A few years ago an older friend who loved history repeated his theory that horses caused all wars. Since some people seem to think that religion, politics, economics, or football playoffs cause wars, I will repeat Bob Cole’s theory for the benefit of those who might not have ever met this remarkable man.
In the beginning men walked. Some learned to walk faster and some even learned to run. Why is altogether another subject, but suffice it to say that men have a tendency to travel in one manner or another. The man who gets to a location before another man seems to believe that all he beholds belongs to him alone. Therefore, the first man at a location has an advantage over the man who stays in the walking mode.
Men discovered that horses could be utilized for something other than fresh meat. Burden carriers were perhaps the first order, but eventually men began to realize that the horse provided swift travel—or at least much swifter and longer lasting transport than a man’s feet. Then a horse also provided an advantage other than speed. The sheer mass of the animals was intimidating and useful in battle. Men began to utilize the strength and speed of these wonderful animals to overcome intruders.
Tribes or families of men were strengthened by the number of horses available to them. But the horses required pasturage—which meant that men needed more space to call their own. Therefore, men found a reason—because of their horses’ needs—to fight off any who would claim lands around them and to search out MORE lands for the increased number of horses. Before long, everyone wanted horses and the battles were on!
Each land has been conquered by horses. Two horse spans were the criteria for wealth and wagons. Our roads were made to match—along with the railroads and the tunnels for the trains. The cars and the trains are simply an extension of the horses.
Now, for what it is worth, my beliefs will not change what has become known as the “nature” of man. But blaming religion, nationalistic or ethnic persuasions, technology, economic instability, or natural disasters won’t change how man thinks. Set any man upon a hill and see if he does not feel that all he surveys belongs to him. And truly it does. What we see becomes “ours” within our own range of feeling and sense of rightness. What traveler familiar with acres of wheat fields will not somehow rebel when they “suddenly” become fields of houses and roads?
Dan’l Boone just wanted elbow room, but I sit my horse on this old hill and see MY world from his strong back. Between his ears and over his flying mane, I claim this land as mine! Yes, we know what causes wars—it’s the horses.