Oh, it's even older than that, Min. It's what the horse sacrifice is all about - to prevent the end of the world happening.
The word sacrifice has changed over time to just mean giving up something - I suppose the ultimate being the Lamb of God giving up his life on the Cross.
But I've recently discovered that the Siberian horse was splayed on a cross over the fire, and that the cross was hugely symbolic. Then certain ceremonies took place around it. There was also a sex act between either the king and a mare, or a queen and a horse. I know this is distasteful, to talk about ... but we have different sensibilities these days.
But do you remember there used to be that story about the 18th century Russian Empress Catherine the Great? Of course, it's all been denied a million times. But why did the story originate? Well, Siberia is part of Russia.
So anyway, the horse sacrifce is thought to be an alchemical act - it later became the king having sex with an hierodule, a sacred prostitute, whiich I'm sure was a lot more pleasurable!
But anyway, the whole aim of this sacrifice, however it took place, was to stop the end of the world happening.
You've got to admit, it's worked so far!