Native American ability to connect with animals spiritually inspires with its awesome simplicity. Native Americans weave strands of all life together in a tapestry that does not easily unravel.

Perhaps one of the most lasting impressions of how thoroughly and courageously humans and animals can blend their spirits and hearts came when Native Americans began their centuries-long relationship with horses.

Horses evolved on the American continent about a million years ago into Equus caballus, an ancient ancestor to the modern day horse. Archeological evidence suggests that horses migrated across land bridges to Europe and Asia. Ten thousand years ago, Equus went extinct in the western world but found its way into the deserts of the Middle East, the mountains of the Far East, and the jungles of Africa.

According to the Native American Newsletter “Buffalo Trails,” before horses were reintroduced to the Americas, there were rare sightings of a few of their ancestors. These became known as the Curlie Horse. The Sioux revered the Curlie Horse as mysterious or mystical.

Ultimately Native Americans fell in love with Equus, domesticating horses and coming to rely on them for hunting, warfare, and moving from place to place over the vast plains of the Midwest and South. Historians believe that the Comanches first recognized how important horses could be to their survival and put them to the greatest use.

Paintings survive that show Native American warriors dressed for battle with their war ponies painted the same patterns and colors as their own faces and bodies. The horse and the man were as one, a formidable force adorned identically with symbols such as zigzag lines to represent lightning and circles around the eyes to improve both the horse’s and human’s vision.

Native Americans found strength in horses and connected with them at deeply spiritual levels. It appears to have been destiny for them to take their relationships with horses beyond that of using animals merely as “beasts of burden” into one in which human and horse spirits joined as one.

What is your relationship with horses?

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network — Where Pets Are Family

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