In the domestication of animals, the sequence was first the dog, probably before 10,000 B.C. Thereafter, goats and sheep, the wild ass, and the ox. In about 5000 B.C. the draft horse begins to appear in Central Asia and the ancient Near East. Apparently, horses were first used to draw carts with wheels and were soon employed in drawing chariots to carry fighting men and to make displays in processions.
In about 2000 B.C., humans started to ride horses widely. Horseback riding represented a major revolution in technology, with dramatic effects, particularly in warfare. Horses had to be bred larger to carry a person. That the practice seemingly grew up first among nomadic tribes that herded horses in central Asia, including what is now Iran and Afghanistan.
Some of the great conquering peoples of central Asia, including the Huns and the Mongols, achieved their victories via the horse-mounted cavalry soldier. The horsemen of central Asia developed organized warfare to plunder, a tradition that pitted the mounted horseman against settled agricultural villagers and against defenders of cities.
The techniques of horseback warfare evolved, becoming truly formidable after the introduction in the Middle Ages of the stirrup. Which allowed the cavalryman to put the full force of the horse behind the strike of the handheld lance. The only surviving species of originally wild horses is Equus caballus przewalskii, named after a Russian-Polish explorer, Nikolai Mikhailovitch Przewalski (1839–1888). Who identified it in 1880 in the wild, mountainous regions between Tibet and Mongolia?
Smaller than the domestic horse, the Przewalski horse is assumed to be the ancestor of the modern horse. Also, many types of horses were not beneficial for drawing plows or another heavy hauling until the development in the Middle Ages of the horse collar and the horseshoe. The famous Genghis Khan (1162–1227) led horse-mounted cavalry, equipped with stirrups, in the conquest of northern China in 1213. Then ranged over what is now India, through to the Crimea on the Black Sea.
Since the Middle Ages, horses have been bred with numerous specializations, including the Thoroughbred for racing. Moreover, the Arabian for riding, Perc herons for heavy hauling, the Lipizzaner (from Croatia) and Ten domestication nesses walking horse for performance, and a variety of cow ponies for herding and ranch work. When a male ass is bred with a female horse, the result is the usually sterile hybrid mule, a hardy pack animal.
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