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An anonymous lone rider at the hayfield and Iron Age burial ground known as Brunsbo Äng, Skara municipality.
Much points to the horse having been domesticated about 6000 years ago on the Eurasian steppes. Ukraine or Kazakhstan has been suggested as more specific starting places for this momentous process.
The first evidence for domesticated horses in Sweden comes from Bronze Age petroglyphs and depictions on weapons and utility objects. They depict horses in scenes that are commonly interpreted as religious in nature, such as horse-drawn chariots carrying what is considered to be the disc of the sun. This theme reappears in the later tales of the mythological beings Sól and Mani, where Sól is a female personification of the Sun, riding across the heavens with her brother, the Moon. Finds have also been made which connects the horse-drawn sun worship to a female priesthood, even if the connection is far from certain.
The Iron Age is when we can say for certain that the horse has become really common in what is today Sweden. The horses of the time were probably of a shaggy, pony-like breed not unlike those found on Iceland and Gotland. During this time the Germanic tribes in Scandinavia are thought to have had extensive contacts with the steppe nomads of the Eurasian steppes, the original horsemen, from which they are thought to have imported certain military innovations, possibly including cavalry ones.
The horse was the hallmark of nobility during the Iron Age; and as with the knights of later Christian, medieval times, the ownership of a war steed was fundamental to showing one's right to power.
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