Hercules' efforts to dispel the Stymphalian Birds and capture the Mares of Diomedes
may have exposed him to zoonoses acquired from birds and equids.
By conventional view, Heracles had twelve labors, and these labors occurred in the following order: 1) Nemean Lion; 2) Lernaean Hydra; 3) Ceryneian Hind; 4) Erymanthian Boar; 5) Stables of Augeias; 6) Stymphalian Birds; 7) Cretan Bull; 8) Mares of Diomedes
; 9) Hippolyte's Girdle; 10) Cattle of Geryon; 11) Apples of the Hesperides; 12) Capture of Cerberus.
His labors included rounding up the cattle of Geryon and broncobusting the flesh-eating mares of Diomedes
. Like Bill Pickett--the rodeo star who invented steer wrestling--he bulldogged the Cretan Bull.
Only four of the twelve labors are depicted: the Cretan Bull, the Nemean Lion, the Wild Boar of Erymanthus, and the Mares of Diomedes
The sculptor Gutzon Borglum completed Mares of Diomedes
, a tour de force depicting six stampeding wild ponies gaunt from hunger.
In 1904 he won a gold medal at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition with a bronze group, The Mares of Diomedes
, now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York.
Hercules' eighth labor was to drive away the mares of Diomedes
fed on human flesh.