It is true that both zebras and horses are of the same genus which is Equus. But, despite their similarities, they actually have several very strong differences that led to horses being widely used by humans for riding and pulling wagons etc. and zebras, well, not so much...
Since at least the late 19th century, some people persisted in the tough job of "breaking" zebras in as workhorses. Try as they might, the practice didn't become widespread and zebras sure didn't put horses out of business.
Although some people have successfully managed to break in zebras to ride them and there is photo evidence of that both past and present, riding zebras as horses is still the exception. Why? Here's why....
There's no gray area as to why most of us in the world don't ride zebras as horses. Zebras are wild animals with different evolutional responses to being domesticated than horses. In addition to tending to bite, kick and be more aggressive than horses, zebras even have what is called a "ducking reflex" that makes them difficult to get control of.
5. There Is No Escaping People Thinking Of Zebras As Striped Horses
The zebra's resemblance to the horse just seems too strong for some people to stop thinking of the two as the same animal. People have also been fascinated with the distinctly striking black and white striping on zebras for a long time.
At least Kourtney Kardashian's choice to ride a zebra over a horse happened at a carousel, not for real. It's interesting and ironic though that the expression of this carousel ride zebra is one of displeasure at being ridden.
Other than the overall temperament of zebras and that they are wild animals, there's another strong reason that people don't ride zebras as much as they do horses. The zebra is smaller in size than the horse and an average-sized man is too heavy to be carried by the animal. Ignoring the oversized weight load will likely only make the zebra's innate aggressiveness and resistance to being ridden stronger.
Like with just about anything else in life that goes against the mainstream, some people just have a knack for getting zebras to let them ride them. Just as there are "dog whisperers" who can train canines well, there are also some present day "zebra whisperers."
11. Why Do Zebras As A Whole Resist Domestication And Training More Than Horses?
The theory as to what makes zebras naturally resistant to domestication is that they have a strong "flight or fight" response built in through evolution. After all, zebras are African animals who historically were preyed upon by fierce predators such as lions. In order to survive, zebras developed fighting abilities that include a kick that can be powerful enough to break a lion's jaw!
While some people have made it their mission to ride a zebra, others could care less and are quite happy to stick with the horse, not having to deal with a lot of zebra bites in the process. As the old saying goes, it's different strokes for different folks...or in this case, different stripes for different types.
It's kinda interesting to note the zebra-themed products available for horses these days, like this zebra-printed wrap. It's like getting the best of both animals in a way...the right animal to ride, along with those exotic-looking stripes to look fancy.