American Indian Horse
This web site is to describe the horses used by the American Indians (that lived in what is now the United States).
The word "Mustang" comes from the Spanish word, mesteno, meaning "stray or ownerless" horse. This term aptly describes all wild, feral horses in the United States.
The modern horse evolved over three million years ago and then disappeared from this hemisphere 10,000 years ago. The horse returned to North America when explorers Cortes and DeSoto came mounted on magnificent Barbs from Morocco, Sorraia from Portugal and Andalusians from Spain.1 See History 1492-1620 The Spanish Colonial Period
Early Indian ethnologists believed the feral Spanish mustangs that roamed the Plains descended from Spanish barb horses lost by Cortez, and that the Plains Indian horses came from these wild Spanish Colonial horses. Roe and others have shown this was not the case. The North American Plains Indians acquired their first horses, and the knowledge of how to handle them, through trade with the Indians of the Southwest. American Indians had to learn to ride and handle horses just like everybody else.
By the mid-sixteen hundreds, the Spanish rancheros near Santa Fe and Taos had thousands of horses. The Spanish government issued decrees forbidding Indians to own or ride horses, but as slaves, or as workers, on the Spanish Rancheros, Indians learned to handle horses...it is interesting to note that many Indians were terrified at their first sight of a horse. The Pueblo Rebellion of 1680 forced the Spanish out of New Mexico and many horses were left behind. The Pueblo Indians and other tribes in the area took full advantage of these horses.2 See History 1620-1800 The Indian Horse Period
In 1803, with the purchase of the Louisiana Territory by United States from France brought with it the invasion of the American settlers and army. The next one hundred years will see the Indian Horse Culture rise to its highest and then be destroyed. See History 1800-1890 The Indian Horse Period
The Mustang is a feral horse found now in the western United States. Originally these were Spanish horses or their descendants but over the years some have became a mix of numerous breeds.
At first the large herds of wild horses did not pose a particular problem until the western United States became settled and cattle and other grazing animals were added to the native range.
While the Spanish blood has been diluted, many of the horses still exhibit Spanish characteristics.3 See History 1890 - Present
The Indian Horse of Today
Links to other Information
The Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race
The Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race is an 800 mile endurance ride completed over a 13 day period. It is open to all breeds. The ride will start in Santa Fe, New Mexico on September 3, 2007 and end in Missouri on September 15, 2007.
Red Oak Tree Ring System
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