The domestication of the horse

Dogs are human’s best friends, as the saying goes and they have always had a symbiotic relationship. Both Humans and dogs are both omnivores, which means that it’s not uncommon for humans and dogs to collaborate since both have similar diets and at the dawn of humanity, both humans and wild dogs had analogous social structures. This made the two species a natural fit and as such the ‘human’s best friend’ accolade rang true for all of human history.
Horses, however, are different. Horses are similarly social animals, but live in herds, quite unlike humans or dogs. As herbivores horse scare easily and as flight animals—animals that run when threatened as opposed to fighting as humans, dogs, bears, or most carnivores and omnivores—horses sleep in short bursts, on and off throughout the day and night, unlike diurnal species such as humans who tend to be up in the day and sleep when it’s dark. Despite these major differences humans and horses have lived side-by-side for millennia.
Unfortunately, we do not know how, where, or—believe or it not—how many times, horses were domesticated. What we do know is that the earliest horses were domesticated possibly 5000 years ago, and finding evidence of the first domesticated horse is nearly impossible. One common belief is that horses were domesticated by humans some 5000 to 6000 years ago and that all subsequent domesticated horses originated from this initial domestication event. Although disputed by quite a few notable scholars who are of the opinion that horses were domesticated across the world and at various points in time, this is the most generally accepted belief. The first evidence for domesticated horses—or to be more precise horse ancestors—comes, predictably from Kazakhstan, a country with a long and rich history of mounted culture, a place where the horse is a deep symbol of the country’s long history.
What we do know from evidence is that regardless of when the horse was domesticated they have been a crucial part of human history across Eurasia and Africa.By the time of the ancient civilisations of the Greeks, Persians, and Romans, horse racing had already been long established.
The origins, however, of equestrian sport were less benign than a day fast-paced fun. These high-speed races—the quickest humans ever travelled until the invention of steam power and the internal combustion engine some short years later—were designed and held so people, mostly men, could fine tune their riding skills so that in wart tine they would not be wholly inexperienced. This martial element of horse riding continued straight through until the 20th century when cavalry was still a crucial part of the military apparatus. Thankfully, today we ride horses for pleasure and really for war (though even today this remains the case in some areas.)
But whenever we get in the saddle we’re continuing a long and ancient tradition of the human experience. While dog may still might be our best friends, horses, more so than dogs, have changed the way we live and indeed our very history.