How did horses help cultural advancement?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I assume that you are asking about how horses helped societies progress towards civilization.  I will base my answer on this assumption.  Horses helped society progress towards civilization because they helped people grow more food and because they eventually helped people engage in warfare more effectively.

Horses helped people grow more food in at least two ways.  First, they provided a source of power.  Horses could be used to pull plows that would make agriculture more effective.  Second, they provided a source of fertilizer.  Manure from the horses could be used to fertilize fields, again increasing their yields.  The efficiency of agriculture is a major driver of societal development.  If a society’s farmers can grow food very efficiently, there will be enough surplus to feed many people who will not have to farm.  These people can become artisans, soldiers, priests, and government officials.  In this way, better farming technology helps societies develop.

Horses also came to be an important weapon of war.  They allowed some warriors to be more mobile.  They allowed the creation of cavalry and the use of chariots.  These things helped societies with horses become more militarily powerful.  Because of this, they were able to conquer other societies and create larger political units.  If we consider that the creation of larger political units is progress, this is another way in which horses helped cultures develop towards more sophisticated levels of civilization.

alishat23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Horses were a great resource that could be used in all areas of life. They have been described as a living tool, an animal that could benefit the community. Farming was greatly impacted by using the horse to help. Horses could be hooked up to farming equipment that needed to be mobile. Also, horses could pull a lot more weight than a human, which sped up the farming process. Hunting was necessary to provide for a family as well. Horses provided a means of transportation that could bring humans to hunting grounds that were much further away. People could also track better and follow their game when using a horse.

Many areas outside of the homestead were affected by horses as well. Trading was very important to people in order to get all the supplies they needed to survive. Horses allowed people to travel greater distances to sell or buy goods. As discussed before, their strength allowed them to carry a lot of weight that a person would not be able to. People could sell more as well as travel further to sustain their lifestyle.

Warfare was also affected by horses and their ability to bring people further distances. Horses were used by high ranking officers to take them to battle grounds. They could also be used by soldiers who needed to bring news from the front to another base.

Their overall strength and speed was what made a horse such a precious tool to society. It is not surprising that this “living tool” was such a resource to our cultural advancement. 

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