Horses originated in North America, migrated to Asia and were domesticated, went extinct in North America, and were brought back over again by the Spanish thousands of years later.

Horses in the United States

Horses running at a ranch in Texas

Horses were a crucial component of American life and culture since the founding of the nation. In 2008, there were about 9.2 million horses in the US, with 4.6 million citizens are involved in the horse business. Notably, there are about 82,000 feral horses that roam freely in a wild state in certain parts of the country.

While genus equus evolved in North America, the horse became extinct on the continent approximately 8,000-12,000 years ago. In 1493, on Columbus’ second voyage to the Americas, Spanish horses, representing E. caballus, were brought back to North America, first in the Virgin Islands, and, in 1519, they were reintroduced on the continent by Hernán Cortés. From early Spanish imports … Continue Reading (6 minute read)

15 thoughts on “Horses originated in North America, migrated to Asia and were domesticated, went extinct in North America, and were brought back over again by the Spanish thousands of years later.”

  1. IamnotValiantThor

    Wait till you learn about camels. You’re gonna love it.

  2. pathway_18

    Those Spanish horses were like “guess who’s back”

  3. Bapgo

    There are some cool cave paintings in “Writing on stone national park” in Canada that have horses in them

  4. gravi-tea

    What caused their North American extinction?

  5. Applejuiceinthehall

    Camels, caribou and black bears migrated out of north america and bison, mammoths, moose and ell migrated into north america.

    Also there was the Great American interchange as well.

    Marsupials origins are Montana and the marsupials migrated to south america around 65 million years ago. Back then north america was part of laurasian and south america was part of godwana, but there was a ridge that connected them.

    Marsupials went extinct eventually in north america but survived on south America and moved to australia via antarctica. When north and south america connected again the Marsupials in south america came back to north america!

  6. kozmonyet

    Apparently once domesticated in Asia, a big use for them was being milked–about as important as being ridden if not more.

    Milking horses is a gigantic pain in the ass because if they think it’s anything but a colt, the spigot basically shuts off immediately. Because of that you can only milk one by bringing in a colt to fool the mom into thinking it’s the baby doing the work down there–and still have to be sneaky so she doesn’t notice otherwise.

    Useless trivia….

  7. thr3ddy

    Does this make a Mustang (wild horse) native fauna in some roundabout way?

  8. teastain

    It is believed that all megafauna were hunted into extinction The Original Peoples, thousands of years ago. Happened everywhere in world!

  9. nomz27

    Nobody expects the Spanish Equestrian!

  10. Rekcut99

    i got this question wrong in my history class even though i was right

  11. ChadlyThe3rd

    Heard they evolved from Tapirs

  12. Entrepreneur_FR

    Interestingly, it seems probable that humans arriving in North America were a major factor in the disappearing of horses an camels in North America. Pretty much wherever early humans arrived large mammals suffered greatly or disappeared completely : New Zealand, Australia, North America, even Wrangel Island where Mammoths survived until 4000 years ago when finally humans arrived.

  13. youknowitinc

    So Native Americans had no horses before settlers came?? Nuts

  14. netelibata

    Horse to north America: “You could not live with your own failure. And where did that bring you? Back to me.”

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