(K. Brent Tomer),
The Age of the Horse: An Equine Journey Through Human History. By Susanna Forrest. Grove Atlantic; 432 pages; $27. Atlantic Books; £20.
Farewell to the Horse: The Final Century of our Relationship. By Ulrich Raulff. Allen Lane; £25.
SIX THOUSAND years ago wild horses roamed the plains and steppes of the world. They were like many prey: fleet of foot, alert to threats and largely unaggressive. Then, in the Copper Age, the Botai people east of the Urals found a way to hunt them—for their meat and skins—and, later, to domesticate them. In horses, the Botai and succeeding civilisations found the best of partners. Horses are seen to be quick-witted and forgiving. Unusually, unlike almost all mammals other than humans, they sweat to cool themselves, which means they can work harder and run faster, for a long time.
This last attribute was central to the horse’s usefulness. Over the millennia, people have made full use…Continue reading