American Indian horse

Published on March 26, 2014 by Amy

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American Indian Horse
American Indian Horse

The American Indian Horse is any horse of Spanish origin that has evolved to adapt to a particular environment within North America, with or without breeding from humans. The title American Indian Horse does not refer to one specific breed; rather, it applies to any breed that has proved itself capable of withstanding a distinct ecotone, whether it be the high plains of the Midwest or the low swamplands of the South.

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The diverse nature of the “American Indian horse” results in a range of historical origins. Its earliest origin is from the Arabian breed that was imported to Spain, then bred with Barb and Andalusian stock to become the Iberian horses which were brought over to the Americas by the conquistadors in the 16th century.

The American Indian Horse Registry, established in 1961, has created five categories in which to group the horse:

  • Class A are those with unknown pedigrees, such as Bureau of Land Management horses
  • Class AA have at least a 50 percent traceable pedigree to distinct American Indian tribe horses
  • Class M horses have modern type breed blood, such as Quarter Horse and Appaloosa.
  • Class O horses are those horses which follow a distinct bloodline that follows back to specific Indian tribes
  • Class P is reserved for ponies of Indian type.
  • Breed characteristics

    There is no single characteristic typical of this type, because the American Indian Horse Registry has not just one single breed or stock but is rather a group that has developed over time in the Americas from Spanish stock. At the most general, the American Indian Horse stands between 13 and 15 hands high and comes in any color from solid to lilac roan or peacock spotted leopard. It does not have small feet in comparison to the body structure, overly muscled/fat body style of the ‘modern’ horse breeds or overly straight legs.

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