Tag Archives: The Horse in Human History
The Horse In Human History: The White Horse At Ebbsfleet

The Horse In Human History: The White Horse At Ebbsfleet

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….

Well, it's big alright!

Well, it's big alright!

Pita Kelekna has uploaded another segment of her book, The Horse In Human History to This Side of the Pond. Entitled, The White Horse at Ebbsfleet, this chapter describes equine images and their role in history. In a previous post, I wrote about the White Horse of Ebbsfleet and the controversy it has engendered. Kelekna views this enormous sculpture from a historical perspective.

From among those perspective, she writes,

In 620, the Prophet Muhammad mounted the winged white horse Buraq* on his miraculous Night Journey through the seven levels of heaven to speak with Allah, Moses, and Jesus, thus linking Islam with the two older religions. In medieval England, Saint George battled the dread dragon on a magnificent white steed. And in Mongol equestrian culture, Khubilai khan celebrated each spring a Great Feast in which herds of pure white stallions and mares, all revered as sacred, had free run of the summer palace park at Xanadu. Later in the summer, the khagan performed the ritual horse sacrifice and the scattering of white mare’s milk to the winds as a symbol of Mongol ascendancy over the vast steppes.
*American President Barach (sic) Obama’s first name refers to this white horse.

I find that fascinating.

At Ebbsfleet station, Max Wallinger’s White Horse stands poised to embark on a new era of high-speed locomotive travel. Its presence reminds us the locomotive was first known as the “Iron Horse.” As international passengers catch a fleeting glimpse of this giant statue, they will know the White Horse embodies man’s ambition for ever more rapid and complex travel.

The White Horse of Uffington, courtesy BBC.com

The White Horse of Uffington, courtesy BBC.com

The White Horse of Uffington, one of England’s oldest horse images, carved into the chalky earth. This horse represents the earliest horse history to which Kelekna connects the modern era of imagery as well as transport.


© 2009 enlightened horsemanship through touch and Kim Cox Carneal

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The Horse In Human History: Efficient Equine Transport

The Horse In Human History: Efficient Equine Transport

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Pita Kelekna has uploaded another segment of her book, The Horse In Human History to This Side of the Pond. Entitled, Efficient Equine Transport, this entry explores the history of the use of horses in transportation and how it affected the course of human history in the New and Old Worlds.

han-harness-300x203

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.

Edited to add: I have n idea how that crazy image of my name got there, and I can’t get rid of it. Patience is appreciated.

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The Horse In Human History: Rebel Horsemen of the Americas

The Horse In Human History: Rebel Horsemen of the Americas

gaucho

Pita Kelekna has uploaded another segment of her book, The Horse In Human History to This Side of the Pond. Entitled, Rebel Horsemen of the Americas, this chapter reveals how the Spanish conquistadors’ imposing warhorses assisted with the northward progress of New Spain from land of the Aztecs and Incas to the canyons and mesas of the Southwest. Using horses, steel swords, firearms, and (indirectly) disease, Cortes and Pizzarro managed to overthrow New World civilizations in a matter of months after first plundering their immense wealth.

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.


© 2009 enlightened horsemanship through touch and Kim Cox Carneal

If you like what you have been reading, please subscribe to the RSS Feed, and visit Bloggers Choice Awards to vote for Enlightened Horsemanship Through Touch.

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The Horse in Human History: The Spanish Reconquista

The Horse in Human History: The Spanish Reconquista

goybullfight1

Pita Kelekna has uploaded another segment of her book, The Horse In Human History to This Side of the Pond. Entitled, The Spanish Reconquista, the chapter she encapsulates in this post covers the failed attempt by Muslims to invade Iberia in the eighth century. Central to the success of the Christian rebuff of that invasion was the equestrian prowess of the Christian knight. Nowhere were horse-riding skills more proudly displayed than in the chivalric bullfight, whose early history Kelekna discusses.

Torrey bullfight

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.


© 2009 enlightened horsemanship through touch and Kim Cox Carneal

If you like what you have been reading, please subscribe to the RSS Feed, and visit Bloggers Choice Awards to vote for Enlightened Horsemanship Through Touch.

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The Horse In Human History: Mongol War, Hunt and Peace

The Horse In Human History: Mongol War, Hunt and Peace

Pita Kelekna has uploaded another segment of her book, The Horse In Human History to This Side of the Pond. Entitled, The Horse in Mongol War, Hunt, and Peace, Kelekna chronicles the exploits of both Ghenghis and Kubilai Khan (along with his less terrifying brother Hulegu) and the ways in which horses helped to make them household names today.

Genghis Khan, from National Palace Museum in Taipei

Genghis Khan, from National Palace Museum in Taipei

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.

Let me know if you ordered a copy of this book and have read it. I have not yet received my copy. Is it as good as it looks?

© 2009 enlightened horsemanship through touch

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If you like what you have been reading, please subscribe to the RSS Feed, and visit Bloggers Choice Awards to vote for Enlightened Horsemanship Through Touch.



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The Horse In Human History: Islam's Horses of the Desert

The fifth installment in Pita Kelekna’s Cambridge University Press This Side of the Pond blog series on the subject of her upcoming book, The Horse In Human History has been posted!

Among the topics covered in this post are: the Arabian Horse and its superiority over the dromedary for “commanding the strategic overland trade routes between the Indian ocean and the Mediterranean;” the spread of Islam across Asia; paper manufacture, wootz steel; and the concept of zero.

These inventions ushered in the great age of Islamic learning. Employing Arabic as the universal language of communication, philosophers and scientists from the borders of China to the Atlantic pursued knowledge in diverse disciplines and engaged in an exchange of ideas unprecedented in earlier civilizations. Everywhere there was high mobility and efficient communication. Horse-sped, scientific knowledge diffused rapidly over large segments of the educated elites, across different regions of the Islamic world and beyond – as Jewish, and Christian scholars translated Arabic works into Latin.

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