There is some evidence that about 3,000 BC, near the Dnieper River and the Don River, people were using bits on horses, as a stallion that was buried there shows teeth wear consistent with using a bit.
However, the most unequivocal early archaeological evidence of equines put to working use was of horses being driven.
Horses continue to be used in public service: in traditional ceremonies (parades, funerals), police and volunteer mounted patrols, and for mounted search and rescue.
(See additional equestrian sports listed later in this article for more examples.) Some popular forms of competition are grouped together at horse shows, where horses perform in a wide variety of disciplines.
Horses (and other equids such as mules and donkeys) are used for non-competitive recreational riding such as fox hunting, trail riding or hacking.
refers to the skill of riding, driving, steeplechasing or vaulting with horses.
This broad description includes the use of horses for practical working purposes, transportation, recreational activities, artistic or cultural exercises, and competitive sport.
Though there is controversy over the exact date horses were domesticated and when they were first ridden, the best estimate is that horses first were ridden approximately 3500 BC.
Indirect evidence suggests that horses were ridden long before they were driven.
There is public access to horse trails in almost every part of the world; many parks, ranches, and public stables offer both guided and independent riding.
Horses are also used for therapeutic purposes, both in specialized paraequestrian competition as well as non-competitive riding to improve human health and emotional development.
The additional internationally sanctioned but non-Olympic disciplines governed by the FEI are: combined driving; endurance; reining; and vaulting.