During the Eocene Period about 60 million years ago, the first horse evolved. This first horse was called Eohippus. It was the size of a fox, had four toe pads and was probably brown with lighter spots. It ate tender leaves from low overhanging trees. It lived in the forest on the outskirts of the plains. The main predator was a large bird that walked on two legs. Over millions of years the Eohippus evolved into Mesohippus. Mesohippus had three toes and still ate tender leaves but added the grasses of the plains to its diet. As Mesohippus began to eat the grasses, it also started to range on the plains. This early horse was larger than Eohippus. Merychippus followed Mesohippus. It still had the three toes but it's teeth were more advanced. Pliohippus was the first single toed horse. It was well adapted to living on the treeless plains. The hard hoof of the Pliohippus enabled it to run faster than its forebearers. Predators now consisted of large cats and other large meat-eating animals. Pliohippus could now out run these animals. These horses lived in large herds to help each other survive. They had long legs and their eyes were set on each side of their head. This helped them to see predators sneaking up on the herd. With the evolution of Equus, modern horse had arrived. Modern horse had longer legs and could run faster. Its vision had improved making it easier to spot predators.
Primitive men hunted the horse for food and clothing. Recent discoveries show that about 6,000 years ago,
Man started to capture instead of kill them. After taming the horses, they began to ride them. They learned they couldn't stop the horse by pulling on the mane. Then they tried using a rope around the horse's neck but this didn't work well. Primitive bridles using antlers as a bit have been discovered. They also used them to pull loads.
Horses have changed people's lives. They have carried men into battle. They have helped produce and transport food. They have carried families to new homes. They have helped teach people and have been friends.