who hunted and battled from horseback, ate their meat, drank their milk (and sometimes their blood) for thousands of years, from China and Siberia to the Black Sea and beyond?
|Scythian horse and trainer.|
Guess what -- they had breeding programs for their herds! Who would ever have guessed that people who lived for thousands of years by, for and around the horse would ever think of that.
Do we all think it, well, just happened, that these rode, hunted, fought, ate, herded, conquered, with the horse, and created war chariots to be pulled by horses, and invented stirrups? Because we know people who weren't able to spend their lives playing computer games and taking selfies of themselves eating cookie dough to post on FB, where also people post real time murders, rapes and tortures, and have all their personal information sold to anyone who wants to pay -- the ancient people couldn't possibly be so self-aware, intelligent, creative and inventive as to constantly, consciously improve the ways the horse could serve them, century-after-century.
Read about it here in the NY Times Science section (pay wall!).
Actually it is nice that this history of the nomadic herding horse peoples can be confirmed by DNA investigative tools.
It must have been the tone of the article that set me off? That breathless, hoo boy!, hey nobody ever thought about this before and look what these guys found!
This older NY Times article is also interesting if one is interested in horses (which I am). Then there were the Vikings and horses. We tend not to associate the Vikings much with horses, but they knew their way around equines just fine, breeding and raising horses that suited their needs. Hey -- these are my people (along with the Poles, who know a whole lot about breeding and training horses too).
This NY Times article suggests that it was a mutation in Icelandic horses during the Viking age that ultimately allowed for the 'amble' gait in horses. Not all horses can do this. What particularly interests me is that the Vikings traded these horses all over Europe -- and, into the Middle East. I keep thinking of horses with coats that allow for survival in a nordic, Icelandic climate, who can amble, finding homes in Damascus and Jerusalem.
|Icelander horse performing the tolt - Tolt is "Even 4-beat rhythm with long strides in front and behind, elegant lift and action of the front legs, movements extremely flexible and supple, excellent speed."|
A video of Icelandic horse round-up:
* Hopefully another career, and not to the dog and catfood factory . . . .