Man’s greatest invention was the wheel, but it was the strength and speed provided by the domesticated horse that fully maximized its use. While the dog provided hunting companionship, it was the horse that supplied the power necessary to expand and conquer. Our fascination with the horse dates back to before biblical times, and in the history of art, it remains the most-often depicted animal. For thousands of years, the horse was ancient man’s most precious military weapon. The hundreds of outstanding life-size horse sculptures seen in the Terracotta Warriors of China is one example that testifies to the importance and respect the horse had on civilization. Many horse-based societies have developed totally dependent on the improved mobility horses provide. The Steppe Land Mongols and American Plains Indians are notable examples.
Today, the horse image continues to form a visible part of modern civilization. They are a big attraction in public events—polo, racing, equestrian shows, rodeo, parades, etc.—and are constantly featured in entertainment, commercial, and art venues. They are an eternally beloved animal and symbol of speed and power.