Talk:Domestication of the horse

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Original work?[edit]

Is this original work? -- Zoe

The conclusion ought to be that mankind early understood the importance of breeding good stallions since they can produce much more foals than a mare can.

How is this stallion producing foals without a mare? Clearly I'm missing something. Ubermonkey

I.e. a single stallion could fertilize many different mares, bearing offspring, while a single mare could not bear more foals during the time she is pregnant. Maybe it could be rewritten.
Cheyenne family using a horse-drawn travois, 1890

Bit wear on teeth[edit]

It seems to me that the idea that the use of a bit implies the invention either of riding or of wheels ignores the use of the sledge. The timber dray (Horse-drawn vehicles - Find: dray), the troika and other sleighs used horses for traction without the use of wheels.

A light sledge suitable for carrying the folded homes of nomads could be and was quite easily made of two suitably curved poles to act as both shafts and runners. On snow, ice or grass, they would not wear very rapidly and would bear the weight of the goods so that only friction need be overcome. See Travois. (RJP 19:22, 5 March 2006 (UTC))

"Theories from DNA evidence"

this section needs a little scientific help. i read the report on genetic variation and the authors do not support either the single domestication theory or the multiple domestication theory, but they do seem to lean towards the first. what they actually proved (more or less) is that domesticated horses decend from multiple herds rather than one herd. this could still indicate one orginal domestication site, and addition breeding into the original line with new local herds as the horse-breeding knowlege spreads from culture to culture. this seems to be their preferred explaination, but they don't have proof of that, only proof (within the limits of the small DNA samples they had access to, and very limited wild DNA) that there was more that one original herd.

also the part regarding one original stallion is a little confused. with any given sexually-reproducing species you can trace back Y-chomosome inheritence to a common male ancestor. because the Y-chomosome is inherited soley from the father, there is an unbroken line backwards in time of father-to-son inheritance. this doesn't work in forwards in time, though, because some males do not have any male offspring and therefor their Y-chomosome line died out. so tracing Y-chomosome inheritence back far enough, you will awalys come up with one single male somewhere back in time that is the Y-chomosomal "adam" for that species. there were other males alive at the same time, but none that had an unbroken male line. the other male's genetic information can still be passed into the gene pool through female children, so they do contribute to the species. in humans, the Y-chromosomal adam lived about 75,000 years ago or so.

the same thing can be done with the mitochondrial dna for female inheritance, as mitochondria is inherited soley through the mother. humans have a mitochondrial "eve" about 150,000 years ago.

finally, there's another interesting tidbit to through in the mix. apparently there were original many different species of wild horse. all but one species (possible two, depending on how you classify the species) were rendered extinct about 10,000 years ago, almost certainly through human hunting. so, how did our domesticated horse survive from 10,000 years ago until 4,000 years ago when the first chariots show up? it seems unlikely that they could have survived extinction on their own when all the other species died, so it has been suggested that they were already being kept as food or pet animals from that time onwards.


Such a clear explanation might be employed in re-editing the article itself. Why not log in and get to work on it, slamorte? --Wetman 17:30, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Article still a mess[edit]

There is some material that covers the same information but stated differently in different places. There is a need for some consolidation and cleanup. I've tried, but it's daunting, and I don't have the time to locate some necessary information to be sure the material is stated accurately and the controversies each stated fairly.

It is important to note that size actually doesn't matter...the large heavy horse wasn't needed for mounted cavalry until the "invention" of the fully armored knight...look at Ancient Greek art--those fellows clearly were on small horses, look at how they carried their feet--wrapped around the barrel or hanging underneath.

It also floors me that there is even a debate over whether horses were first ridden or driven. Aren't any anthropologists horsemen? Some of their theories defy logic and proof even in the present day that light cavalry is extremely effective. I mean, duh...people rode first. Ever try to train a horse? MUCH easier to teach them to be ridden than to drive. At least as long as you aren't afraid of falling off... Montanabw 16:22, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

your revert is apparently uninformed of a difference between the Bronze Age (1500 BC) and the Iron Age (500 BC). Of course the Iron Age horses were still "small", and it is undisputed that they were used for light cavarly, especially mounted archers, from at least 800 BC. The horses in 2000 BC may however have been still smaller, and your argument about Roman cavalry (late Iron Age) is completely irrelevant to the Bronze Age. There is simply no evidence of cavalry in the 2nd millennium BC. The Sigynnae are actually a good example of a steppe people apparently preserving the Bronze Age state of things into the Iron Age. We are not discussing "Icelander" size (14hh): of course these may be ridden even in warfare. I suppose we are looking at 10-12hh (Caspian pony): you certainly may trot around sitting on these (thus, I have no problem accepting that herdsmen were riding them long before the chariot was invented), but I have serious doubts about galopping into battle. dab () 15:23, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Do not assume that I am "uninformed." That's sort of a slam by Wiki guidelines. I think, however, that your clarification of horses as used in warfare versus domestication generally does the trick. I can't find the source now, but there ARE cave paintings of humans on horseback that predate the Bronze age...however, I will agree that the image was not of a warrior, and that evidence for use of mounted horses in warfare is a different kettle of fish.Montanabw 16:39, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

that's all I meant to say :) I assume it is a pretty natural idea to try and sit on a horse's back as soon as you catch one, even in the paleolithic. The "riding vs. driving" debate was misrepresented by alleging the "driving" side claims no human had sat on a horse before 2000 BC. That's of course nonsense. The point is that the horse did not become an efficient means of transport, much less of warfare, before that time. dab () 17:35, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

looking into Tarpan, it appears possible the horses were already between 12 and 13 hh at the time of domestication. That's still "pony" size, of course, but still noticeably larger than the Caspian pony. I don't have a definite source for this though. dab () 11:29, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

WOW, is about all I can say for this article. Might I suggest a different approach, think of it as highlights in horse domestication. An encyclopedic entry on the subject should focus on an overview of the topic and not a thorough discussion on each theory. A timeline approach acknowledging the early theories and going all the way to present day is what I expected. I can see that a lot of effort went into developing a thorough discussion on the various theories for horse domestication and they should not be lost, they can go into separate to cover each theory with its strengths and weaknesses. Mike padilla 03:20, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

You might be onto something. Maybe the thing to do is to create "sandbox" off of this page and start a more or less new article there, importing it over to the "real" space when those who care deem it ready. A better organizational approach is definitely where to start. That said, there's nothing wrong with a detailed article, just that there certainly is a line between detailed and bogged down, which is the problem here. And moving some theories to their own article might work if they got to be more than a paragraph or two. Well, anyone who wants to start the sandbox, I'm in. Montanabw(talk) 04:56, 2 October 2007 (UTC)


I am sorry, I appreciate the point about "gibberish", but great care should be taken that 'dumbing down' things for readers unwilling to click on wikilinks isn't done at the expense of accuracy. Which is clearly the case in the following:

Investigations on the Y chromosome, published in 2004 suggests that all horses, big and small, may descend from one single stallion. On the other hand, similar studies showed that there are at least a hundred different maternal ancestors of the modern horse, though fewer as studies go deeper in time.

The study in question certainly didn't "suggest that all horses may descend from a single stallion". That would be stating the obvious. We may state the obvious for our readers' benefit, but we may not allege that a research paper did so. I imagine that the paper much rather suggested that "the Y-mrca, that is, the stallion from which all horses great and small, pretty and ugly, alive today are descended" did in fact live at such-and-such a time (later than the Neolithic). Similarly, it is nonsense to state that "there are at least a hundred different maternal ancestors of the modern horse". I imagine that the intended reading here is that "studies show that maternal lines around the presumed time of domestication do not converge to a single individual." It is again clear and not the study's result, that if you go further back in time (how far?), these maternal lines will, in fact, converge to a single strand. Again, I am not opposed to some dumbing-down (as long as the reader isn't being talked down to), but if you're going to do that, you have to take care to give facts precedence over quality of prose. dab () 20:09, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Having not read the study, I was taking what was written, just trying to blend different explanations into something readable for an adequately educated member of the general public. I certainly agree corrections and the style could be improved. However, I have a law degree and 10 years of higher education, including some life science. But I'm not a scientist. This makes my eyes cross and gives me a headache! Clarity and good, readable style isn't "dumbing down, that's my only point. Also, wiki links can be "piped" so that what is said in the article flows nicely. It's nice to get the gist WITHOUT having to read 10 wiki articles, especially when some people still live with a dialup ISP. So how about this: Don't cut other material, but write down the facts, explain why they matter, make the point that all this is about (which is, I assume, that all domesticated horses apparently came from one progenitor stallion?) Then I can try to improve the style so it can be read by people other than geneticists??Montanabw 21:53, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I haven't seen the paper myself, but as far as I understand, the point is that all domesticated horses might descend from one domesticated stallion: the entire point is that the Y-mrca appears to have lived after the presumed date of domestication, while the mt-mrca lived before that time. But since we both haven't seen the paper, we have to be extra careful not to introduce unverified claims. Now, again, please accept my apologies if I seemed rash: I did not remove the passage because I found it 'dumbed down', but because it contained factual errors. Wikipedia was slow as molasses for me yesterday, or I might have tried rephrasing it. I am all for clarity and readable style. It's just that we are trying to discuss an expert paper we haven't even seen, and since the concept of mrca is rather complicated to explain to someone encoutering it for the first time, there is a real danger the paragraph will be seriously sidetracked if we try to do it here. Of course I support spelling out the abbreviation, linking to most recent common ancestor, but people interested in figuring out the details will have no choice but to go and read that article. dab () 08:34, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Works for me. Overall, the article is getting better. The trick, as always, is to write factually but for a general audience. If you think Wiki was slow, try it on a dialup in a rural area!


I've imported the material on horse domestication on Samara culture (which did not deal with the Samara culture in particular); the material now present in the article may have to be re-organized in a better thought-out ToC. dab () 09:29, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

I tweaked it some, it will need more. The original article already had some disorganization and redundancy, but better to have it all in one place and then edit than leave something out that is important.

Too Homogenous[edit]

4ex, it says

The horse of the Iron Age was still relatively small, perhaps 12.2 to 14.2 hands high or 1.27 to 1.47 meters, measured at the withers. This was shorter overall average height than modern riding horses, which range from 14.2 to 17.2 hh (1.47 to 1.78 meters).

The horse of the Iron Age in which areas? "Iron Age" is a junk designation anyway. One people are in the Iron Age when another are in a Bronze Age and a third in a Stone Age. Since I don't know what the original writer is referencing, I can't correct it. This sounds like, say, a Parthenon pony, but doesn't apply to horses elsewhere at the same time, like the Persian's Nisaeans, 16-17 hh, or the horses of the Sea of Grass, 14.2-15.3 hands (both from excavated remains). Am I allowed to rewrite this from the ground up, since I can't just tweak it?

This is such a common failing of tech history articles: assuming one culture represents all cultures, whether in horses, bows, or plants gathered.HollyI 20:14, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

How about using this talk page as a "sandbox" for a section rewrite and you can also provide your sources. Those of us who care can check your work and give you our "blessing" (grin) when it seems ready to incorporate into the main article. (I created the header, below) Keep in mind that there are multiple theories out there and sometimes it is important to "teach the controversy" by mentioning all sides. (For example, the "were horses driven or ridden first" controversy... sigh, don't get me started on THAT one!) As for "Iron Age," it may be appropriate to clarify that we are talking primarily about ancient Mesopotamia and the immediate surrounding areas. There were no horses in North America at the time, so that area needs not be noted, and most sources I have seen place initial domestication as starting with either the Scythians or some of the peoples of the Fertile Cresecnt itself and spreading fairly quickly from there. (Dates of domestication in China and India are worth knowing...)Montanabw(talk) 21:40, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
However, before you state that ANY ancient horses were actually 17 hands tall, your source needs to be impeccable, as there are certainly few if any sources making that claim. (and a LOT of folks digging up and analysing ancient sites know squat about horses, hence the infamous driving or riding controversy...) I just spent a whole bunch of time becoming painfully aware that modern research pretty much shows that the "Great Horse" of the middle ages was nowhere close to the size of the modern horse, as is often argued. Montanabw(talk) 21:40, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

I've started a general edit to the entire article[edit]

I am an archaeologist who specializes in Eurasian steppe prehistory and specifically in the prehistory of human-horse relationships. I have started a general edit of the article on the Domestication of the Horse. As this is my first Wikipedia effort, I am still uncertain about some technical editing matters, particularly on uploading images. The article could use some added images, and I have many. At this point, 10/25/07, I have made substantial changes to the Introduction, the section on the Predecessors of the domestic horse, and the section on Genetics. I am not offended by rewrites myself, so feel free to change my changes. I am about to begin on the Archaeological Evidence, which is my actual area of expertise. I have, however, read a lot of literature on equid taxonomy and genetics, and I have added references to those sections. This will be an ongoing project perhaps for the next week, whenever I have the time. Gohs 16:46, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Overally, you are doing a job that is much needed, but be careful about readability and POV. See my edits and perhaps you should consider using the "sandbox" area I have created below for drafting material, though it's also OK to be "bold." Some of your material is very good, and when it is sourced, it is better. I am doing a lot of wordsmithing for readability, though. This is an encyclopedia, after all, not a learned treatise (whenever you have sources that can be linked to the web, try to add a link, even if it is a subscription database. Also try to add ISBN numbers for books) However, there are competing theories, and the Eurasian steppes are not the only place where domestication may have occurred, and thus you need to watch your POV. I have no idea if you are also a person who knows horses at all, but I'm sure you realize that some "expert" theories out there are clearly full of shit. (Like the one that argues that horses were driven before being ridden). Montanabw(talk) 17:23, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Follow up: Went through and mostly just wordsmithed. However, saw a couple of things you need to watch.
  1. Please do not blank most questionable material without first using the {{fact}} tag to allow other editors a chance to defend their material. You will note that I threw that tag on some sections, and not necessarily because I question all of them (some I agree with) but because they DO need a cited source.
  2. You can delete or hide rather than tag things that seem beyond the pale, but usually only if the material is potentially rather offensive and apt to trigger edit wars. (Like I tossed the material about the Blackfeet and the magpies!) For example, today I hid one rather outlandish theory that was in there. I didn't delete it because maybe there's a source, but it's still a loopy theory that if it IS sourced, (like the Blackfeet and the magpies) I will go out and find the sources that say otherwise. (Mares, no matter what their position in a herd, do not "submit" to stallions unless receptive to breeding, ask the large number of people with stallions who have suffered severe injuries from being kicked by mares. And the docile stallion theory is also nuts, bachelor herds have mild behavior, but even a very well-mannered stallion is going to act differently in the presence of a mare in estrus. That particular theory just defies all biological sense. But I digress...) Anyway, we also have to work on that Tarpan issue. They really existed, and I haven't the energy to source that stuff now, but maybe read Konik and Heck horse and see what you think. Montanabw(talk) 18:01, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

New note: Please read Wikipedia:Footnotes, part of the problem is that we need to do a little wiki markup language to make footnotes work here the way they are supposed to. I fixed a bunch, you can probably see how it works from there. Montanabw(talk) 22:16, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Sandbox for rewrites[edit]

Four foundations[edit]

The following text, formerly under the heading The "Four Foundations" theory, I removed from Evolution of the horse per discussion on that article's talk page. --Una Smith (talk) 06:23, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Przewalski's Horse, the last surviving wild horse species

A theory has been advanced that four basic "proto" horses developed in Europe through natural selection with adaptations to their environment prior to domestication of the horse. Some competing theories, however, argue that the prototypes were separate species, while others suggest that the prototypes were physically different manifestations of Equus ferus or Equus caballus. Either way, the most common theories of historical wild species from which other types are thought to have developed suggests the following base prototypes:[1]

  • The "Warmblood subspecies" or "Forest Horse" (Equus ferus silvaticus, also called the Diluvial Horse), thought to have evolved into Equus ferus germanicus, and which may have contributed to the development of the warmblood horses of northern Europe, as well as older "heavy horses" such as the Ardennais.
  • The "Draft" subspecies, a small, sturdy, heavyset animal with a heavy hair coat, arising in northern Europe, adapted to cold, damp climates, somewhat resembling today's draft horse and even the Shetland pony.
  • The "Oriental" subspecies, (Equus agilis) a taller, slim, refined and agile animal arising in western Asia, adapted to hot, dry climates, thought to be the progenitor of the modern Arabian horse and Akhal-Teke.
  • The "Tarpan subspecies," dun-colored, sturdy animal, the size of a large pony, adapted to the cold, dry climates of northern Asia, the predecessor to the Tarpan and Przewalski's Horse as well as the domesticated Mongolian horse.

To begin to qualify as encyclopedic content, the above needs thorough sourcing. --Una Smith (talk) 06:27, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

  1. ^ Bennett, Deb. Conquerors: The Roots of New World Horsemanship. Amigo Publications Inc; 1st edition 1998. ISBN 0-9658533-0-6
It was sourced, if you noticed. I'll insert it here. Thanks at least for not removing it altogether. Montanabw(talk) 04:09, 25 January 2009 (UTC)


I have added an out-of-date tag on the domestication section, because many genetic studies do not confirm the main idea proposed here, the four foundations theory. Genetic research using ancient DNA shows clearly that there are no subspecies within the wild horse in Europe. The idea promoted by Bennett was in vogue for a time before more insights in the genetics were obtained. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 16:50, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

I can live with the tag. However, "Europe" is a pretty limited range, particularly when you consider that the horse was domesticated in the steppes north of Mesopotamia and spread into the Ancient Near East, north Africa and western Asia long before really being used in Europe... I really must ask that sources be shown that disprove the four foundations (which actually are seven subspecies, when you count Przewalski's, etc...) LOL! Montanabw(talk) 00:49, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I should have written, Eurasia. For the rest, see my extensive reply at Talk:Wild horse. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 04:30, 17 February 2009 (UTC)


Be repaired for changes to the article see here: --Kevmin (talk) 01:43, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

"Repaired?" LOL! We ARE prepared! Actually, if you read the article, you will note that we already discuss the Botai culture extensively. The BBC is behind the curve. This stuff has been known for quite a while, though I suppose the controversy is perhaps now finally settled. Montanabw(talk) 03:40, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Outdated references: First domestication[edit]

Ok, we need some solid references for when the horse was first domesticated. And with that I mean, not speculations, or discredited finds. Everything on the 4000 claim seems to come down to one book, if you follow the reference trail, a Clutton-Brock (?) 1992 book that I can not access. And that no scholarly source references for the same date. That is a reliable source, but outdated. This seems to be a general issue with this article, outdated and discredited ideas are pushed as being still valid. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 11:34, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

I added information from CBC's Quirks and Quarks last week (Canada's national science radio show), which talks about domesticated horse remains found from 3500 BC. This was from researchers at U. of Exeter in England. Suggest the lead para is changed to cite 3500-4000BC, with the two existin citations plus the Quirks and Quarks citation? Zatoichi26 (talk) 16:38, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
I tweaked the lead to say 3500-4000 BC. Kentucky Horse park's International Museum of the Horse is not a major university, but they are trying to be a credible source. I agree with Kim that we want to look for the best possible sources and that sometimes TV or Newspaper articles should be double-checked when possible and the original sources found. Overall, I'm comfortable with the direction things are going. Basically, the main thing that gets me grumpy are things, like a recent history book I just bought, that still claim the first domesticated horses pulled chariots over a thousand years after we have clear evidence of domestication. (ARRGH! and sighing). Source it, discuss it first if it's going to be a big change, and I will be a happy camper. Montanabw(talk) 06:10, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Domestication and color[edit]

[1] This paper came out recently. The authors concluded that unusual colors were not present in wild horses, and early domesticated horses would have been plain-colored. Rich bays, greys, palominos, white markings all arose later. The paper is reviewed in more accessible terms [2] here. These findings are consistent with long-term studies of domestication [3].

In any event, I'm not entirely sure how this would work in, but I feel that given some of the widespread misunderstandings - that the leopard complex predates domestication, for example - that the issues of "What did the earliest domesticated horses look like?" and "What happens when a species is domesticated?" are best answered by this article. Countercanter (talk) 19:56, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

I wonder if it is better here or in horse breeding. It may be a good addition, but it also is part of the bigger issue of the impact of selective breeding in general..that whole issue of when a species is "domesticated" as opposed to "tamed" is sort of ducked in this article at the moment...Hmm. There is also stuff like the "four foundations" and question of what phenotypes were developed by natural selection and which by selective breeding... I don't know the answers to all of this, but that is, at least, the question. Basically, either way, anything put in that goes against traditional wisdom (but darn it, there ARE spots on the horses in the prehistoric cave paintings, which PROVES the Appaloosa dates to the dawn of time! LOL!!) will need to be explained, with the conventional wisdom also explained, and meticulously sourced.I think you DO have a cool notion here, and I'm up for exploring the idea. Maybe look at the horse breeding article and maybe also selective breeding, which is about animals in general...isn't it true that weird coloring and spotting in general is a characteristic of domestication, save when it is useful for camoflague??? Montanabw(talk) 04:17, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
Proves? I see the spots...but they don't suggest leopard complex to me, or to researchers. Countercanter (talk) 21:43, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
BINGO! (I was being sarcastic and trying to be funny. Whoops, didn't come through in text...) One book I have suggests that the cave paintings simply reflect a "spot happy artist! LOL! What the issue is, however, is that the people who are fond of the very old breeds have a hard time letting go of the concept that they are a wild prototype (I was once one of these people, and now feel a certain dedication to burst everyone else's balloon too (evil grin) bwahahaha!) Montanabw(talk) 02:26, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
Oh thank goodness! I was so worried. "Surely....surely she doesn't believe that there were lots of boring bay duns and blanket appaloosas running around?" Countercanter (talk) 14:48, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
LOL! Sometimes I go off the chart on the snark meter and hence no one realizes how hilarious I am trying to be. You were supposed to do a ROFLMAO about that! (grin). Maybe this is why I never made it in comedy. I suppose there is such a thing as too dry... bummer (crossing off another career option, consigned to the dustbin along with ballerina, figure skater, jockey...) Montanabw(talk) 18:12, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
"Follow up': The scientific journal link is to a subscription-only site, may have to dig for a free site source (at least for reading, in a wiki article, we can cite to the hardcopy version). Can you find one? Sounds like the study is quite interesting, but I found the MSNBC version amusing. "brown-gray"? Um, I believe that is what we call "Dun." (Dontcha LOVE popular culture) I was also floored about the comment that chestnuts are considered easier to handle. That's a pile of horse pucky! (grin) (I personally do not see significant color-linked characteristics, though I know a lot of people make such claims --but even if true, in the Thoroughbred and Arabian worlds, chestnuts are reputed to be "hot!" LOL!) Montanabw(talk) 04:53, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
See e-mail. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 05:14, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
Got just the abstract...possible to get the whole thing...? Montanabw(talk) 02:26, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
You got the whole thing. :-) -- Kim van der Linde at venus 02:46, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
Okey dokey! Montanabw(talk) 23:20, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

GA review[edit]

Hey Nefirious, I don't quite think the article is quite ready for GA yet, but if you want, I would be OK if you wanted to put it up for a Peer review to see what others have to say. See WP:PEER. The standards have gotten pretty tough for GA and I know that when it comes to issues on sourcing and such, I will probably wind up having to be the person to do the heavy lifting (and a couple other people at WPEQ who have lots of good reference works). And I am sort of distracted by the GA push for the Dominant white article right now... That said, a peer review may help everyone get a sense of where this article may still need work and I'd be glad to support such an effort. Montanabw(talk) 01:35, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Cavalry revolution[edit]

This article should mention this term, which refers to the major changes that occurred in cultures that mastered the art of horse riding (refs). The article is also unclear on when and where the horse riding begun and how it spread. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 00:23, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Maybe. I'll review the source, remind me if I don't get to it. Montanabw(talk) 06:55, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Duplication in the lead?[edit]

The last paragraph of the lead has these two sentences, one after the other.

Regardless of the specific date of domestication, use of horses spread rapidly across Eurasia for transportation, agricultural work and warfare. Possibly as early as 3500-3000 BCE, and certainly during the period 2500-2000 BCE, human reliance on domesticated horses spread across Eurasia for transportation and warfare.

Seems like they could be boiled down to just one. ++Lar: t/c 04:07, 6 February 2010 (UTC)

Will peek and see if I can tweak. Good catch. Montanabw(talk) 08:17, 6 February 2010 (UTC)

Regarding the earliest verified date of tamed horses: apparently it is already known that the date is much earlier than the article states.

For example, there are Cro-magnon cave paintings dated around 15,000 B.C.E. or earlier, such as the Cave of Les Trois Freres in the French Pyrenees[1] showing normal-size horses exuberantly ridden by colorfully dressed riders, complete with strange boots, one with long reddish-brown hair flying in the wind.

  1. ^ Jing, Xue: -colored images of Les Trois cave paintings.Insert footnote text here

One fresco-type painting seems to deliberately depict a chaotic incident: brave-postured 'see-through' images, with horseman surrounded and overlapped by various recognizable animals and weaponed warriors. Anyway, the horses obviously have reins, bridles, harnesses and normal coloration: one is light tan with medium brown tail and mane.

Because of these and other similar cave paintings from the time period of about 30,000 to 15,000 B.C.E., the referenced article states, "Currently scientists think that the Cro-magnons of Neolithic France understood horses better than other races of the same time period." Special:Contributions/ (talk) 19:56, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

These claims have been raised before, but no one seems to be able to provide any actual "scientists" who have verified it. If you can find peer-reviewed sources for any of the above please provide them. Otherwise, this is simply "Clan of the Cave Bear" nonsense. Montanabw(talk) 20:42, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
I don't have a horse in this game (heh), and it does sound strange and unlikely, but judging from the attempt at a ref, the IP must have referred to this and in particular this. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:58, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
And heh, this issue was dead over three years ago. Montanabw(talk) 19:50, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
I know, I only just stumbled upon it and it piqued my curiosity, so I looked for the source and well, it just seemed good style to share my result. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 20:17, 10 January 2014 (UTC)


Thus, on one hand, logic suggests that horses would have been ridden long before they were driven. Why? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:41, 22 October 2011 (UTC)

See above. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 23:58, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

The horse was firstly domesticated by Arabians 9000 years ago[edit]

"The horse was firstly domesticated by Arabians 9000 years ago in the Magar site so please add that and correct the article and PIE word for horse *ekwo/*esvas was borrowed from Proto Semitic *sws"

The horse was firstly domesticated by Arabians 9000 years ago in the Magar site so please add that and correct the article

Evidence has been found that pushes back horse domestication by another 3500 years, Saudi officials report.

Several of the objects recently unearthed at Al-Maqar. The head of Saudi Arabia's antiquities agency says evidence unearthed at a site at Al-Maqar pushes horse domestication back to 9000 years ago.

Previous research, published in 2009, put the earliest evidence of horse domestication at 5500 years ago, in Kazakhstan. Researchers found evidence that the Botai culture based there bred horses not only for riding, but for food, including milk.

Humanbyrace (talk) 19:53, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

Humanbyrace, as has been explained elsewhere, basically, the evidence for Saudi Arabian domestication 3500-4000 years before any other evidence of domestication is not convincing. It is evidence that people knew horses existed, and possibly at that location, but nothing more. The horse also appeared in cave art 10,000 years ago in France, but no one seriously considers that evidence of domestication either. In time, perhaps additional evidence will be found, but what there is to date is unconvincing and certainly not in the realm of "fact." Right now, the only originating sources for this assertion are basically press releases by the Saudi government, hardly unbiased. Now, if the find is subjected to peer-reviewed scrutiny and becomes accepted by the wider scientific community, it can be noted in the article. But for now, nothing yet dethrones the 5500-5000 year range. Montanabw(talk) 21:34, 13 November 2011 (UTC)
Exceptional claims require exceptional evidence. An exceptional claim in news reports is not exceptional evidence. Let them get it by peer reviewers and after that, we add it to the article. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 05:12, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for the enlightening response

Humanbyrace (talk) 16:50, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

Moreover, the alleged borrowing is linguistically NOT POSSIBLE. HJJHolm (talk) 08:42, 30 November 2014 (UTC)

New domestication research (May 2012)[edit]

From the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Reconstructing the origin and spread of horse domestication in the Eurasian steppe

Science NOW coverage

article permalink (maybe not posted yet) --TSchwenn (talk) 20:56, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

Yes, that's been out there for the last year or so. Montanabw(talk) 01:22, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
From BBC News 26/Feb/2013: "Desert finds challenge horse taming ideas". However, if I find that culture "X" had carvings of woolly mammoths, I am not going to assume that they actually domesticated, milked and rode woolly mammoths. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk)
Precisely, this is so far a fringe theory and an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary evidence. Not suitable here at this point. Montanabw(talk) 00:59, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────to avoid confusion, we already have quite a bit on the Verifiable theories of domestication in the article per [4], [5] and [6]. The Arabian peninsula theory of 9000 years back is not verified by modern science (and the lines on the horses are about where their scapula is, not even where a yoke would go, no one could control a horse by a strap on its shoulders, it's utterly ridiculous) Montanabw(talk) 20:52, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

Journalists - from BBC and everywhere - use to spread everything, and are not a source for being cited in wikipedia. Please spare us such speculations! HJJHolm (talk) 14:44, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

Al-Mahar & Dhambalin[edit]

In 2011, what appears to be the earliest evidence of horse domestication was discovered in the Arabian Peninsula by Saudi archaeologists. It dates back some 9,000 years and is associated with the advanced Neolithic Al-Mahar civilization (c.f. [7]). Somali archaeologists in the adjacent Horn region have also uncovered early evidence of horse domestication at the northern Dhambalin site, where rock art in the Ethiopian-Arabian style has been dated to 5,000–3,000 ybp (c.f. [8], [9]). Middayexpress (talk) 16:29, 22 June 2013 (UTC)

This is not a reliable source. The two press mentions are not followed up by actual papers by the discoverers. Until THOSE come out, it's not particularly scientific news yet. Newspapers and news outlets often get science news pretty wrong. Until we see the actual scholarly reports, it's not good to add. Ealdgyth - Talk 17:05, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
That's a reprint of an actual paper from the African Archaeological Review (2008) 25:153–168. It's also the article that the AFP follow-up alludes to [10]. Middayexpress (talk) 17:11, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
Lets see the actual scholars of the Saudi site publish (if they do) and not go with press releases interpreted by journalists. We've discussed these claims before and are still awaiting scholars weighing in on them. Ealdgyth - Talk 17:23, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
The solution to this problem is NOT to edit war the item or items into the article. You've been reverted by two different editors, but you've inserted the information AGAIN into the article, you're pushing 3 reverts and could be blocked for edit warring. The information is contentious and has been deemed best to wait on it to see what other scholars have to say about it. Ealdgyth - Talk 17:28, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
I re-inserted the Dhambalin info, not the Al-Mahar material. There's no contention over the Dhambalin find. The lead archaeologist who discovered that rock art, Sada Mire, published a paper on it in the reputable archaeological journal cited above. Middayexpress (talk) 17:36, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
If I hadn't had issues with the Dhambalin info, I wouldn't have reverted it. Nothing I've seen yet ties this image of possibly someone on a horse's back to actual domestication of horses in that area. Until it does and is backed by scholarly works that claim the image is evidence of domestication of horses, it's not relevant to the article. The press release blurb doesn't say that it's evidence of domestication... Ealdgyth - Talk 17:41, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
Oh, wait, the actual paper (assuming that the "reprint" is accurate) says "One of the hunting scenes depicts two hunters together, one standing and another hunter sitting on an animal, perhaps a horse, and holding a bow and arrow in position to hit antelopes surrounding him Horses are still found/kept in Somaliland." It's not even SURE that it's a horse and nothing is said there about it being one of the earliest images of folks riding a horse. Nor is this tied at ALL to domestication. We're now into OR territory ... you're assuming/synthesizing that because someone might be riding something that might be a horse that this is evidence of domestication. It needs to go, but I've already reverted you once. Ealdgyth - Talk 17:45, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
Would you calm down? This discovery is nothing to get upset over (excited... perhaps). That exerpt above was taken out of context. One has to read the whole article to understand its meaning. The rock art shows domesticated animals, per the author. At any rate, that paper has already been cited several times by other scholars, including in African Archaeological Review, December 2011, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 279-300 (c.f. [11]); and Adumatu, Issue No. 25, January 2012 (c.f. [12]). Middayexpress (talk) 17:51, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
Here's a BBC article on Mire's findings explicity stating that the rock art depicts domesticated animals ("The most stunning of Ms Mire's discoveries is a vast series of rock art sites in Dhambalin, outside the seaside town of Berbera. The brightly coloured and beautifully preserved rock paintings, depicting domesticated animals, could be up to 5,000 years old" [13]). Middayexpress (talk) 17:56, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
I read the whole of Mire's reprinted article. It doesn't discuss that the possible horse/rider combo is anything at all to do with domestication. They talk about goats possibly being domesticated, and about "herds of domestic animals" but nothing specific about this being evidence of domesticated horses. I'm not denigrating Mire's work - I'm not even questioning that it's an important discovery, but nothing you're showing here has any bearing on the domestication history of horses. Nor is Mire claiming that. The AFP article makes a claim that is not borne out in Mire's work. The other two scholarly sources which cite Mire's discovery also don't appear to discuss the history of horse domestication - the first is discussing "Schematic Rock Art, Rain-Making and Islam in the Ethio-Sudanese Borderlands" and the second does discuss possible depiction of domestic horses, but at page 15 they date the domesticated horse and camel images along with the human images to about 1500 BCE, nor are they implying that this predates earlier possibilites of horse domestication. Since the evidence of chariot burials is 2000 BCE, this isn't wildly early. It might merit a mention in the body of the article, but it's certainly not worth putting in the lead (which, I might point out, should summarize the whole body of the article. There should be no information in the lead that isn't already in the body of the article.). But most of this is anciliary mentions of domesticated horses that does not imply that they are early images of domestication across the world. Ealdgyth - Talk 21:14, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
With respect, you keep moving the goalposts. First the Dhambalin material was supposedly original research, then not sourced to a peer-reviewed journal, then not sourced to the discoverer of the find, then not covered by any other scholars -- all of which were systematically shown to have no foundation. Clearly, the find itself seems to be the real issue. At any rate, Mire did indeed discover evidence of domesticated animals at Dhambalin. She repeats as much in a follow-up 2011 study (also peer-reviewed): "The rock-art sites of Laas Geel (Gutherz et al. 2003), Karin Hagane (Brandt and Carder 1987) and Dhambalin (Mire 2008a) contribute to our knowledge about early pastoralism and subsistence economy in the Horn of Africa. The polychrome paintings of these sites include the earliest depictions of domesticated animals in Somali territory (see Fig. 2)" ([14], [15]). Middayexpress (talk) 14:26, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The Somali material is irrelevant; it is dated well after the range of already-known horse domestication in the Ukraine, so interesting but nothing more than evidence of the spread of horse domestication, to the extent it even covers horses at all. The Saudi claims of 9000 years ago is the extraordinary claim and lacks any real evidence of "domestication"; prehistoric people hunted wild horses and painted them on caves in Lascaux tens of millennia before domestication, other places have the horse on assorted sacred objects well before domestication. The artifacts dug up in the Arabian peninsula have lines on their shoulders, which someone is interpreting as tack but could as easily be the scapula visible on a thin animal. We can park this discussion here, but it is far too speculative to insert into the article, so please stop edit-warring about it. Montanabw(talk) 21:54, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
Please stop adding the material on the Saudi excavation to the Domestication of the horse article. It is unproven speculation based on very little evidence. When there is a peer-reviewed study on this, it can be discussed at the talk page of the article to see if it is sufficiently reliable to be added to the main article. But for now, it is pure nationalistic speculation. They haven't even yet verified Spain as an independent site of domestication, the Arabian peninsula has an even weaker case. But in any case, please discuss it at the talk page if you want, but STOP adding the material to the article. Montanabw(talk) 21:39, 22 June 2013 (UTC)

The Al-Mahar material wasn't re-inserted, so no point in beating that dead horse. On the other hand, the Dhambalin site's rock art is roughly contemporaneous with that of the Eurasian steppe evidence, so it's every bit as relevant on that basis as that find. There's also no evidence to support the a priori sentiment that Mire's find is "pure nationalistic speculation". Indeed, her Dhambalin research was actually carried out in collaboration with a number of non-Somali scholars (as clearly noted in the Acknowledgements section [16]). Middayexpress (talk) 14:26, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
The Somali site dates well after known domestication in the Steppes, so irrelevant to this article. It's interesting to Somali history, but horse domestication had spread to many other areas by that time period. So irrelevant here, other than, perhaps, if someone wanted to do an assessment of the speed and spread of domestication, which it probably going to take some significant research and great care to avoid WP:SYNTH. My comment about speculation referenced the Saudi finds. Montanabw(talk) 16:36, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
The Eurasian steppe evidence is dated 4000-3500 BCE; that's around 6,000 years ago. The Dhamablin rock art has a maximal date of 5,000 ybp. So yes, the finds are roughly contemporaneous. If you hadn't notice, there's also discussion of much more recent examples of horse domestication around 3500–3000 BCE in archaeological sites in central Europe i.e. well beyond their center of distribution in the Eurasian steppes. Middayexpress (talk) 16:47, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
But the source from the Arabic archeaolical journal states that the horse figures (along with the sheep images) from that site date from 1500 BCE, or after the chariot finds. Yes, some of the older images on the rock are 5000 years old, but the ones depicting horses possibly being ridden are much younger than that. Ealdgyth - Talk 17:02, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
That's indeed the maximal date for the Dhambalin rock art. Per UNESCO, it's an important discovery too. The only reason why Dhambalin, the nearby Laas Gaal complex (which also shows domesticated animals, btw), Damo, and a number of other sites in Somalia are not World Heritage sites is because the Somali government did not ratify the 1972 World Heritage Convention, as that Convention was adopted shortly after a 1969 putsch. Middayexpress (talk) 17:20, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
What's that got to do with domestication though? I'm still not seeing that any secondary sources are making the connection between this site and it being a site that shows evidence for early horse domestication. Until some source specifically states "this site shows evidence of the early date of horse domestication that impacts our understanding of how the domestication of horses deveiloped" it's all OR that you're arguing. We need secondary sources that state this site is a site with evidence impacting the early history of horse domestication. Ealdgyth - Talk 17:26, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
Multiple sources have already been presented indicating just that, including two peer-reviewed papers by the discoverer herself. I won't cite another because that's enough moved goalposts to last a lifetime. Read the Dhambalin article for more. Middayexpress (talk) 17:31, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
I've read those sources - they don't say that these rock images are evidence of early horse domestication throughout the world. They just don't. I've made an effort to read what you're presenting... it's definitely interesting, but it isn't evidence for the history of domestication of the horse. The Saudi info was rejected because it's not peer reviewed nor by the actual discovers. The Somali images - even their discover says that they are "the earliest depictions of domesticated animals in Somali territory" - in Somali territory, not in the world. This article covers the entire history of domestication. If we were covering "domestication of the horse in Africa" it'd be relevant, but it's not. You need to fit the information to the article scope, that's what I'm trying to get across.... this article isn't a good fit for information unless it's discussing world-wide information on horse domestication. I'm sorry if you think I'm moving goalposts, but that's in part because I actually am reading and responding to your points - you have brought up bits that need satisfy some parts (the peer reviewed bits are covered) but continue to not meet the overarching goal of the article. Until you have sources that fit this rock art into the world-wide picture of horse domestication (and not just in the Horn of Africa or in Somali territory) it's not a good fit for this article. Ealdgyth - Talk 17:40, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
Oh, I see. So now the problem is that Mire's find is apparently not an example of horse domestication throughout the world. Unfortunately, the BBC profile of Mire and her work at Dhambalin states this quite explicitly: "the most stunning of Ms Mire's discoveries is a vast series of rock art sites in Dhambalin, outside the seaside town of Berbera. The brightly coloured and beautifully preserved rock paintings, depicting domesticated animals, could be up to 5,000 years old" [17])". The AFP article similar indicates that "Mire said in a recent article is one of the earliest known depictions of a mounted huntsman" [18]. This means that the Dhambalin rock is among the earliest examples of horse domestication in the world. That is why Lazare Eloundou Assomo, Chief of Africa for the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, stated that "we all agree that this is an important discovery." That is, unless you also want to argue against the dating of the Eurasian steppe evidence (which I somehow doubt). Middayexpress (talk) 17:52, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
The Eurasian evidence of domestication is 500 to 1000 years older. Sure, sounds like pretty paintings. That's really nice. But for that matter, the "5,000 years old" doesn't say the horse one is that old. Provide a URL to a peer-reviewed journal article that says this is something unique for all horse domestication, otherwise, perhaps it is something for the "geographic expansion" section (not the lead) to add to our collection of "after 500 to 1000 years, horse domestication had spread to all these different places." Montanabw(talk) 20:51, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
Oh, Al-Mahar... the professor at CNRS Jean-Pierre Digard said me yesterday that this is NOT a reliable research, during a "conférence" (what is the english word ? :/) about horses and Arabians. --Tsaag Valren (talk) 21:14, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
@Montanabw: Rock art 500 to 1000 years younger than the Eurasian steppe material still makes the Dhambalin site some of the earliest evidence of horse domestication in the world. As the Guardian notes: "A local team headed by Dr Sada Mire, of the Institute of Archaeology at University College London (UCL), made the finds, which include a man on horseback, painted around 4,000 years ago – one of the earliest known depictions of a mounted hunter" [19]. The geographic expansion section then it is. Middayexpress (talk) 12:36, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
@Montanabw: Although Dhambalin may post-date the Eurasian steppe evidence, its maximal dating range is older than the Chinese chariot-linked evidence, so it goes above it. The Ethiopian-Arabian style of Dhambalin's rock art should also be noted. Middayexpress (talk) 14:47, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────No, the evidence is not adequate for the maximum date, one always errs on the side of the more recent date. Also, even if the images overall are that old, they don't verify that the rider one is among the oldest, it's too vaguely worded. Be glad we are keeping it in at all, it's pretty weakly sourced for the time period; I'd prefer to see the actual peer reviewed publication of the data. Montanabw(talk) 21:55, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

I don't believe a maximal-date wiki policy exists. At any rate, the rock art's actual style should be mentioned. Middayexpress (talk) 11:28, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
Why should it be mentioned, though? What does it tell the reader about the domestication of the horse if they know the art style? I could see naming the culture that likely produced the art, but the style of the art isn't really relevant to the actual subject of this article, which is domestication of the horse. Are we mentioning the art style of the other horse art in the article? What we keep returning to is that the focus of all information added to this article should be on the actual subject of the article. Information that doesn't align with that subject isn't needed and should be carefully considered before adding. I'm not seeing what the art style adds to the subject of the article. Ealdgyth - Talk 12:13, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
It contextualizes the horse figure in a specific rock art tradition. This makes it easier to understand which ancient culture likely contributed that rock art to begin with. Middayexpress (talk) 12:20, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
But it doesn't do that ... it doesn't mention a culture or who might have made the art. Nor is it linked to an article about the style (We don't seem to have one). And you didn't answer my question about if other art mentions in this article state their style... as it is written now, it's just an appended fact that doesn't really add to the understanding of the article subject. Ealdgyth - Talk 12:50, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
The text mentions the Ethiopian-Arabian style, an established rock art tradition which the archaeological team that described the Dhambalin find places the figures in. This is explicitly stated in Mire's study. The Bell Beaker, Botai, Sintashta, Petrovka, etc. cultures are all mentioned in connection with horse domestication, so this is too. Middayexpress (talk) 13:17, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
Ealdgyth made some good edits to the text. I'm fine with it as is now. No need to keep beating on this drum, wikilinks are good for linking to other articles that may contain the detail that Middayexpress wants. I think we're done here. Montanabw(talk) 17:36, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
It looks alright. Middayexpress (talk) 13:45, 28 June 2013 (UTC)


The article gives the impression that all evidence pointing to domesticated horses in Dereivka has been discredited (even if this cannot disprove the presence of domesticated horses in Dereivka – my understanding it's virtually certain that there were domesticated horses nevertheless, we just cannot strictly prove it with our current methods – perhaps analysis of DNA extracted from ancient horse bones can shed light on the question). Is this really so, or does the status of Dereivka as an important site of horse domestication (as stated in Dereivka) still stand? Otherwise, the parenthesis mentioning Dereivka in the lede is better removed. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 22:26, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

OK, this particular point is elucidated here. Perhaps it should be clarified in the article, though. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 22:12, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Looks like the Kurgan article is outdated, the work of David Anthony was quite definitive. The Dereivka stallion was a burial that was an incursion dug into an earlier layer, that's why they thought it was so old, but it wasn't. What WAS significant, though is that earlier skulls show signs of bit wear, and Anthony's studies clearly indicate that even rope or leather mouthpieces produce those changes, and via that method, they definitively established domestication around 3000-3500 BCE... Your thoughts? Montanabw(talk) 03:35, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
I bow to your superior hippological expertise. But wait, where is the article Kurgan hypothesis outdated? It does not even go into the Dereivka and horse-riding evidence business. It only mentions the site a single time, in the list of cultures ascribed to the Kurgan horizon. It is this article which gives the misleading impression that all the evidence for horse riding from Dereivka is discredited, so it is this article which is in need of updating or clarifying. Or am I missing something? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:41, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
Just to be completely clear: Are those earlier skulls you mention from Dereivka or from somewhere else, such as Botai? Whether Botai can be linked to the Kurgan horizon is a open question as far as I'm aware. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:48, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
I have no particular interest in the other article, I am only interested in third party reliable sources for either premise. The Dereivka stallion was not as old as originally thought. And one wikipedia article is not an RS for another. Feel free to suggest that we review such works. Montanabw(talk) 21:27, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
I do not understand. I simply pointed out that the Kurgan article is not outdated as you insinuated – a mere correction. I've never suggested, even indirectly, to use it as a source for this one. Huh?
Yes, I already know by now that the Dereivka stallion was not of Chalcolithic age. But you've implied that there are horse skulls dating to the 4th millennium which are, and I just wanted confirmation that they were found in Dereivka, not anywhere else (such as in the context of the Botai culture, because bit wear in 4th-millennium horse skulls was definitely found there). I do not have Anthony's book available, that's why I'm asking stupid questions. I'm not sure how I could phrase them more clearly. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 14:18, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
Ah! I see that (Dereivka in the Ukraine) got added to the lead somewhere along the line. Yeah, that's unsupported in the article, I tossed that bit; my apologies for the confusion; I thought you were arguing for the older age of the Dereivka stallion or against the older date of domestication in general or something, I never noticed that this was just a ping that the lead had been changed to add that parenthetical. Never mind - I think your original post just read to me like the issue was more complicated than it was... sorry I got snarky about this. Montanabw(talk) 22:20, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
So is Dereivka correct that Dereivka was an early site of horse domestication? If all hangs on this single stallion, then that article should be changed, too. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 02:29, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
Again, not my problem if the other articles need work. The "Dereivka stallion" was an incursion into an older site, so was far newer than originally thought. If you read this article, Domestication_of_the_horse#Horse_images_as_symbols_of_power, and maybe the footnotes, you will note there were a lot of horse bones buried at Dereivka, indicative of possible domestication, at least keeping them around for food, though less definitive than the bit wear evidence. The Botai evidence for bit wear is more definitive. Montanabw(talk) 04:55, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
OK, thank you. So the bit wear evidence is available only for Botai, making it pretty definitive that their horses were not only domesticated, but also ridden. But more indirect, conjectural arguments exist that the original locus of domestication was in the context of the Kurgan horizon, and that horse domestication was adopted by the Botai from the Khvalynsk culture. Perhaps the intro could be phrased a bit more clearly as it currently suggests that the Botai were the original domesticators, which is far from certain and apparently even dubious. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 19:20, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I wouldn't go that far, if you read this article, you will see that evidence of people keeping captured horses in pens appears to be older, but it's an open question if that constitutes "domestication" or just trapping wild animals long enough to eat them. Bit wear is pretty unequivocal and even that is still occasionally challenged by the crowd that insists that chariot burials are the best definitive evidence (though it's blatently obvious that humans would try riding before driving). But in either case, point me at source material and we can discuss further. Montanabw(talk) 01:05, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

On p. 221, Anthony writes: "Horseback riding probably did not begin in northern Kazakhstan. The Botai-Tersek people were mounted foragers. [...] It is likely that Botai-Tersek people acquired the idea of domesticated animal management from their western neighbors, who had been managing domesticated cattle and sheep, and probably horses, for a thousand years before 3700–3500 BCE." --Florian Blaschke (talk) 01:37, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

Discuss new section[edit]

I removed the section on "evolution" and am pasting its contents below with comments to follow. Montanabw(talk) 22:02, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

Domestication may possibly have led to various evolution paths in horses. Various body types are selected for and against depending on the type of work the horse is being used for. Coat color variation has increased as humans have expressed desired for more uniquely colored horses that may have not originally survived in nature. [59]<ref>Hofreiter, Michael, et al. "Coat Color Variation at the Beginning of Horse Domestication." Science 324.5926 (2009): 485. Science. Web. 9 Sept. 2014.</ref></ref> ----- First off, it is helpful to provide a web link to the article if one can be found. I did so, [ here]. It is preferable to use the citation templates, as doing so creates a ref like this: <mowiki><ref name=Ludwig>{{cite journal|last1=Ludwig|first1=Arne|last2=et. at.|title=Coat Color Variation at the Beginning of Horse Domestication|journal=Science|date=24 April 2009 |volume=324 |page=485 |doi=10.1126 |url= |accessdate=18 November 2014}}</ref> Next, the article doesn't say anything about "evolution;" it discusses selective breeding and the rise of color mutations as evidence of domestication. IN short, this material has good potential to be added to this article, but perhaps in a different location and not necessarily as its own section. Discuss? Montanabw(talk) 22:02, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

Domesticated horses only for food before 2000 BC?[edit]

German Wikipedia points out (see cited literature): "Some researchers view the people of the settlement Sredniy Stog II (4200–3700 BC) as the world's oldest horse breeders. However, British archaeologist Marsha Ann Levine does not find any unambiguous evidence that horses were employed as draft or riding animals prior to the end of the 3rd millennium. For the latter purpose, the short-statured animals (height 1.2–1.4 m; nowadays 1.6–1.75 m) were unsuited and draft animals (cattle) already existed in the region. Therefore, the horses were consumed. With progressive aridity, they pushed back cattle breeding. Evidence for the consumption of horse meat (hippophagy) exists in Dereivka on the Dnieper, where around 4000 BC, approx. 60% of all bones originated from horses. In Repin on the Don they made up around 80%, and in Petropavlovsk in the north of Kazakhstan even about 90%. Levine believes that the horse bones investigated in Dereivka and Botai (Kazakhstan) are from the wild variety and food residue." --Florian Blaschke (talk) 17:53, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

However, considering that the works cited are from 1998 and 1999, and David W. Anthony's book (which disagrees, unless I'm totally mistaken about this whole debate) is from 2007, it does not look like Levine's opinion still represents the state of the art ... --Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:29, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

See also my remarks at Talk:Kurgan hypothesis#Pastoralism vs. agriculture, redux. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 19:28, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

Not sure your point. This article cites Anthony's work extensively. He pretty much axed Levine's theories. Is there something in this article that concerns you? Montanabw(talk) 00:29, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
I was momentarily confused by the German article, which is obviously completely outdated. Should have paid attention to the years right away. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 04:14, 23 January 2015 (UTC)


Montanabw senselessly reverted my substitution of a dead link by the correct one back into the dead one. Congratulations! HJJHolm (talk) 09:31, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

  • YOU DELETED HALF THE CITATION! When you learn to format citations properly they don't get reverted. I don't have the time to fix everyone's homework. Montanabw(talk) 00:12, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

The cave paintings in Bhimbetka near Bhopal, perhaps 30,000 years old showing a horse being caught by humans, confirm that horses existed in India in spite of the paucity of skeletal remains. There is, however, room for debate on whether the animals depicted are really horses and not onagers. Other cave paintings, so far undated, show a number of warriors wielding sticks in their right hands and actually riding horses without saddles or bridles.

The fact that both the Austro-Asiatic and the Dravidian language families have their own words for �horse� (e.g. Old Tamil ivuLi, �wild horse�, and kutirai, �domesticated horse�) not borrowed from the language of the Aryans who are supposed to have brought the horse into India, should also carry some weight. Partly because of the uncongenial climate, horses must have been comparatively rare in India (as they would remain in later centuries, when Rajput forces were attacked by Turkish invaders with an invariably superior cavalry), but they were available. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:44, 18 June 2015 (UTC)

The problem with this is that Austroasiatic originated outside of South Asia according to the newer thinking exemplified by Paul Sidwell, and according to Michael Witzel the same is true for Dravidian: both Indo-European and Dravidian independently entered South Asia at the same time (by about 2000 BC at the earliest, Indo-Aryan from the northwest, Dravidian from the west), and Austroasiatic probably a bit later even (from the east). So this certainly doesn't prove the presence of horses in South Asia even in principle. Moreover, it's unclear how far these words you cite (or respectively allude to) really go back (i. e., if they go back to Proto-Dravidian and Proto-Austroasiatic or even Proto-Munda respectively), if they are not transparent late formations inside their respective protolanguages (or borrowings from elsewhere), and what they originally meant. So, a gaggle of issues that needs to be addressed first.
It's pretty strange that you would give highly ambiguous (in this case) linguistic evidence more credence than the straightforward archaeological evidence. There is not the slightest reason to think horses were native to India; the horse is an animal of the steppe. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 12:54, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

Origin of the horse collar[edit]

The lede says that the horse collar arose in western Europe. But the article horse collar says it arose in China, and then spread to western Europe some 400 years later. Is there a controversy on this point? Or is this, rather, just an error that should be fixed? Davidhof (talk) 19:55, 29 August 2015 (UTC)

Probably needs more extensive research for both articles. I don't have access to the Needham work cited in the horse collar article, but if someone can verify the Chinese origins, that is probable... Montanabw(talk) 01:11, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

Evidence for early riding[edit]

I agree with this statement in the article: "Thus, on one hand, logic suggests that horses would have been ridden long before they were driven."

But I'm wondering that perhaps, in the article, there should be something more substantial on this. Hasn't someone done a write-up on the subject in the literature?

Also, in the above discusion here, there's a statement that there are cave paintings of humans on horseback that predate the Bronze age. Wouldn't it be nice to find the ref for this and include it in the article? What do you think? Y-barton (talk) 05:06, 7 December 2015 (UTC)

Read the whole article, we discuss initial domestication and riding. No good evidence prior to about 3500BC. Montanabw(talk) 06:22, 14 December 2015 (UTC)

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"History of horse domestication theories"[edit]

Any reason why the very short History of horse domestication theories isn't just part of this article? Much of it simply seems to duplicate info already found here. FunkMonk (talk) 13:25, 13 December 2016 (UTC)

It's actually got quite a bit of different info, more focused on the history of past theories and the genetic studies of breed development than on human interaction; it would be kind of tangent here. We actually merged a bunch of other articles to create that one. (long story) My take is that it would be pretty clunky to merge them. Montanabw(talk) 05:00, 26 December 2016 (UTC)
Ok. Seems these theories would have to be dealt with at some length on the parent page if it was to be expanded in the future in any case. FunkMonk (talk) 11:14, 26 December 2016 (UTC)

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Doushe cave[edit]

There is older evidence of domesticated horses in the form of cave paintings in Iran dating to 8000 BC depicting what is clearly an archer riding what is clearly a horse, and controlling it with reins,_Lorstan,_Iran,_8th_millennium_BC.JPG

Huevosconbacon (talk) 15:37, 22 November 2017 (UTC)
@Huevosconbacon: We'd need this backed up by a reliable source before it can be added to the article. – Joe (talk) 18:55, 22 November 2017 (UTC)