GENGHIS KHAN AND THE MONGOL HORSEMEN: 1203
Temujin, later known as Genghis Khan (1162-1227) was born in 1162. At the time of his birth, the Mongols lacked unity, existing as a fragmented series of tribes. By 1203, Temujin, utilizing his genius for organization, had begun the process of unifying the various Mongol tribes into an effective and ruthless fighting force. Their horses and their riding tradition were their strengths. While the Mongols were never able to field massive armies, horses and their mastery of them, along with their unquestioning obedience to their leader, enabled them to conquer a major portion of the world.
The Mongols relied on the tough and hardy Mongolian horse. These horses generally stood between 13 and 14 hands and were in plentiful supply. An additional advantage of these horses was their ability to subsist solely on grass. This not only eliminated the costly expense of providing dietary supplements, but also provided the Mongols with the luxury of not having to carry this additional burden while on the march.