American Indian Horse Facts And Information – Breed Profile

The American Indian Horse is also called buffalo horse or cow pony. Mustang, Indian pony, Cayuse, or Spanish pony are the other names of this breed.

American Indian Horse (Mustang)


The predecessors of the American Indian horses originally were brought to the United States by the Spanish people. They were then obtained by the Native Americans and as a result, the Indian horse culture started to rise. The native Americans also shared a special relationship with this breed of horse.

The Native American people domesticated the American Indian Horse and used them to transport materials and for travel purposes. They worshiped these horses as if they were God.

These horses changed their lives in numerous ways. Their hunting improved due to these horses which could run fast and kill specific targets.

The tribes allowed the horses to roam freely on their land. Horse grazing cleaned up their lands and supported the healthy growth of vegetation. These horses were regarded as a token of strength and wealth by the Native Americans.

Because of their importance, there were feuds related to horse stealing. Young men often stole horses of another tribe to show their valor and courage.


These horses are sturdy and durable. Their temperaments can vary according to their bloodlines. They are hardy and surefooted. These horses are also intelligent and friendly animals. These horses have a wild and independent temperament.

These horses are low maintenance, and they can survive on their own. They can be easily trained and respond well to commands given by humans. These horses can survive harsh climatic conditions. They can ride long distances without any injuries. Some of these horses are gaited.

These horses can sense danger and respond appropriately. They are very brave and tolerate adversities well.


They feed on a normal horse diet like grass and hay. These horses do not require any special food.

Breeding And Uses

Native Americans used these horses for war, travel, hunting, and religious ceremonies.

The American Indian Horse Registry was set up in 1961. The purpose of this registry was to preserve, collect and record the pedigrees of these horses.

This registry is situated near Lockhart, Texas. There is a library related to the history of American Indian horse along with this registry. Draft horse breeding is not allowed.


The American Indian Horses grow up to a height of around 13 to 16 hands. Their weight varies between 700 and 1000 pounds (0.45 t).

What Breeds Make Up The American Indian Horse?

All Indian horses are referred to as the American Indian horse. These horses have Arabian and Andalusian ancestors. Breeds such as Spanish Barb, Appaloosa, and Mustang have contributed to the lineage of the American Indian.

They are registered under five categories:

Class O

The horses belonging to this category have a recorded pedigree chart that can trace their original bloodlines. The horse’s direct bloodline connection can be traced to one of the American Indian tribes. These horses can also be traced to the Spanish Mustang Registry and Southwest Spanish Mustang Association.

Class AA

The horses in this category are older than 4 years. At least one of their parent is from Class O. Some Bureau of Land Management horses fulfill these criteria.

Class A

The pedigrees of horses belonging to this category are not known. But they fulfill the breed criteria. Most BLM horses fall in this category.

Class M

These horses have modern bloodlines. Their registered parents belong to breeds that are considered descendants of the original class of horses by the American Horse Registry. These include horses such as American Paint Horses, American Quarter Horses, and Appaloosas. This category also includes horses belonging to various color breed registries such as palomino or pinto horses.

Class P

The horses of this category may be of unknown ancestry but have proper characteristics. Their ancestors can belong to the Pony of the Americas or Galiceno.


This breed is seen in a range of colors. The colors vary from single strong colors to appaloosa spotted.

There are a lot of variations in the coat colors of this breed. These horses are found in roans, grullas, palominos, and pinto color patterns.

These horses can also be found in rare colors and patterns like peacock spotted leopard and overano paint. They also have unique markings like varnish marks, leg striping, lightning marks, and line-backing on their coats.

What Do They Look Like?

It has a well-built body and straight strong legs. They have plenty of fetlocks and body hair. They have strong and healthy hooves. These horses have Spanish traits like a heavy neck, an angled croup, and a low tail set.

They have a concentrated bone structure in the body. They have a wide forehead that tapers down to the skull. The ears are lean and may be short or long. Their eyes have different tones like amber, brown, blue, green, and gray.

What Are They Used For?

The Native Americans used American Indian horses as beasts of burden, warhorses, and stock horses. At present, they are used in Gymkhana speed events. They are also raced in western-style classes in horse shows. They are also suitable for work on the ranch.

These horses have the following uses:

  • Show horses
  • Agriculture animals
  • Cow horses
  • Riding horses
  • Pleasure riding
  • Trail riding

Where Do They Live?

These horses are natives of North America. They are found throughout America.

How Long Do They Live?

They don’t have many health problems and can live up to 35 to 40 years. Some of them can live beyond 40 years.

How Fast Are They?

These horses have good stamina and they run fast.

How Much Do They Cost?

Their cost varies according to their bloodlines. They can cost anywhere between a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.

Are They Good For Beginners?

They are trustworthy and good with children. Beginners can easily handle them.

The sturdy horse makes life easier for its owner. These simple, strong horses are easy to look after, and they work hard for your family.

There’s a whole world of horse breeds out there to explore! Discover and find out more information by checking out our horse breed guides.