A controversial giant statue of a white horse by sculptor Max Wallinger will soon be erected at the Ebbsfleet station in southern England, the UK’s new gateway to continental Europe for Eurostar high-speed trains. Pita Kelekna tells us why this symbol is especially appropriate.
in the Far East, the Chinese achieved two significant breakthroughs during the first millennium BC, inventing first the trace harness (breast strap) and then the even more efficient contoured collar harness. While Roman chariots of minimal size, carrying two persons at most, were often drawn by four horses, contemporary Han vehicles with heavy roofs, frequently carrying six passengers, were usually drawn by a single horse.
As the frontiers of New Spain moved north, the horse was reintroduced into the very canyons and mesas of the Southwest where Equus had initially evolved four million years earlier. During the 1680-90 Pueblo revolt, hundreds of Spanish horses escaped from the upper Rio Grande valley into their natal environment, where they prospered and multiplied to form the great mustang herds that forever changed the history of the American West. Further South, during the seventeenth century, a new equestrian adventurer emerged, the gaucho.
Conflicts between Moors and Christian Spaniards saw the rise of a unique kind of knightly equestrianism, displayed in the pageant of the bullfight. Their horses were the finest in Europe – part Arabian, part North African Barb, part Iberian stock, all of which combined courage and intelligence with dramatic beauty.
The Mongols lived off the horse; as they traveled, they milked and slaughtered for food. Their empire would bridge a continent, and their methods sped technological innovation into the modern era.