Horses are magnificent creatures.
They have been used in film, television, and books. Horses are everywhere in the world.
But did you know, this “beast-of-burden” was once a very important way to travel and haul goods?
Read on to discover all about horse-transport.
We will be exploring some of the histories of this “vehicle,” the age of the Wild West and so much more.
Are you ready to giddy-up to adventure? Let’s go!
The History of Horse Transportation
Horses were domesticated (tamed) thousands of years ago. They were not only beautiful, sturdy animals, but they played a vital role in helping people. Check out a brief history of horses being used for transportation
- 4000 B.C. – people in Central Asia saw the value in “horse-power.” However, these horses were more like ponies and too small to carry people.
- 2500 B.C. – horses were being bred to be bigger and stronger. The folks in Western Asia hooked horses up to wagons
- 2100 B.C. – horses appeared in Greece
- 1900 B.C. – horses were introduced into Troy
- 1700 B.C. – the Egyptians invaded the Amorites using horse-drawn chariots.
- 1300 B.C. – the bit was invented for the horse’s mouth. This made controlling the horse more effective.
- 1625 – stagecoaches were introduced, but used only by the rich.
World War I (1914) and World War II (1939) – horses were used in battlefields, to bring in supplies and transport the wounded.
- 1890’s to 1920’s – cars and horse transportation overlapped. Vehicles were still very expensive, but as the cost came down, the horse and buggy dwindled.
Early 1900’s – horses were used in farming to pull the plow.
Ponder This: the horse and buggy crave started in the late 18th century and ran until the early 20th century. However, by 1929 in the US there were only about 90 horses and buggies in operation.
Cowboys and Horses
You may have dreamed about being a cowboy at one time in your life. These characters are portrayed as having an adventurous life, filled with excitement.
However, the life of a cowboy was not always easy. Good thing they had their trusted horses to ease some of the pressure. Read on to discover how cowboys and horses worked together in the “wild west.”
Cattle Drives: Ranching was a huge industry in the west. Cowboys would ride horses to move large herds of cattle from the ranch to market. This would often take several weeks. The horse and rider would cover hundreds of miles, stopping only at night.
Roundup: Cows roamed free over many acres of land. Cowboys would ride their horses to round up large herds of cattle. This would be done each Spring to sort out which cattle belonged to each rancher.
Other Cowboy Tasks: The daily life of the cowboy had many tasks. They would use their horses to help them rope calves, ride to and from their destinations, and to haul good
Ponder This: With so many cows in a roundup, how do you suppose they could tell them apart?
What Are Horses Used for Today?
Even though horses have been replaced in many areas with faster and more efficient equipment, we still use them today. Here are some of the things horses are still used for;
- Therapy – horses are used for people with mental or physical disabilities.
- Ranching – these beasts are still used to accomplish many tasks on a ranch, like moving around on tough terrain.
- “Dude” Ranches – these offer the experience of being a cowboy. People pay to learn the ways of the cowboy from the olden days.
- Police – these animals are used in large cities for crowd control (where cars cannot reach). They are also used for search and rescue missions.
- Competitions – horses are used for barrel racing, roping, and other competitions.
- Racing – horses are used in the sport of racing. These super-fast thoroughbreds have been the downfall of many people.
- Pack – horses are still used for transporting goods in many areas of the world.
- Pets – these wonderful animals are kept by people purely as pets.
Ponder This: What country uses horses for a volunteer police force?
More Freaky Factoids
We haven’t galloped past all the fun just yet. Here are the answers to your ponder these questions and other freaky facts.
Did you know…
- each cow had a special mark or branding on it? This allowed the ranchers to easily identify their cattle from other ranchers.
- Canada has a volunteer police force? They are called, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
- back in the day of the cowboy there was a code? One of the rules was to never wave at a man riding a horse. You could only nod. Another rule stated you could not ride another man’s horse without his permission.
Now that you have learned all these fascinating facts, go and impress your friends and family with your new-found knowledge. Who knows? You might just become known as, “the kid with all the horse-sense.