riding them, and saddles weren’t used until around 300 BC. As for stirrups, there were some early prototypes that were mostly just leather loops, but it wasn’t until around 400 AD that riders started using metal stirrups that we would recognize as the precursors to modern stirrups.
Most “wild” horses are actually feral.
If someone says the phrase “wild horses” to you, most likely you immediately think of the American Mustang. These and other “wild” horses, such as the Chincoteague Pony, are actually feral. This means that they were previously domesticated animals that reverted back to a wild state, rather than having evolved purely without human involvement.
Przewalski’s horses are considered the only remaining truly wild horses today.
About a century ago, the only Przewalski’s horses left were living in captivity. They were carefully bred and reintroduced to their original habit, and now have a healthy population in the wild. Despite this human involvement, they are considered the only truly wild horses remaining in our world.
Arabians were used to create many modern breeds.
What do Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds, Tennessee Walkers, and numerous other popular modern breeds have in common? It might surprise you to know that these breeds all share a common ancestor: Arabian horses. Arabians were often crossed with other breeds to create some of the most popular horse breeds today. For instance, the Thoroughbred breed was started in England by crossing Arabian stallions with English mares, while Quarter Horses were bred in America by matching Arabians to selected English and Irish horses.
Horses have been an integral part of America’s history.
When people talk about the history of horses in America, most likely you think about Mustangs, cowboys, and the Wild West. While you’re not wrong, horses have in fact been woven throughout our history from the very beginning. For instance, Quarter Horses were bred in the American South as part of the racing culture there among plantation owners.
The history of horses has been irrevocably intertwined with human history, but as much as they’ve helped us throughout the centuries, we now need to help them. With nearly all hope gone of returning to the wild, horses depend on us for everything from companionship to their basic needs, such as feed. For more information about how complete feeds can meet all of your equine companion’s nutritional needs, contact Sacate Pellet Mills today.