Humans have their history. We all know the names of Galileo, Plato, Columbus, Marco Polo, Edison, as well as Dantes, Napoleon, Albert Schweitzer and Bill Gates. Important events occurred as well, such as the Industrial Revolution, the creation of the train, and of course, wars. We speak of men and women who showed courage and shaped the history of the world. However, within these tales, the part that should be reserved for horses is often forgotten.
The horse is a beast that helped mold human life as we know it. This animal helped humanity advance greatly. For starters, transportation was never the same when mankind starting using a horse for travelling. Mail was delivered much more quickly and news were shared rapidly. It was also suddenly possible to contact people from far away. The world was just beginning to shrink. Remember that it is all thanks to horses that important people such as Alexander the Great could develop and change war tactics with his mounted cavalry. Without horses, Attila and the Huns could never have terrorized people as they did. Alexander’s tactics impacted his days as well as the whole of the Greek history.
There are many examples of the efficiency of using horses. Take, for example, the multitude of stories and accounts of messages delivered that saved lives or brought crucial information. As a matter of fact, without horses, the United-States wouldn’t even exist: Napoleon Bonaparte would have never left France and the story of Middle Age cavaliers would be banal.
However, the horse’s magnificence isn’t limited to bravery in war. There are many more reasons why we should honor this glorious beast. The main field where the horse left its mark is in agriculture. During the century before Christ, Chinese people created a collar that was stuffed and specifically sculpted to follow the shape of the chest without choking the animal. They attached ropes or long wooden sticks to it. This allowed them to hook tools, such as a plow or a carriage, to the horse. This sort of arrangement allowed the horse to do the same amount of work as fifty men. It was probably during this period that the amount of strength or power was measured in “horsepower”.
Inventing the collar and the progress in the fabrication of the tools made the horse become essential for farmers and peasants. Whether it was for harvesting or transporting merchandise, the horse had an important role. Farmers could widen their fields, work better and therefore increase their revenues. For the first time in history, farmers could produce a surplus, which in turn allowed them to improve their financial situation. It was due to this surplus that cities were created – central areas where farmers could sell their produce. This also allowed peasants and farmers to visit cities and other people, and become more creative.
The horse was even used for medicine and the development of vaccines. Diphtheria, an often deadly disease, is virtually non-existent today because researchers discovered that horses produce a serum that can fight and heal this infection. In the 1920’s, the vaccine was mandatory.
Throughout the ages, horses have been admired and honored. Tales and sagas, as well as mythology, speak of their celebrity. At first, this beast was appreciated for its speed. After all, humans would never be able to travel so quickly on foot.
The horse symbolises freedom and strength. It inspired certain brands, such as Ferrari. One hundred and twenty years ago, vehicles became an important part of the modern ages. The power of horses was soon replaced by “horsepower”. When this happened, 2600 years of horses’ help nearly became obsolete. Just remember that, only sixty years ago, live horses filled cities and did their work.
Sadly, the horse’s merits and importance is quickly decreasing. Their history and their importance across the globe is slowly disappearing. There is so much to do to reverse this trend. It is vital for today’s students to understand the past in order to comprehend the present and move into the future. Horses are a crucial part of humanity’s development.
photo credit: flickr.com