Native Americans and the Horse
When we see pictures of Native Americans riding astride their horses its hard to imagine that it wasn't always this way. The horse lived in North America during prehistoric times, but became extinct there. It wasn't until European explorers, particularly the Spanish in the 16 th and 17 th centuries that the horse again was found in North America . Horses then spread north and west from what is now Texas and New Mexico , along established routes of trade and onto the plains. Eventually many tribes on the plains owned horses. The horse brought many immediate advantages to the people of the plains. They were able to travel farther and faster in their never ending quest for the buffalo they hunted which provided them with food, clothing and shelter. Many Plains tribes became expert horsemen and expanded their uses of horses from aides in hunting from carrying them in warfare to transporting people and their belongings from campsite to campsite.
Click on the photo below to see how the horse spread onto the plains (Time Life Books)