EQUUS - - Conformati­on Insights -

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.

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