The Native Americans once used dogs to assist them with the transportation of their goods and materials, and traveled by foot. Once the Spanish came to the land, they brought horses with them, and this is when the Indians began using horses as a means for both transportation and the movement of items and food.
At first, however, the Native Americans were scared of the horses because they had never seen them before, and because of their large size. Eventually that fear subsided, and they became a real commodity for the Native Americans. Once the Indians began to use horses in every day life, horse breeding became a common practice since the animals were so valuable. At first only those of importance had their own horses, but eventually due to horse breeding, everyone was assigned a horse of their own, including some children. For those who did not have horses of their own, often they would attempt to infiltrate the tribes late at night and steal some without being noticed.
Horses were also used to help the Indians in hunting. There was a certain breed of horses called a buffalo horse. While this breed was a little bit more difficult to ride, the Indians would use them to run alongside buffalo, making it more difficult for the buffalo to escape, and easier on the Indians to track down and hunt. While overall horses were helpful to the Indians, sometimes it made them more vulnerable to attacks, since the horses had to be led to an open field to graze.
Overall, however, horse breeding was an important part of Indian culture. It allowed the Native Americans to have more horses, giving them a much easier way to fight, hunt, and travel. Horses played an important part in this culture, and they still do today.
Joseph Paige © 2006