Subject:      Re: precolumbian Amerindian horse?
From: (Yuri Kuchinsky)
Date:         1997/09/20
Message-ID:   <601900$48$>
Newsgroups:   sci.archaeology,rec.equestrian,alt.native

Jess ([22] wrote:

: I heard it was Appaloosas also.  I also heard that the "principal
: reason" Native Americans rode these horses was because they
: thought that multi-colored horses were lucky.  In fact, I don't
: even think one can say Native Americans in general, because I
: thought it was a specific tribe that favored the Appaloosa
: breed.  I can't remember the name of the tribe right now...
: would have to dig through my class notes.

Hi, Jess,

Yes, the Appaloosas are quite interesting. Apparently they are well
attested in ancient Asia, and in China. But how did they get to America?
Here are some quotes from an article available at 

under "History."

           Ancient cave drawings dating
           as far back as 20,000 years ago in
           what is now France depict spotted
           horses, as do later detailed images in
           Asian and Chinese art.

The Indians that were associated with them are the Nez Perce. They had
these hroses, and were expert horse breeders way before the Europeans came
to their areas.

           The Nez Perce and Palouse tribes of
           Washington, Oregon and Idaho
           became especially sophisticated
           horsemen and their mounts, which
           included many spotted individuals,
           were prized and envied by other tribes.
           Historians believe they were the first
           tribes to breed selectively for specific
           traits - such as intelligence, speed and
           endurance - keeping the best and
           trading or gelding those that were less

Another article on that webpage says:

           The Nez Perce Indians
           acquired them about 1730. They bred
           this horse nearly pure, with few
           outcrosses. Lewis and Clark said in
           their journal that the Appaloosa was
           "equal to and surpassing anything we
           had seen in the pastures of Virginia".

So the big questions are, Did the Spanish bring these horses to America at
all? They generally preferred Barbs. And would there have been enough time
for the Nez Perce to learn to preserve this pure breed in such a short
time, even assuming the 1730 date is correct. Is it possible that they may
have had this horse before? The interesting thing is that this horse is
known at the earliest time mostly from the Pacific North-West, where other
indications of contacts with China are known.

Anyway, I also found another good site on the WWW with info about all
sorts of horses: 

Best wishes,


Yuri Kuchinsky in Toronto -=O=- [25]

It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than
to put out on the troubled seas of thought -=O=- John K. Galbraith

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