Europe Horses in History


Horses play a large role in European history and understanding the importance of Europe horses is crucial to understanding the continent. From the days when they were eaten, to the days of war, to the days of transportation, Europe horses have always been pivotal in the day to day lifestyle of Europeans. At the same time though, the evolution and the development of the Horse as a species is also tied very much to European history and breading. The bloodline of Europe horses is very important to many breeders.

All horses including Europe horses are thought to have evolved from creatures such as the Mesohippus, which was a similar but smaller creature with multiple toes. Early on in European history (probably dating back to prehistoric times according to archaeological finds), these Europe horses and their predecessors were eaten and hunted. Why Europe horses stopped being eaten is not fully understood but is likely to do with their value as other uses for Europe horses became apparent. At the same time Europe horses have been described as being a tough and un-appealing meat, though it can still be purchased at certain places if desired. At around 4000 BCE horses would be kept and trained for milk and meet rather than being hunted, before this time it was thought that Europe horses were too small to carry riders and were not much larger than ponies. As the were domesticated and selectively bred however, Europe horses began to become strong enough to bear the weight of large riders carrying multiple bags. Toggles, cheekpieces and bridles have all been dug up around Eastern Europe from this time.

Europe horses were now used for transport, and from as early as 3000 BCE the Romans and other cultures were using horse-drawn carriages and other vehicles. The Romans thus developed roads to make travel using Europe horses safer and easier. Europe horses were now also used for warfare and at around 1800 BCE the war chariot was introduced and in 1000 BCE (surprisingly after) the first Europe horses were used for cavalry. In 700 BCE cavalry were very prominent and Europe horses became crucial to the survival of these ‘superpowers’. The ‘Greathorses’ were also introduced, which were large armoured Europe horses.

In modern times Europe horses have been almost completely replaced by cars for transport and by tanks for warfare. What continues is the racing of Europe horses which began in the 2nd Century Rome and hunting game on horseback which was popular in England until the recent passing of a new law. The rich history of Europe horses however has resulted in many interesting breads and bloodlines such as the Black Forest Horse from Germany which sports thick fur and hair to protect against the cold and is very strong for dragging sleds. Anglo-Arabian horses meanwhile are European horses crossed with Arabian and are highly sought after. The breading of Europe horses continues to be a popular pass time both for racing and for shows.