Equus: Story of the Horse — OriginsA journey around the world and back in time, to discover why horses and humans make perfect partners. NOW STREAMING ON CBC GEM
We built the world around us with horsepower. But what is it that makes humans and horses so perfect for each other? And how have we transformed the wild horse we tamed 6,000 years ago into over 400 specialized breeds today?
To answer these questions, anthropologist-turned-filmmaker Niobe Thompson takes viewers on an epic journey across eleven countries on three continents and back in time to the mysterious beginnings of the horse-human relationship. Over three spectacular hours of cutting-edge science and gripping adventure, Thompson explores the evolution of horsepower, discovers how our ancestors tamed the horse and learns fascinating new insights into the body and mind of this unique animal.
Thompson goes a global adventure of discovery, living and riding with horse nomads in Arabia, Siberia and Mongolia, travelling into the field with archeologists, geneticists, and horse psychologists, and above all, getting friendly with horses everywhere he goes.
In Episode 1, Origins, Thompson takes us 45 million years back in time to meet Dawn Horse, a creature that led to all horses today. Tiny, forest roaming, vulnerable to predators, and a fruit eater, Dawn Horse’s fossil remains are brought to life by evolutionary biologist Martin Fischer and Thompson’s team of 3D animators.
How do these huge animals practically fly? Thompson visits some of the fastest, and most valuable, horses on Earth, and learns how elastic energy and a bizarre ability to breath-hold make these some of the fast land-runners in nature.
Why are horses so willing to please? Through some fascinating experiments, English horse psychologist Karen McComb discovers that horses use 17 different facial expressions to communicate. (That’s one more than dogs and three more than chimpanzees!)
Thompson spends a day in the Canadian Rockies with “extreme cowboy” Jimmy Anderson, a horse whisperer who has left the old idea of “breaking horses” behind. Anderson doesn’t break horses – he starts them. We get to learn his secrets, as he starts an “unbroke” colt.