Horses have been such a constant companion and
helper for man it is hard to believe they are not listed in the very beginning
of the Bible during the Creation! But they aren't!!! Instead, the very first
passage we read about that includes the word "horse" is found in Genesis 47:17.
Horses throughout the Bible are spoken of as burden animals, animals that were created to help man with his daily life and to ease his burdens. Horses bespoke wealth, status and were often a defining line between winning battles and losing them.
Where did they come from?
To read about the history of horses, click on the following links:
http://mysite.verizon.net/mmaidens/prehistory.html (very early history of the horse)
http://mysite.verizon.net/mmaidens/classical.html (how horses changed civilization)
http://mysite.verizon.net/mmaidens/medieval.html (how draft horses affected civilization)
http://mysite.verizon.net/mmaidens/asia.html (how the use of horses differed in the West and in Asia)
How horses changed civilization:
Horses changed the lifestyle of the world, including where we live in North America. They were not indigenous to North America but were brought here and eventually thrived. Who brought the first horses and why? Click on the link and find out!
Fascinating facts you may not know about horses:
Some very interesting facts about horses for those who have never been up close and personal with one!
Can you imagine???
We have often been told that King Solomon was a very wise man, specially gifted by God to rule his people with incredible wisdom. He was also known to be very wealthy as well. But did you know that he had 40,000 horses and 12,000 horsemen at his disposal! Can you IMAGINE how much those horses ate each day and how much manure they created! That is an amazing number of animals and would have created an invincible army for King Solomon! 1 Kings 4:26 "And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen."
Some VERY famous horses in history!
Some horses were doomed to live a life of non-importance. They pulled plows, carried unimportant people from one place to another, were used to transport supplies, and some were even used for entertainment. Only a select few have made it into the history files as worthy to be remembered. Here are a few:
Bucephalus - THE most famous horse of all time. Alexander the Great's favorite horse. http://www.answers.com/main/ntq-dsid-1648-dekey-bucephalus
A list of dozens of famous horses and their owners with links to learn more about those that interest you: http://www.answers.com/topic/list-of-historical-horses
The video clips linked below show you how horses can do the work of many men and in a shorter amount of time. Take the logging video for example, it would take a dozen men or more to lift and move the large trees that are cut down during the logging process. With a pair of horses, the trees are easily maneuvered and moved with the flick of a wrist on the reins. Listen as the video explains how the horses cause less damage to the environment than a tractor does and how quiet it is while harvesting trees as compared to loud, noisy, smokey tractors.
Also consider the video clip that shows a tractor tilling soil verses a team of horses. Although the tractor can plow faster, allowing more fields to be sown and harvested per farmer, there is a negative side to this too. Farmers work much longer hours because their tractor never gets tired, or needs to eat and rest. Tractors can work in the dark, horses can't. This means that farmers put in longer days working with tractors than they would with a pair of horses - yes, the farmer makes more money, can farm larger areas and produce more food. However, the farmer himself can often become fatigued and become injured.
Farming as an industry has one of the highest rates of injury - partly because they work so hard and become tired and thus, careless. With a team of horses, the farmer would need to rest during the day while his horses rested. He would be up at daybreak and sleeping at nightfall - just like his horses. His days would be less stressful and tiring - with the drawback that he could not farm as much land and would make less income.
This doesn't even take into consideration the effect of machinery on land verses animals - animal manure can be spread onto the fields to compost over the winter, feeding the soil that the next harvest will grow in. Tractors produce exhaust and pollution, and use a considerable amount of gasoline or diesel fuel to operate. Horses are easier on the environment and do not leave damage behind them. Tractors, because of their size and weight can permanently destroy the ecological life near the fields they work.
There are pros and cons to both sides -which would you prefer if you were going to be a farmer? Why?
http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe20s/machines_01.htm (compares horses to tractors)
http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/player/environment/going-green-environment/conservation-in-action/horses-logging.html (logging trees with horses instead of machines)