Among other things, this article claims horse domestication –over 5000 years ago–gave humans new mobility that may have allowed the spread of Indo-European language and culture in addition to new trade partners and resources.
New evidence corralled in Kazakhstan indicates the Botai culture used horses as — and as a source of meat and milk — about 1,000 years earlier than had been widely believed, according to the team led by Alan Outram of England’s University of Exeter.
My main interest here comes from the two years I spent in Kazakhstan, my wife’s home country. I remember my brother in law talking about the horses in his hometown in the Kazakh mountains, Tuzkhol. “Everone has a horse if they work. If you want to work, you must have a horse.” He said it like it was a logic exercise.
They still make koumis–fermented horse milk–in Tuzkhol. Not bad, but I’d trade it for a cold beer any day.