Subject: Re: Indian horses From: email@example.com (Yuri Kuchinsky) Date: 1997/09/23 Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Newsgroups: sci.archaeology,rec.equestrian,soc.history,alt.native Greetings, In this post I will try to reply to some recent questions and criticisms re: what I said about the Indian ponies. Contrary to some critics, the problem of the derivation of the Indian pony seems far from settled to me. Here is again a quote I already gave from THE INDIAN AND THE HORSE, 1955, by Frank Gilbert Roe, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. There is one problem that may never be solved. It would be of immense interest and value, both to the historical student and to the zoologist more purely, to learn what agglomeration of European, Asiatic, or Hispano-American breeds combined to produce the wild or "Indian" pony of the North American continent, with its hang-dog appearance so little suggestive of its almost inexhaustible stamina, and its inescapable "pinto" coloration. (p. 135) So this seems pretty clear to me. The next question, What kind of a horse exactly was (and still is, as this horse is still around) an Indian pony? Was it really different from the typical Spanish horse of early colonial times as we know them? The answer, again, seems pretty clear. It was very different. Colour (pinto, or piebald) was one big difference. Another was the size, it was smaller. But also the typical large head, the "hang-dog appearance" as mentioned by Roe above. For those who want to know how the Indian pony really looked like, please take a look at the photos and drawings supplied by Roe in his book. How can anyone deny that these horses look very different from the typical Spanish horse? Beats me... This type of a pony seems to have clear links, and to be closely related, to "the ancient type" of the Old World horse, and not to the highly bred and very special horses favoured by the Spanish. Roe quoted (and, again, I already gave this quote previously) from a noted authority on American horse, Francis D. Haines (THE APPALOOSA HORSE, 1951), Haines has very skilfully summarized a mass of evidence tending to support his conclusions that the ancestors of the Appaloosa reach back in a very similar (and readily identifiable) form and colouring to a great antiquity across an enormous Eurasiatic territory, stretching from far eastern China to the Adriatic. (p. 153) This conclusion by Haines is extremely important. Haines clearly thinks that the Indian pony derived from the Asian (or old Eurasian) horse somehow. And here's another quote I gave previously: There is also a small and very ancient breed which was indigenous to Europe in prehistoric times, the Polish "Konink". This creature ... certainly presents a very striking resemblance to the Indian pony in its disproportionately large, hang-dog head...(p. 139) This is the evidence that I have readily on hand. Sure it can be contradicted, but why would anyone want to contradict it? These are very clear photos of the traditional Indian pony indeed... So what kinds of horses were favoured by the Spanish? Here's a new quote from Roe: The pinto does not appear to have been any favourite with the Spaniards; and their contempt -- unlike many Spanish prejudices -- was evidently shared by the Portuguese. Cunninghame Graham cites a native (i.e. Portuguese) proverb of the district of O Sertao, in the Brazilian states of Hahia, Ceara, and Piauhy, which breeds a distinctive horse of its own. This is to the effect that a piebald or pinto (pedrez) "was made by God to carry packs." Both nations may very probably have taken over their dislike from the Arabs, together with the Arab horses. For the Arabs had disliked them, possibly for centuries; for which reason, most probably -- among such careful breeders -- a spotted Arabian horse is very rare. (p. 144) Also this, ... [Cunninghame Graham] states that creams or piebalds are not true descendants of the Hispano-Arabian imports of the Conquistadores (p. 144, n. 26) [As a side-note, the prejudice against pintos was also shared among white Americans in the Old West. As Roe writes, Dobie says: "Range men in America ... have never had much use for paint horses"; and he quotes Wyatt Earp, a well- known plainsman, to this effect: "I have never known a paint horse that knew anything himself." (p. 170, citing Dobie, ed., MUSTANGS AND COW HORSES, 247)] Roe describes the typical Spanish horses of the early colonial times as ... the semi-Arab "breed of Cordoba", of which the "Andalusian horse" would seem to have been a purely local division, not otherwise divergent. (p. 143) Here's more, from Roe, on the very pronounced difference between the North and the South American horses in later times. Pintos were rare in Uruguay, almost unknown in Argentina... (p. 144, n. 26, quoting Denhardt, HORSE OF THE AMERICAS, 164, 171) On the other hand, In the Northern Plains area the Indian pony is almost typically a pinto. (p. 144) This difference should be very indicative that the problem of the pinto coloration of the Indian pony is certainly not so easy to understand. Why would there be such a huge difference? Isn't it pretty clear that the Spanish horses that originally went out from the earliest Caribbean islands Spanish ranches to the American mainland, both to the South, and to the North America, should have been exactly the same? Yes, some people remarked that the Spanish also had some pinto horses in Spain very early on. But why did these pintos never get to the S. America, but somehow ended up in N. America? This is the question. It is very clear to me that horses from some other sources contributed to make the Indian pony the way it became. So far I have not seen any other such sources mentioned by our critics... In any case, I don't wish to embark on some kind of a lonely crusade against many critics here. I think I presented adequate evidence that some serious problem areas in this history of the horse in America exist. Some people wish to deny this? You're welcome to deny it... Clearly, I'm calling for a reevaluation of some "received truths, held by many" in this area, and this sort of a reevaluation will not be pleasing to a large number of people. It would not be at all surprising that many people, both experts and amateurs, will be defending their long established preconceptions in this area. I'm not providing many answers in this research so far. All I do is ask some questions that seem relevant to me. Best wishes to all, Yuri. Yuri Kuchinsky in Toronto -=O=- http://www.io.org/~yuku 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. 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