There were horses in America

How the Indian got on horseback!

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How the Indian got on horseback!

Anyone who thinks that the Indians have always ridden wild mustangs is wrong. Even if it looks like the Indians never did anything but ride a horse. Only the European immigrants brought the horses with them to America.

Before the arrival of the Europeans, Indians lived in the eastern part of the prairie, between the Mississippi in the east and the Rocky Mountains in the west. They grew vegetables and hunted game.

Photo: The horse breed Appaloosa comes from the breeding of the Nez Percé Indians.

There was less rain in the western part, so only little grass grew here. The grass was vital for the huge herds of buffalo. Once it was eaten, the animals moved on. The Indians followed the animals as long as they could, hunted as much as they could carry back.

That only changed when the Spaniards came to America - horses in their luggage.
In the 16th century, the Spanish conquerors brought their horses to Mexico. In 1519 Cortez had 12 horses on board. At first the Indians looked at these animals with awe. They were afraid of these "big dogs". In addition, the riders instilled awe in them, which the conquerors took advantage of. It is believed that some animals were lost in the expeditions of the Spanish conquerors Hernando Cortez and Vasquez de Coronado in the 16th century.

Later the horses are said to have reproduced in the steppes of Arizona and Texas. In addition, there was the targeted breeding of horses by the Spaniards. Young Indians worked on their huge farms, and they quickly learned how to handle horses.

But they soon realized that horses were useful. From 1630 onwards, the Apaches and Comanches bred horses themselves from stolen and wild horses, the mustangs. In about 100 years they spread more and more northwards through barter.

Now the Indians could follow the buffalo herds much more easily. The Apaches, however, mainly used the animals for slaughter or as a means of transport, but not for buffalo hunting.

Up until 100 years ago, the Nez Percé Indians also bred horses. They needed pack horses, hunting horses and war horses. Your horses had to be persistent, fast and have a lot of character. The fur pattern was also an important feature. So all of their horses had a wholly or partially spotted coat. Its name, "Appaloosa", comes from the white settlers. It is also the name of the river that flows through the tribal area of ​​the Nez Percé Indians.

Today the Appaloosa are one of the largest horse breeds in the world.


-from-31.01.2002 / Photo: pd

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