CHICAGO (CBS) — Equestrians and horse lovers will flock to the Field Museum starting Wednesday, as a new exhibit opens depicting horses as the most important animal to ever interact with humans.

The exhibit, called “The Horse,” shows how humans domesticated the horse and includes a timeline on how their relationships with humans evolved.

Visitors can explore more than 200 breeds and learn why horses can stand all day without becoming fatigued.

Items on display include a full suit of armor from 15th century Germany and a 19th century horse-drawn fire engine. Also on display is a life-size, interactive video looking inside a horse,

“Experience the beauty, grace, and strength of these extraordinary animals through a high-definition projection of a horse in motion. Set to the sound of thundering hoof beats, the footage highlights the horse’s lithe musculature and movement,” the museum says.

Fossils, and cave paintings showing the relationship between horses and prehistoric man will be on display. There will also be a re-creation of the archaeological site of Krasnyi Yar in Kazakhstan, where researchers have found a 5,000-year-old village that shows early signs of horse domestication, according to the museum.

The exhibit will review how humans have used domesticated horses in warfare and work in coal mines, to trade, transportation and sports.

Finally, three videos will be on display documenting people’s bonds with horses, including a disabled girl who is involved in therapeutic riding; a mounted police officer; and a teenage cowgirl.

“The Horse” opened Wednesday, and runs through Aug. 14.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Watch & Listen LIVE