INDIGENOUS HORSE OF THE AMERICAS
Archaeologists, zoologists, and scholars now understand and accept
that the horse originated in the Americas and later spread into Europe and Asia...
A BRIEF TIMELINE
However, for centuries scholars claimed the opposite to be true. As those who originally colonized the Americas were taught that “all things civilized” came from Europe, the origin of the horse – the most valuable animal to mankind at the time – was presumed to fit into that paradigm.
Although it is now considered fact that the horse originated in the Americas, the above-mentioned Euro-Centric paradigm is still in place. The majority of the world’s “experts” theorize that the horse became extinct in the Americas during the Ice-Age roughly 10,000 years ago. Therefore, most history books still credit the Europeans with reintroducing the horse to the Americas beginning in 1493 with Columbus’ voyage to the Caribbean islands.
However, the oral history of many Native American Tribes claims otherwise. Today, with archeological, zoological, and early colonial records (which were previously unavailable and/or disregarded because they did not fit into the Euro-Centric paradigm), the evidence to support the claims of the Peoples who inhabited the Americas for tens of thousands of years before first-contact is overwhelming. Their claim is as follows:
"The Indigenous Horse of the Americas survived the Ice-Age and many of the Native Peoples already had a relationship with these animals before the Europeans arrived in the Americas in the late 1400s. Upon the arrival of the Europeans, such as the Vikings, Spanish, Portuguese, English, and French, the Indigenous Horse of the Americas interbred with the wild horse of Europe.
Up until the present, pockets of these animals have continued to survive on Indian Reservations and surrounding wilderness, Federal lands, privately held lands in isolated areas, and with a dedicated group of Native and Non-Native preservationists. In total, we estimate that there are no more than a few thousand of these horses (a mixture of the indigenous horse of the Americas and the wild horse of Europe) remaining in the world (please read through our Publications section to learn more about this).
NATIVE HORSE CHARACTERISTICS
More than 100 Native American horses call Sacred Way Sanctuary their home. Each of these animals was carefully selected based upon their ancestral lineage, personal stories, physical characteristics, and spiritual capacity. Many of these horses have stripes on their legs and necks, a long stripe down their back from neck to tail (called a dorsal stripe) and sometimes, even striping on their side “like a zebra,” and “webbing” on their faces. Some have both spots and stripes, or paint colors and stripes. One type has curly, “singed” looking hair, which grows heavier in the winter.
Approximately half of our horses originated from the Native American tribal lines of the Southern United States, such as the Choctaw, Cherokee, and Chickasaw. We also have Native American horse lines such as the Lakota, Nakota, Cheyenne, Mayan, Kiowa, Apache, Ojibwe, Mohawk, Ute, and Pueblo.
Sacred Way is home to eight stallion bands of Native American horses.
In addition, we have two “herds” of unattached mares for female horses that are not interested in living in a traditional family group (due to older age or difficult personal experiences), or need more time to physically mature before being put into a traditional family dynamic. We also have a “herd” of male yearlings, a “herd” of female yearlings, and a group of weanlings that are adjusting to life apart from their parents and are awaiting new homes.
Each adult family herd consists of one stallion and no more than ten mares. Our horses have either come from semi-wild conditions or one or more of their parents was from large preserves where they could live in natural conditions that mirrored the wild.
Our horses are given the opportunity to CHOOSE their families and their mates – we do not choose for them.
Once a mare has chosen her stallion and family, she does not get “exchanged” or pulled out for breeding purposes. Her choice, and the bonds that she creates, are respected, for life. We never force any breeding and we do not measure success in a given year by the number of new foals.
We consider ourselves to be caretakers, not breeders.
Many of the lines in our herd are so rare at this point that they are “one of three” or “one of two” left at this time on Mother Earth.
Although it is often difficult to care for so many horses, given the miracles we have personally experienced and witnessed, if “we eat, they eat.” These animals were considered a most precious and sacred companion to our ancestors, as our ancestors understood that they held very special Medicine.
This Medicine is not lost, and it is not gone.