Few records of the people themselves exist, but correspondence between kings of Mitanni and those of Assyria and Egypt (the Amarna Letters) as well as the world's oldest horse-training manual, and a treaty between the Mitanni and Hittites, give evidence of a prosperous nation which thrived between 1500 and 1240 BCE. In the year 1350 BCE, Mitanni was powerful enough to be included in the Great Powers Club along with Egypt, the Kingdom of the Hatti, Babylonia, and Assyria.
It is recorded that they were the innovators who spearheaded the development of the light war chariot with wheels that used spokes rather than solid wood wheels, such as those used by the Sumerians, so that the chariots were faster and easier to maneuver. Excavations of the Hittite archives of Hattusa, near present-day Boğazkale (Turkey), found the oldest surviving horse-training manual in the world. The work was written in 1345 BCE on four tablets and contains 1080 lines by a Mitanni horse-trainer named Kikkuli, beginning with the words, "Thus speaks Kikkuli, master horse trainer of the land of Mitanni" and exhaustively describes the proper methods of training horses.
The most comprehensive single volume dedicated to horses, Original Horse Bible, 2nd Edition is a celebration of the long relationship that humans and horses enjoy, written by two highly regarded horsewomen, the late Moira C. Allen and Sharon Biggs. Covering an array of topics that span the world of horses, including evolution, domestication, horseback riding, training, competing, breeding, and so much more, making this complete guide is a must-have for any avid horse-lover! An extensive breed chapter offers portraits of approximately 175 breeds, alphabetically arranged, from the Abaco Barb to the Welsh Pony, plus many rare and handsome breeds from around the world as well as favorites like the American Quarter Horse, the Shetland Pony, and the Thoroughbred. With over 100 training and behavior tips, more than 50 riding, grooming, and health takeaways, and so much more, the Original Horse Bible belongs on the shelves of anyone who admires these magnificent creatures. This second edition includes new sections on advances in imaging technology and medications, as well as updated information on saddles, bits, poisonous plants, deworming practices, and natural horsemanship.
Ceremonial horses are chosen for their size and color, as they must be similar to the others in the troop. They also must go through a temperament evaluation and rigorous training to be able to walk in parades without spooking. Horses remain a significant component of military ceremonies, whether accompanying royalty and heads of state on formal occasions or providing an honor guard for a state funeral.
Civilizations the world over can attribute their successful conquests to the use of horses in battle. Our history books are full of accounts of domesticated horses that helped to further human expansion.
Ancient texts extolled the benefits of domesticating horses in the expanding civilizations. In one of the earliest writings on horses, The Kikkuli Text (1345 BC), a Hittite horseman named Kikkuli describes the care and training of the warhorse. Xenophon, an Athenian soldier, wrote On the Art of Horsemanship (ca. 400 BC), a foundation for classical riding that bears up today.
Unlike vehicles, however, horses are not impervious to danger when working in riot or crowd control. Like modern-day gladiators, horses sent into these situations are equipped for a fight, wearing equipment such as visors, leather nose guards, rain gear, and special boots for knee and leg protection. Riot-patrol horses must also go through extreme desensitization training in order to ignore stimuli that would normally engage their flight responses.
After the age of mechanization, horses found new roles in sport, with most competitive disciplines derived from working, agriculture, or military use. Dressage, for instance, has its origins in army training, while western-style events are based on ranch work. Today, riders compete from childhood to adulthood, and in most countries, male and female riders (and horses) compete on an equal playing field.
Horse training refers to a variety of practices that teach horses to perform certain behaviors when commanded to do so by humans. Horses are trained to be manageable by humans for everyday care as well as for equestrian activities from horse racing to therapeutic horseback riding for people with disabilities.
Historically, horses were trained for warfare, farm work, sport and transport. Today, most horse training is geared toward making horses useful for a variety of recreational and sporting equestrian pursuits. Horses are also trained for specialized jobs from movie stunt work to police and crowd control activities, circus entertainment, and equine-assisted psychotherapy.
There is tremendous controversy over various methods of horse training and even some of the words used to describe these methods. Some techniques are considered cruel; other methods are considered gentler and more humane. However, it is beyond the scope of this article to go into the details of various training methodology, so general, basic principles are described below. The see also section of this article provides links to more specific information about various schools and techniques of horse training.
Asko Parpola: The kingdom of Mittani or Mitanni in present-day Syria was one of the three great powers of West Asia around 1500-1300 BCE. The other two were the Hittites of Anatolia (the Asiatic part of present-day Turkey) and the Egyptians. The people of Mittani/Mitanni spoke Hurrian, a language different from that of their rulers, who had Indo-Aryan names, and whose ancestors apparently had introduced horse-drawn war-chariots into West Asia. A Mitannian called Kikkuli wrote for the Hittites a handbook for training chariot-horses, and it contains technical terms of Indo-Aryan origin. The Proto-Indo-Aryan nobility that took over the power in Syria had come via northern Iran from the "Bactria and Margiana Archaeological Complex" (BMAC), a Bronze Age culture discovered in the 1970s in southern Turkmenistan and northern Afghanistan. The BMAC had gone through a similar take-over of power by Proto-Indo-Aryan speakers coming from the steppes of Kazakhstan and Russia, where the earliest horse-drawn chariots have been found (around 2100 BCE at Sintashta and Arkaim in the southern Urals). The earlier mentioned two waves of Indo-Aryan speakers to South Asia also came from the BMAC.
Asko Parpola: In my book, I am discussing at length the connection of the Aśvins (and their assumed doubles Mitra and Varuṇa) with their counterparts in the Greek religion, the Dioskouroi (Kastor and Polydeukes); these seem to be originally Proto-Indo-Aryan deities that came into being when the horse-drawn chariot was invented around 2100 BCE in the southern Urals, and spread with the chariot also to the Balts. To Greece they came with the Dorians, apparently only after chariot-driving was largely replaced by horse-riding, which started taking place around 1500 BCE. The initiatic mystery cults of Greece go back to West Asian Goddess cults, connected with agricultural fertility rites of hoary age (at least 6000 BCE), while their Vedic counterparts also go back to West Asia, but via the Indus Civilization. 2b1af7f3a8