- "A Horse! A Horse! My kingdom for a horse!"
- –Shakespeare (Richard III)
With riding techniques, large animals that were previously used only for food or work can also be used as a means of transportation. A human being sitting directly on a horse's back is the first and most immediate application of this technique, and provides the basis for development of a mounted soldier. The Horseback Riding technology allows you to train the first real cavalry unit in the game - the Horseman - and to build a Stable, enhancing your Pastures and boosting mounted unit training speed in this city. In Brave New World it also allows the construction of the Caravansary building, specialized in maintenance for Land Trade routes.
Horseback riding was developed in the second millennium BC (possibly earlier), probably by the nomadic people of Central Asia. The horse had been domesticated for some time by then, but the original animal was too small. It wasn't until a large enough animal had been bred that horseback riding became practical. One early group of nomads, the Scythians, were particularly accomplished riders; they might have invented the first saddle and stirrup (although they may have used the stirrup only for mounting and dismounting the horse). According to the Greek historians the Scythians were the first to "geld" (castrate) unruly male horses, making them much more docile and controllable.
By about 1500 BC many people of the Fertile Crescent - the Hittites, the Assyrians and the Babylonians - were fighting from horseback, and at the same time horses were introduced into Egypt. By the time of Alexander the Great cavalry tactics were quite advanced, and Alexander's "Companion Cavalry" were perhaps the most effective and powerful military unit in the Mediterranean world.