If there’s one animal that has meant more to humans throughout their history than dogs, it’s the horse, of course (sorry cats). In fact, according to a new exhibition at the San Diego Natural History Museum, simply titled The Horse, no animal can match the contributions that horses have made to human civilization.
Even hearing that, I was still a bit dubious, knowing how invaluable my canine kind has been to bipeds for eons. But as this exhibition clearly shows, the horse, which is also easily domesticated because of its follow-the-leader instinct, has played a major role in pushing (and pulling) the advancement of humankind forward.
For example, without the Pony Express, early pioneers of the West wouldn’t have been able to communicate as quickly and easily with family members east of the Mississippi (admittedly, a Puppy Express just wouldn’t have worked out).
I also don’t care for the sound of a “hound-drawn carriage.” Sure, some of my kind can pull a sled across slippery ice, but I can’t imagine a team of two dogs pulling hundreds of pounds of cargo over bumpy roads across vast distances. Nor do I like the idea of being ridden into battle with an armored knight on my back!
And that’s just a small pawfull of examples this comprehensive exhibition explores. Through a variety of interactive and multimedia displays, models, and original artifacts, The Horse reveals the wide scope of culturally significant functions horses have played, including in sports and recreation, warfare, religious practices, hunting, farming, transportation, and even therapy.
Therapy — now there’s a role I think dogs can give horses a run for their money!