Horses in warfare

Horses In Warfare

Horses in warfare

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<!--This article uses British English-->



The first use of horses in warfare occurred over 5,000 years ago. The earliest evidence of horses ridden in warfare dates from Eurasia between 4000 and 3000&nbsp;BC. A Sumerian illustration of warfare from 2500&nbsp;BC depicts some type of equine pulling wagons. By 1600&nbsp;BC, improved harness and chariot designs made chariot warfare common throughout the Ancient Near East, and the earliest written training manual for war horses was a guide for training chariot horses written about 1350&nbsp;BC. As formal cavalry tactics replaced the chariot, so did new training methods, and by 360&nbsp;BC, the Greek cavalry officer Xenophon had written an extensive treatise on horsemanship. The effectiveness of horses in battle was also revolutionized by improvements in technology, including the invention of the saddle, the stirrup, and later, the horse collar.

Many different types and sizes of horse were used in war, depending on the form of warfare. The type used varied with whether the horse was being ridden or driven, and whether they were being used for reconnaissance, cavalry charges, raiding, communication, or supply. Throughout history, mules and donkeys as well as horses played a crucial role in providing support to armies in the field.

Horses were well suited to the warfare tactics of the nomadic cultures from the steppes of Central Asia. Several East Asian cultures made extensive use of cavalry and chariots. Muslim...
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