Native American Breeds: American Indian Horse


The American Indian Horse Registry (AIHR) considers all horses of native legacy as American Indian Horses, regardless of their breed. To the AIHR, their history and origins link each one together. “There are different strains of the American Indian Horse around the country, such as the Marsh Tacky from South Carolina, the Nokota from North Dakota and the Florida Cracker,” says Nancy Falley, spokesperson for the registry. “Breeds such as the Appaloosa and Quarter Horse were descended from the American Indian Horse, so they are all eligible too.” Because this is a large group of breeds, the registry distinguishes horses through five classes of registration, which is determined through photographic inspections.

Despite variations between the breeds, Falley says American Indian Horses share similar characteristics. They generally have long, lean muscling and are not usually heavy, although the Northern-bred horses have developed to be heavier than Southern-bred horses because of the climate. Their heads usually have a straight profile, although roman noses are sometimes found. Horses should be hardy and sure-footed. The American Indian Horse is versatile in both English and western pursuits but shines on the trail. All colors are found, and heights range according to breed and classification.

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This article originally appeared in the June 2011 issue of Horse Illustrated. Click here to subscribe!


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