Horse History & Evolution




“The history of the horse goes back some 60 million years, to a very small animal — the size of a dog — named (Eohippus)”, Khan Academy. Its hands had 4 fingers and its legs had 3 toes, both had hooves.

Horses have first appeared in south-east Asia, then migrated to the Middle East, Europe, the Americas, and Africa about 100 000 B.C. Horses became extinct in America 8000 years ago, then returned back to America at the time of Columbus in the 15th century. Native American Indians did not know horses before the then and when they saw them for the first time with the early Spanish invaders, they called them “Mustangs”.

Wild horses have been widespread in the wide cold steppes of Eurasia between Spain and China. The Przewalski is the only subspecies of a wild horse that still exists today. It has been discovered in Mongolia in 1879, which is considered the origin of our modern horses.




Several forms of horses have developed and disappeared over time. The evolution of the modern horse we know today has been developed and matured about 7 million years ago from “Pliohippus”.


Horses have developed in adaptation to their geography and physical environments into three main types:

  • “Cold blood” in Europe, due to the cold weather, availability of grass, which made these races cold, fat and bulky.
  • Hot pureblood (“Arabian”) in ancient Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Persia, Turkey and the Sahara in the Middle East.  This type of horse has developed to become more intelligent, more athletic, rustic and smaller in size, due to the harsh desert environment it inhabits. The hot weather, scarcity of food and water,  obliged these races to have to think about where to get their water and feed, and were forced to move for long distances to survive.
  • The warm-blooded horses, which represent a mix of both cold and hot-blooded types, are mainly used as sports horses in modern days.




Cave paintings by early humans from Lascaux, France, dating to more than 17,000 years ago display beautiful horse images on rock art.

Ancient Egypt monuments also show beautiful images of horses pulling carts used in warfare in 2025 BC.The five origins of

Arabian Horses and most of the warmblood sports horses in the world today.

The Arabian was crossed with the European breeds to produce the warm-blooded horses, which are the modern sports horses we know nowadays in Europe and all over the world.

The origin of the name of the “Arabian Horse” is from the Arabian Peninsula where the Arabic language is spoken.  The Arabian horse grew and developed in the oldest civilizations of the region including Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Iran.  

Arabian Horse can be traced from five origins: Saqlawi, Dahman, Kuhaylan, Hadban, and Abbeyan.

In modern times, breeding programs have specialized based on the disciple or the sport in which the horses are performing. These disciplines include dressage, polo, racing, beauty contests, cross-country, and showjumping. Showjumping is of major importance in Europe, USA, and the Middle East North Africa region.

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