Horse Back Riding History
Horse back riding history tells the story of a relationship between man and horse born of necessity and innovation as civilization grew and adapted through time. While the first instances of horse back riding are disputed, a colorful history of the activity is well documented from early work horse days through modern times.
The Origin of Horse Back Riding. Because the domestication of horses and horse back riding dates to prehistoric times, the exact origin of horse back riding is unknown. Recent anthropological data reports that horses were likely domesticated as early as 3500 BCE by the Botai Culture in Kazakhstan—but, the evidence does not prove whether those early animals were ridden or simply harnessed for work.
History of Horse Back Riding in Early Warfare. Some of the earliest documentation of horse back riding depicts horses used for ancient warfare. Horses were used to pull chariots as early as 2000 BCE and evidence exists that horses were ridden effectively in battle as early as the Iron Age. Advances in riding equipment during the Middle Ages made horse back riding easier and more efficient for war—as well as for other transportation purposes.
Horse Back Riding through the Middle Ages. In addition to war, horses were commonly used for transportation throughout history. Both men and women of various classes of society rode horses if physically able to do so. As technology progressed during the Middle Ages, more advanced riding equipment emerged and domesticated animal breeding continued--giving rise to horses and breeds more suitable to riding.
Horse Back Riding in Modern Times. As the need for work horses declined in modern society for both war efforts and transportation, the interest in riding for sport and recreation emerged. The popularity of equestrian sports led to the entry of horse back riding skill competitions in the 1908 Olympics and it remains popular today.
Horse Back Riding Trends and Research. Horse back riding competitions, events, shows, and riding classes are common today with many people worldwide riding horses recreationally or for sport. The values of horse back riding extend beyond a riding trail or ring as well. The use of horses as therapy for those suffering from post traumatic stress disorders or disabilities is growing as research supports its validity as a treatment option.