Humans began to domesticate horses around 4000 BC, and their domestication is believed to have been widespread by 3000 BC. Their anatomy enables them to make use of speed to escape predators and they have a well-developed sense of balance and a strong fight-or-flight instinct.
The Friesian is a horse breed originating in Friesland, Netherlands. They are most often recognized by its black coat color, though color alone is not its only distinguishing characteristic. A Friesian horse also has a long, thick mane and tail, often wavy, and “feathers”–long, silky hair on the lower legs, deliberately left untrimmed.
The Icelandic horse is a breed of horse developed in Iceland. Although the horses are small and pony-sized (730 and 840 lb), most registries for the Icelandic refer to it as a horse. In their native country they have few diseases; Icelandic law prevents horses from being imported into the country and exported animals are not allowed to return.
Up until the late 20th century, the Gypsy Vanner was not a recognized breed. Not much is known about the bloodlines of Gypsy Vanners because pedigrees were usually kept secret and only family members knew the details. However, as the interest in the breed grew, several breed registries developed.
The Akhal-Teke is a horse breed from Turkmenistan, where they are a national emblem. They are noted for their speed and for endurance on long marches. These “golden-horses” are adapted to severe climatic conditions and are thought to be one of the oldest surviving horse breeds.
The Shire Horse is a descendant from the medieval warhorse, the Great Horse. The Shire was developed in England first to be used in war and later to work in farms as a draught horse. Friesians and Flanders horses were taken to England by the Dutch and were bred with local specimens. The result would be a resistant horse able to work in the land and carry heavy weights.
Bonus: Ancient Chariot Burial
(National Geographic) 5 chariots and 12 horse skeletons were found in the tomb pit, according to China’s state-sponsored Xinhua news service. Archaeologists believe the tomb was dug as part of the funeral rites of a minister or other nobleman during the Eastern Zhou dynasty period, about 2,500 years ago.