INDIAN PONIES AND CAYUSES
American artist George Catlin in the 1830s and in the next decade Swiss artist Karl Bodmer made numerous paintings of horses of the Colonial Spanish landrace in the possession of Native American tribes before these horses became mixed with English or French strains.
George Catlin, about 1835, portrayed a “Blackfoot Buffalo Hunt,” ( enlarged detail). This image very accurately conveys Colonial Spanish conformation. Note the undulating nasal profile, thick mane and tail, compact build, broad back, arched neck and hard sinewy legs.
Karl Bodmer’s “Blackfoot Man on Horseback” (1834) brings out the Oriental character of this excellent horse; nonetheless the Colonial Spanish landrace carries almost no Arabian ancestry. Great changes had occurred by 1910, when Edward Curtis took this photo of a Nez Percé man who agreed to pose in ancestral costume. The horse is a Cayuse. Note conformational details: The animal shows some Spanish character, with broad forehead, bright eye and undulating nasal profile. The neck is well-shaped and the legs correctly articulated and “dry.” However, the back is long, and the shoulder, chest and limbs are large and heavy, as in English and French strains. Assiniboine Chief Charlot was leader of the Montana Salish from 1870 to 1910. His horse, too, is a Cayuse showing a blend of Anglo, French and Spanish conformational features.