What is the other animal of the horse

Horses

From forest to steppe dweller

One of the horse's strengths is its adaptability. It helped his early ancestors. The horse immigrated to Europe and Asia over the land bridges that existed before the Ice Age and conquered different habitats on five continents.

Only in its native North America did the horse die out about 10,000 years ago - why is not clear. The Mustangs living there today are feral descendants of the horses brought by Spanish conquerors.

Because it was getting warmer on earth, the ancestors of our horse moved from the forests to the steppe and changed their appearance in the process. It is useful for forest dwellers to be small so that they can hide better. In the steppe, however, body size is an advantage: it gives you a better overview.

In addition, the horse ancestors began to live in herds. Some could keep watch, others sleep, eat or look after the offspring. The pronounced social behavior ensured the early ancestors of the horses an evolutionary advantage.

From prey to mount

For humans, the horse was first and foremost hunting prey. This is proven, for example, by the more than 15,000 year old cave paintings in Lascaux in the French Dordogne, which show the magic of hunting with horses. Science does not know exactly when humans began to tame horses.

It was long suspected that it was around 4,000 years ago, but in 2009 archaeologists found that the people of the Botai culture in what is now Kazakhstan rode horses through the steppes 5500 years ago. Bone finds of these early riding horses also show that the Botai already bred horses - because the riding horses already differed in their physique from the wild forms.

So maybe the horse became a pet in Asia, but maybe also in northern India or northern Europe - or in several parts of the world at different times. One thing is certain: the horse as a riding and driving animal opened up completely new possibilities for people. It expanded its world enormously.

A person was at least twice as fast on a horse as on foot. He was able to cover longer distances and develop new areas. In addition, the greater freedom of movement brought people into contact with many strangers. This not only boosted trade, but also the development of the language.

Battle stallions and war horses

However, the fact that people on horseback could open up further areas also meant that there were more frequent border conflicts. And so the horse soon played a major role in warfare.

As early as 600 AD, the Bedouins were breeding Arabian horses, particularly fast and persistent animals. With the nomads they had a close family connection and should be loyal to their masters.

In the Middle Ages, war horses had to be big and strong to carry their riders, the knights and their armor. When gunpowder was developed, horses became more elegant and faster again.

Millions of horses were used in World War I and there were still more than 2.7 million Wehrmacht horses in World War II. Most pulled cannons or supply wagons and only a few survived the war. About 865 horses died every day during World War II.

Even today there are still cavalry horses, but they do a much safer job: They are mainly needed for parades.

Use in agriculture and leisure

Not only as riding animals, but also as draft animals, horses were irreplaceable for thousands of years. Usually several horses were harnessed in front of the carriages, but to pull their heavy plows, the farmers needed real powerhouses: cold-blooded horses, huge horses with an enormous pulling power.

Some cold blood breeds like the Shire Horse weigh over a ton and can pull twice their weight. At the beginning of the 20th century, the world's economy was completely dependent on the use of horsepower.

For a while it looked like the car might oust the horse. Machines did its job. In the 1950s there were only about 30,000 horses left in Germany. But the horse quickly developed from a workhorse to a sport and recreational partner. The "German Equestrian Association" estimates that there are again more than a million horses and ponies in Germany today.