One only has to look at the cave paintings in Lascaux, France to know that humans and horses have had a close relationship since thousands of years. No one knows when the first person bravely mounted the back of a horse and rode fast and furiously across the land. We do know that the horse has been the work animal that plowed fields, pulled wagons, and transported people from village to village, fought in wars and served as an inspiration to poets. The natural athletic prowess of the horse has taken it from a work animal to an athlete with a wide range of competitive endeavors. Many of those activities have their origins in the work performed by the horse. Racing, driving, pulling competitions, reining, dressage, etc. all have histories as varied as those who have owned these magnificent animals. The goal of the present chapter is to present an overview of the study of the athletic horse from ancient times to the present with a focus on the use of the horse as an animal model in classic physiological and medical experiments and later in experiments designed to elucidate what makes the horse a great athlete. All of these are historical and scientific basis for the modern field of Equine Exercise Physiology.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)