The Compelling Background of the American Indian Horse

The Compelling Background of the American Indian Horse

Beginnings of an Unstoppable Breed

The American Indian Horse has an interesting and arduous background.

Most researchers agree that this horse was brought to the western world by the Spanish in the 1500s.

Thought to be the top breed at this juncture, their blood was a mix of Arabian, Andaluisan and Barb varieties.

Having never been glimpsed by Indians at this time, the image of a rider on a horse was seen as almost divine.

What’s more, the American Indian Horse was crucial to Cortez’s domination of Mexico.

To keep the horse in this elevated state, Indians were prohibited from possessing or even from being able to ride them.

The Spanish ranchos and the general popularity of the horse grew, and therefore Indians did eventually acquire the horse into their day to day life, and began to see all the benefits that this animal could bring them.

Indian Horse

Newfound Benefits of Horses

This addition changed the daily experience of the Plains Indians’; they were now able to engage in strategic hunting and even war with neighboring communities when necessary. The horse brought great advantages to communities.

While before the Indians used dogs for support in their work, they now had the much more robust support of the horse.

This allowed their shelters and resources to become more sophisticated and sturdy.

Hunting was also improved by the introduction of the horse: with the newfound ability to hunt on a horse, Indians could spot and attack their ideal prey, instead of resorting to more elementary methods like chasing a herd over a cliff in order to achieve an easy kill.

Customs and Traditions brought on by the American Indian Horse

Because of their desirability, the stealing of horses became a very real threat to tribes in the 1500s.

Young fighters would gain respect by doing this, for horses were so valuable and sought highly sought after. A warrior could gain resources for his family or tribe by acquiring a horse.

Not only were horses sought after for their material gain, it was also believed that horses had a unique healing power, there was even a horse medicine cult that was a part of many tribes.

Specifically, one tribe called the Oglala Dakota tribe would perform a dance that imitated horses, believing that this ritual could influence the outcomes of horse races and that it could even improve the health of ailing horses.

People who believed in horse medicine were esteemed by their communities.

American Indian Horses

The Strength of a Strong Herd

After the War Between the States, American Indian horses helped bring together a multitude of wild Longhorn Cattle in Texas.

The horses fought through every kind of weather and landscape imaginable, travelling from Texas to Canada, surviving on grass and finishing with as much spirit as they started with.

Many notable individuals have reflected upon how impressive these horses really were, particularly impressed by their utter resiliency.

An Enduring Legacy that Connects to Today

With the aim of overcoming the Indian, the United States Army saw the logic in disarming them of their horses in order to more effectively control them.

There is proof that Indian horse herds were slaughtered on many occasions; but this is also evidence of how robust the horse is.

In fact, many American breeds of horse have come from the line of the American Indian Horse.

For example, the Morgan, American Saddlebred, Quarter Horse and the Tennessee Walker can all trace their roots back to the American Indian Horse.

Furthermore, the majority of color breeds are descendants of the Paint, Palomino, Appaloosa, Buckskin and of course, the Indian Horse.

Now a days the use of horses has changed considerably with the majority of horses being used for recreational purposes. There are even horse farms for sale which try to specialize in breeding horses for sports such as show jumping.

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