The Fascinating History of Horses in the Ancient World

The Fascinating History of Horses in the Ancient World

Posted by in Pigeon Forge Stables Blog | December 17, 2013
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Horse drawn chariotWhen you come to Five Oaks and spend the day horseback riding in Gatlinburg, you will be carrying on a tradition that began thousands of years ago. Have you ever wondered when people first started riding horses? Do you know how ancient warriors used horses? Read on to find the answers to these questions and more!

Anyone Want a Horse Burger?

When humans first encountered horses in Central Asia they didn’t want to ride them…they wanted to eat them! Starting around 10,000 BC, people hunted horses for their meat and also for their skins. Horse hide was used to make leather for clothing, tents and tools. Believe it or not, horse meat is still popular today in many countries around the world including the Philippines, Kazakhstan, Belgium and Italy.

Domesticated Horses Shrunk the World

Around 4,000 BC, people in Central Asia began taming and domesticating horses. People still used horses for food, but they also used them to produce milk and to carry heavy items. As horses were bred to be larger, people started to ride horses and use them to pull wagons. These inventive uses for horses soon spread out of Central Asia and emerged in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) by 2,500 BC, Greece around 2,100 BC, Egypt in 1,700 BC, and China around 1, 200 BC.

As more and more civilizations started riding horses, the world became a smaller place. People could travel great distances much faster, which made it easier to trade with people from other lands. Also, horse drawn wagons allowed for the transport of food and goods across borders.

Horses: Your Secret Weapon  

Horses had a huge impact on warfare. With the invention of the chariot, horses became deadly military weapons. Warriors used this new mode of transportation to ride from city to city, carry supplies, and even to trample their enemies.  However, ancient people generally didn’t fight on horseback. Typically, soldier rode their horse to the battle and then dismounted in order to fight. Horses were not usually used during the actual fighting because they are not terribly effective when facing trained foot soldiers.

In the Middle Ages, however, knights remained mounted on their horses throughout the battle. During the medieval period, armies did not have the resources to train foot soldiers like the ancient Greeks and the Romans, so horses played a more important role during fighting.

Try it Yourself

After reading all about the history of horses, you will want to saddle up yourself ! Five Oaks is the number one destination for horseback riding in Gatlinburg. With 60 different horses, two excellent trails, and a stunning 70 acre nature park, we have everything you need for an unforgettable day in the Smokies. Visit our About page to learn more!


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