The modern horse

The modern horse is a descended from Eohippus, also known as the dawn horse. This happened 60 million years ago. Eohippus was the size of a fox or a small dog. Some people even think that they evolved from small dogs. It didn’t even look like a modern horse at all. When people found fossils of Eohippus they called it Hyracotherium or the hyrax beast. It has three toes on its front feet and three toes on its back feet. Remains of its teeth show it chewed on leaves more than grass.

Then Eohippus developed into two types, called Miohippus and Mesohippus. Both these animals had three toes on all four feet, and they were a little bigger than Eohippus feet. They also had more efficient teeth, so they could eat a variety of food. Pilohippus is the most important stage because it was from Meschippusit evolved, one million years ago. The main changes when horses evolved are the shape of the teeth, the shape of its bones in its leg, and what it ate.

For a very long time, horse were to fast and smart for people to catch them. Take that humans! They were first hunted and caught for food for 20-30,000 years, when people found out about their migrations.

After people caught horses for food they tamed them.  They were tamed so that people could ride them and breed them. The first people who did this were nomadic horsemen from Central Asia, some time before 2500BC. The first horses that were tamed were small and used for milk, meat, and skin, pulling heavy loads, and transporting people.

Then people had a problem they needed an easier way to control their horses. Saddles were probably used by the Samarians of central Asia. Their saddles were built high at the front and back, to hold the person who was riding the horse.

The earliest nosebands and bits came from Gaza. One example is a broken bit with a plain bar mouthpiece and wheel-shaped cheekpieces with spikes. The most elaborate ancient bits date from the 10th-7th centuries BC., and come from Luristan in western Iran. They have straight mouthpieces and the ends were shaped like horses, gods, and monsters.