Where in the World Was the Horse Domesticated?

Horses were first domesticated by humans some 5,600 years ago. Where did that happen? To find out, check our Just-for-Fun Trivia question.

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In what part of the world was the horse first domesticated, and by whom?

A) In what is now Alaska, by Aleut tribes.

B) On the Ukrainian steppes, by Aryan tribes.

C) In sub-Saharan Africa, by African tribes.

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ANSWER: B is correct. One of the first peoples to domesticate horses were nomadic Aryan tribes living on the Ukrainian steppes bordering the Caspian and Black Seas, northeast of the Mediterranean. These nomads already knew how to herd animals—probably sheep, goats, cattle, and reindeer.

Horse-domesticating may also have been occurring at roughly the same time in other parts of the world, notably China and Mesopotamia (modern Iraq).

[LEARN your horse’s ‘sign language.’]

As an animal herded for meat and milk (riding would come later), horses would’ve offered at least one advantage over other species: easier feeding. This is because horses, unlike other herd animals, will paw through snow to find forage in the wintertime.

To keep things manageable, early horse herders may’ve kept mares only, tying them out when they were in season to be covered by wild stallions. Colts born into the herd may’ve been eaten; fillies grew up to join the mare band.

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