What Is the Origin of the Horse?
No one knows about the origin of the horse or where horses originated. Fossils show that during the Ice Age horses lived on every continent except Australia.
Great herds wandered throughout North and South America. Then for some unknown reason, horses disappeared from the Western Hemisphere.
Origin of the horse was maybe sixty-five million years ago, some small animals no bigger than foxes, ran about the forests of Europe and North America.
These prehistoric horses had arched backs and snout-like noses. They had several toes on each foot. These small animals were dawn horses, and they were the ancestors of today’s horses.
The scientific name for the little dawn horse is Eohippus (ee-o-HIP-us). Over millions of years, the horse grew bigger and had fewer toes. Horses keep changing.
Eventually, they became much like the horses of today. All the toes disappeared except the middle toe, which developed into a single “foot“. Modern horses, zebras, and asses belong to the genus Equus, the only surviving genus in a once diverse family, the Equidae.
North America remained home to Equus species for most of the next 2.5 million years until they died out. There is currently some debate over whether they all died out in America after having spread to Europe, Asia, and Africa.
The horse is a universal symbol of freedom without restraint, because riding a horse made people feel they could free themselves from their own bindings. Also linked with riding horses, they are symbols of travel, movement, and desire. The horse also represents power in Native American tribes.