Dürer was fascinated by horses and riders, and this is his first proper treatment of the subject in print. It was the first of many, including some of his most important works in both engraving and woodcut, with The Knight and the Lansquenet (lot 14) and Knight, Death and the Devil (lot 99) being the most noteworthy.
Several drawings on the subject are recorded, mostly from his early years, and this engraving is quite closely related to a drawing in the City Museum of Gdansk (W. 9), inscribed by Dürer's hand: "Dz hat wofgang pewrer gemacht Im 1484 Jor" ('wofgang pewrer made this In the year 1484'). Apparently, in this drawing young Dürer had copied an engraving by Wolfgang Beurer, the monogramist WB.
Dürer's little engraving, so full of speed and fun, was very popular and was copied at least five times by other engravers. It is part of a group of small secular prints created around 1496-97 (see the following two lots) which were popular with a public hungry for depictions of 'real life', and useful to other artists.