THE DEVIL'S HORSEMEN
The wild horses of Mongolia, now known as the Przevalsky horses, are the ones that most closely resemble horses in prehistoric cave paintings, and the domestic horses which the Mongol army first rode were not unlike these. They were thickset and strong with broad foreheads and short legs and were prized throughout the east for their courage and stamina. After the fall of Khwarizm they were often cross-bred with the larger, pure blooded Arab horses of Islam, but they were never as small as has often been assumed. Recent excavations have shown that they were on average between thirteen and fourteen hands high, at least a hand higher than the average Mongolian domestic horse today, ans some of them were as much as sixteen hands, which is big by any standards.
For the first two years of their lives the horses were broken and ridden hard, then they were put out to grass for three years and after that they were ridden again and some were trained for battle.
Their herd instincts were fostered and developed so that large numbers could be led rather than driven - by riding a mare a man could be sure her foal and stallion would trail behind, by riding a lead stallion he could lead a large herd - and in this way the Mongol horses were trained from birth to follow each other.
Because they were broken young they were quiet and gentle. In the races that were run over long distances to test their stamina they were always ridden by young children so that the disparate weight and skill of experienced riders would not influence the result of the race. On the march each tumen would lead its own herd of remounts and each soldier would have at least three horses following behind him like dogs so that by regularly changing mount he would ride at speed for days on end, eating in the saddle or pausing briefly to slit a leg on his weakest horse and drink its blood.
Whenever possible Mongols preferred to ride mares, since their milk as well as their blood, and in the last resort their flesh, provided them with everything they needed to survive. Weak horses were often killed for food and the mounts of messengers were sometimes ridden to death, but this was out of necessity and not indifference. Mongol horses were better cared for than the horses of any other army, even in Islam, and Chingis Khan had laid down strict rules according to which it was forbidden to lead a horse with a bit on his mouth. In spite of their new wealth, the Mongol nomads still valued their horses far above all other possessions. Horses played their part in traditional ceremonies and folk lore and there was a whole period in Chinese art when all the statues and paintings were of horses, since the Mongol patrons desired nothing else.
War horses were treated with the same sentimental respect as any other comrade in arms. Their harness and saddles were richly decorated with silver and the shoulders, chests and heads of the mounts of heavy cavalry were protected by armour. A horse that had been ridden in battle was never killed for food and when it became old or lame it was put to grass, although when a soldier died his favorite horse was killed and buried with him so that their spirits would ride together. Admired for their colour, an above average proportion of the Mongol horses were piebald and it was by colour that herds were selected and divided. Each unit of the Imperial Guard rode horses of a different colour and white horses were considered sacred and fit only for princes.
So what you may wonder. Well, on this isle most people treat their domestic, or animals of company as if they were things, furniture, accessories. I mean ALL kinds of animals, but in essence cats and dogs. The numbers of stray dogs and cats is over 300,000. Those kept in ill spaces, out doors and abused at home could be two times that.
Many children are not treated differently, believe it or not, in my not so humble opinion.
that is that
Tumen, Mongol division of ten thousand men