Palmetto Carriage Works Blog

The Domestication of Horses: A Brief History

We’ve all seen those vintage cowboy movies. There are wild horses running freely and all of a sudden, a hero-type jumps in, ropes her neck and begins the breaking process. Soon, the horse is eating out of his hand and maybe coming to his rescue. But how did the domestication of horses really happen? Here’s a brief history:


Did you know that people began domesticating horses up to 10,000 years ago?

According to new DNA research, archeologists that once believed horses began being trained about 4,000-6,000 have now discovered new lineages and surmised that different groups of people across Eurasia were raising and/or training horses within the last 10,000 years ago. Evidence of bits being used on horses have been recovered from 5,000 years ago.


Before the invention of the locomotive, horses were the fastest way to travel across land.

It’s no surprise that they were used in war, for hunting and for transportation. According to the British Museum, since “travel is one of the defining features of human development, so the history of the horse is the history of civilisation itself.”


How do we use horses today?

Although cars have replaced them as a primary mode of transportation, people still use horses to work livestock and, of course, for sport and entertainment from racing to rodeos to the Olympics. Our long and beautiful alliance with these animals is rich and brilliant.


If you’d like to get up close and personal with our horses and mules, you can stop by our barn on Guinard St. or book a carriage tour with one of our licensed tour guides. Not only will they educate you about the beautiful city of Charleston, but you’ll get a little horse knowledge as well!