Evidence shows that horses were originally used as a food source long before their strength and speed was harnessed for riding and driving purposes. Although it is uncertain exactly when horses were first domesticated and ridden it is known that they were used for hunting purposes, to pull chariots, transport supplies, go into countless battles and for farming.
With improvements being made to the training of horses and to the riding tack used, horse riding became a more safe and comfortable proposition, allowing the horse to be used for a number of purposes such as a scout and delivery of the post.
Today the horse riding skills learnt over the years are practiced, developed and taught all over the world. Horses are now not only bred and trained for competition but also used for work and as pleasure horses where they are used for a number of activities both ridden an driven .
To date, certain findings, and certain approximate dates have come to light:
- It was in the Eneolithic era around 5000 to 4200 BC that the remains of horses were uncovered along with the remains of cattle and sheep.
- Horses were used for sacrifice and also as a food source and were uncovered in the Volga river region of the Eurasian steppes.
- Around 4200 BC, again in the steppes, head maces were found showing further horse domestication.
- 3500 BC the Botai culture in northern Kazakhstan were thought to be riding horses as a means to hunt and also using horses as a source of food.
- In 2000 BC the Andronova culture (also called the Sintashta culture) are thought to have invented the spoked wheel and chariot. The Sintashta culture were from the Ural Mountains which form part of boundary between Europe and Asia. It is from a site called Sintashta on the upper Ural River that the spoked wheel and chariot were uncovered.
- The training of horses has been a long established process, as early as 1400 BC a horse trainer from Turkey called Kikkuli used conditioning and training techniques such as interval training and the use of lengthy periods of walking, trotting and cantering to prepare the chariot horses for battle.
- There is much evidence that chariots were used throughout the Bronze and Iron ages.
- Around 1300 BC the Mycenaean's used chariots to go into battle.
- By 1300 BC the chariots use in battle was at its peak although evidence shows that this tailed off by around 400bc.
- Chariots were most commonly pulled by either two, three or four horses.
- A two horse chariot was called a Biga
- A three horse chariot was called a Triga.
- A four horse chariot was called a Quadriga.