Where did the first horses
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
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.
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
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
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
Learn more about the
and Plains Indians.
Some great books about