The sound is unmistakable: the thundering hooves of a running horse. Horses have been racing across the landscape for more than 50 million years!!!! much longer than our own species has existed. But once horses and humans encountered each other, our two species became powerfully linked.
No other animal can match the contributions that horses have made to human civilization. Horses cannot learn the way people do; training horses involves working with their natural instincts, not trying to change them. Most of the qualities that make horses helpful to humans were already present in wild horses. Their bodies are powerful, living machines that can work all day, powered only by grass. And their brains give them both the ability to understand subtle commands and the motivation to obey them.
Humans domesticated horses some 6,000 years ago, and over time, we have created more than 200 breeds, from the powerful Clydesdale to the graceful Arabian. As we have shaped horses to suit our needs on battlefields, farms and elsewhere, these animals have shaped human history. They have also captured our imagination and hearts. Millions of people rely on horses as their spirited, dedicated, much adored companions.
The close relationship between horses and humans has changed us both.
People have remade horses, creating dozens of breeds in our efforts to make horses faster, stronger, bigger or smaller.
Horses have also changed us. The ways we travel, trade, play, work and fight wars have all been profoundly shaped by our use of horses. The exhibit provides a glimpse into the countless ways that horses have transformed human societies around the world.
Go check out "The Horse" a wonderful new exhibit at the museum of natural history, son. It's there until January.