From the stamping of hooves …

It is believed that every little girl dreams of a pony for her birthday. This is far from the truth, and if to be honest, such a gift would not mind and boy. Horses — friends of people since ancient times, in this sense, with only dogs can compete. How we managed to tame these amazing animals? The role they played in the development of civilization? First things first.


Not so easy to imagine that the ancestors of horses — Hyracotherium — do not exceed the size of today's Bulldogs. Stumbling in herds, they slowly walked through the jungle and swamps, then covers North America, eating fruits and succulent leaves of trees. And instead of hooves they were … fingers, four on the front feet and three on the back. Do not be surprised, because they already lived fifty-five million years ago! For such a monstrous life on the planet managed to overhaul climate change, and on the site of swamp forest began to spring open savannah. Evolution came into its own, and the first ancestors of horses changed the diet, go to the grass, then become larger, splice fingers in the hoof, and learn to run fast. This, of course, extremely simplified description of the evolutionary process, which took place over tens of millions of years, but the result is obvious — everyone knows how to look like the domestic horse, donkey and zebra.

Characteristically, it is in North America, the horse became extinct in the end — by the standards of history, most recently: a few thousand years ago. It was only during the European colonization of the XVI century, they were re-introduced to their native continent.


Despite the fact that horses and humans evolved in the same time, they were neighbors. Our ancestors have rarely left the forest and river banks, and only to the steppes, on which rode herd, reached almost the last. Domestication of horses was about five and a half thousand years ago, in Central Asia, in northern Kazakhstan. First, animals were used as pack — for transporting heavy loads, and also bred for their meat and milk. Then, the nomadic tribes of Asia began to use horses in warfare, harnessed them in chariots. This tradition they have adopted the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans … and then there was only familiar to us cavalry, when the horse began to ride. It is believed that first come to this in Assyria, Persia, ancient Greece around the tenth century BC

Since horses accompanied man everywhere — in peace and in war. Active participation in the development of agriculture, transportation of passengers and cargo, chariots and horsemen — without horses face of our civilization would have been totally different. Even when it was invented the first steam engine, its founder, James Watt had to compare the effect of the new device with the power of the horse. As a result, a new power unit — "horsepower".

Tales and profit

Many people worshiped their horses as close friends thanks to the mind, loyalty and generosity of these animals. The horse in our minds — a symbol of strength, speed and intelligence. Take, myths and legends that describe the image of the horse! In Russian fairy tales it is almost omnipotent Sivka-Burke and Humpbacked Horse, rescued Ivan the Fool out of trouble. In the myths of ancient Greece magic horse Pegasus also helped the heroes, and then worked as a personal messenger of Zeus, give him lightning. Mighty eight legged horse Sleipnir in the legends of the ancient Scandinavians belonged to the supreme god Odin, carrying him during the journey and battles.

However, the famous horse existed not only in fictional stories. For example, many people know the name of Bucephalus — was the name of the horse of Alexander the Great, they tamed the age of ten. Bucephalus was accompanied by the legendary conqueror in all the campaigns and died together with his master.

Horse Intsitat not as well known, but no less important to the story: he was a favorite of the Roman emperor Caligula, and he managed to make his first full-fledged citizen of Rome, and later a senator. After the murder of Caligula in defense Initiatives was told that he, unlike the other senators did not kill anyone and did not give the emperor any bad advice. Senators also faced the problem: the Roman law, before the term of office of any of the Senate, even the horse, it was impossible to drive. Then the emperor Claudius found out: Intsitatu cut salaries, and he was expelled from the Senate, as a nagging financial qualifications.

The symbol of a horse's intelligence was nicknamed the horse Clever Hans: Orlov trotter, who lived in Germany in the early XX century. Hans could solve arithmetic problems in the mind and give correct answers to questions asked by people. His host was piously believe in the magical abilities of his pet. Although further studies have shown that Clever Hans actually not conducted any calculations, but just very skillfully watching facial expressions and host of the public, he still remained in history as the most intelligent of the horses.

Need for speed

Even taking into account the outstanding mind, the main thing for the horse — is running. But people do not just like to ride, but also to watch the races from …

The first in the history of horse racing ancient Arabs excelled in the III century BC However, they differed fair competition horse cruelty — the animals for a few days locked up in a stable, not giving to drink, and then released, watching as they race to race to the watering place. Fortunately, the wide dissemination of this entertainment is not received.

In ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, there were originally only competition chariots, but later appeared and racing horses. They were one of the main events at the Olympics. Even then, the audience put their favorites to win their money and valuables.

England as "home race" has proved himself in the XVII century. It was then under Charles II was brought out first purebred race horses — a mixture of Arab thoroughbred stallions with English mares "royal mayor." In the next century for racehorses were built special stables and racecourses, and closer to the end of the XVIII century, racing got the kind in which they have survived: a short distance to the horse competed in speed, not endurance, and registered with the official rules records.

People and Horses

Time does not stand still, progress is needed, but inexorable. Of cavalry in war people abandoned in the middle of the XX century, leaving only a few mounted police units in different countries. In some parts of the world horses are still used in peasant labor or travel, but every year more and more rarely. Horses, even toy breeds, whether adapted to living as pets in large cities, this role completely took the dogs and cats. Does this mean that over time the horse will disappear completely from the life of modern people? I hope not. Hard to imagine that the person refused to friendship with such a smart, strong and beautiful animals only for reasons of material benefit. They helped us and shared with us his love throughout history. It would be necessary to pay back the same horse.

Sergey Yevtushenko

Category: Flora and Fauna

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