I am currently engrossed in a book (The Genius of China, by Robert Temple) detailing all of the inventions that China had created, which were eventually adopted by Europeans without giving due credit to the Chinese. (It's a big book, so I look forward to everything else it has to offer.) One of these inventions was an effective horse harness. While I was reading the chapter, I suddenly realized why so many horses are seen pulling chariots on ancient European coins. Let me explain below: In Europe, the only horse harness was a throat-and-girth harness. Basically, it wrapped around the horse's throat and belly to give a secure attachment. The disadvantage to this arrangement was that the horse gets severely choked and thus becomes quite inefficient. The author claims this is the reason why the Roman Empire had to import all of their grain from egypt; without an effective method to transporting Italian grain by land, it proved to be better to just import the grain by sea. A Roman Republic denarius clearly showing this kind of harness. In contrast, in 4th-century China, the trace harness was invented which transferred the load to the horse's sternum and collarbone instead of the neck. The Avars invaded Hungary in 568 AD, and they brought this harness, along with the stirrup, to Europe from China. It became commonplace in Europe by the 8th Century AD. A Han Dynasty depiction of the trace harness: Then by the 1st Century BC, the Chinese invent the collar harness, which is still in use today. This type of harness is advantageous as it creates an artificial "hump" above the horse's shoulders (like that of an ox) where a yoke can be attached. The load also gets tranferred to the horse's skeletal system, but it is slightly more effective than the trace harness. So, just how much of an effect does the type of harness have? Modern experiments showed that a pair of horses could carry a half-ton load using the throat-and-girth harness. However, the other two harnesses allowed a single horse to carry a 1.5-ton load; a six-fold increase! No wonder why so many horses were needed to pull the chariots. Gotta love Ancient Chinese ingenuity. Post your horses, chariots, carts, etc. This might turn out to be an interesting thread.