Why were zebras never domesticated?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by angular, May 6, 2008.

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  1. Daft question I know, but I have this lovely mental image of bad-tempered Zulus riding across Africa on black and white steeds causing havoc wherever they go.

    Despite living near the home of horseracing, no-one here has any idea why not (or can see why anyone would bother), and I can't find anything on the internet other than comments about social organisation in zebra herds that I don't understand. Has anyone else seen anything about this?
  2. God I am going to get some stick for this comment....... :roll: :roll:

    I think if I remember correctly from my stablehand and riding days (many mooons ago) i believe it was something to do with their temprement and I also think it is something to do with their backs that meant they either couldn't be ridden or were fecking uncomfortable if ridden.

    But I may be wrong
  3. The Zulu never formed a Cav arm simply because of the beast's lack of camouflage. Quite apart from being easily seen when trying to sneak up on the enemy, if the Zebra is going to get taken out by a hungry Lion every time it leaves the paddock, imagine the attrition-rate on the riders.
  4. They clash with everything. No good for racing, or point to pointing.
  5. Just because zebras are not domesticated like horses does not mean they are "untrainable." It's possible that this is the case because zebras have a totally different social structure in the wild than horses. The social structure of zebra herds also varies between species. In working with zebra and zebra hybrids, an advantage can be gained through the re-socialization process of raising them around mannerly, well trained equines. In time, animals will adapt to their environment and become more like the animals they herd with. In a controlled environment, a zebra in a horse herd eventually becomes more like a horse.

    This paragraph nicked from another website courtesy of Mr Cut and Mrs Paste.
  6. As easesprings said i have heard this too, i believe its because

    a)theyre not as fast as horses
    b)theyre deceptively smaller than horses
    c)they have problems carrying weight

    domesticated horse have been selectively bred over countless centuries for this purpose as well as for speed.

    Also I dont think Zulu would be quite as good if they all charge on zebras.
  7. would be funny as fcuk though.
  8. I seem to remember reading that the Romans managed to tame them and that they featured in the Circus Maximus.... Mind you, I suspect that the Romans could train elephants to walk the tightrope if there was money in it.

    I wonder if the original RSPCA was the Roman Society for the prevention of cruelty to animals...? Somehow I doubt it!
  9. Pob02

    Pob02 War Hero Book Reviewer

    The Rothchild family actually had some domesticated. They used them to pull Traps around Buckinghamshire/Hertfordshire.

    If I could be arsed (which i can't) I'd google an image or 2.
    Aa s hint for those that can be bothered look up Halton House.
  10. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    One of the founder members of the Selous Scouts in WW1 rode a zebra, a Kenyan expat Belgian farmer or brit with a belgian parent ish! I read it in a good book on the war in Africa
  11. WAHHHH WW1my arrse.

    Mind I have seen wild horses integrated into wild Zebra heards in Botswana .
  12. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Serious mucker, he trained a couple of zebras to pull his trap but when he volunteered to fight the germans couldnt leave home with no transport so rode his Zebra to town.
    Zebras could survive the harsher climate better than horses so it was sensible. There is a photo of him in the book on his zebra.
  13. I want one!
    but do you think it could hold its own against a horse? To put it another way could we have zebras in the grand national?

    seeing that photo the Zulus were pretty daft not to use them. Imagine a couple thousand of them charging against Micheal Caine.
  14. [Pub-bore mode]Totally off-topic, but zebras are black with white stripes, not the other way around.

    As embryos they develop black hairs first, all over, then the white stripes start to come through later but still prior to birth.[/Pub-bore mode]