Where did the first horses come from?

The first horses to roam the American continent were prehistoric animals who were the ancestors of the horses we know today. But they died out millions of years ago.

Horses were re-introduced to the Americas by the early Spanish Conquistadors in the 16th century, when they came to explore, and later, to colonize.

What are Appaloosas?

Some of these horses escaped or were left behind. They formed their own herds and were later caught and bred by the Native Americans.

The Nez-Perces marveled at these spotted horses and believed that their special coat color meant power. These horses, later known as Appaloosas (from the Palouse region, where the Nez-Perces lived), were gentle, responsive, yet did not spook easily, making them ideal hunting and battle horses. Their speed and endurance also made them excellent horses for traveling across the Great Plains.

Go to Appaloosas to learn more about these beautiful horses.

How did horses change the life of the Plains Peoples?

Having horses changed the way of life of the Native American people. It gave them much more mobility, because now they could go further and faster, and carry more, with much less effort. Tribes that had horses had definite advantages over those who moved camp on foot.

Hunting buffalo became a lot easier. The Native Americans of the Plains became great mounted buffalo hunters.

Being able to travel further, they also did more trading. They traded jerked meat and buffalo hides for glass beads, metal tools, cloth and guns.

Go to Moving Camp to see how the horses carried things.

Learn more about the relationship between

Horses and Plains Indians.


Some great books about horses: