Horse

The arrival of the HORSE had great impact on Native American life, especially on the Plains. Here, the land was well suited to the development of a nomadic lifestyle, which revolved around the horse. Using horses, the Plains people were able to hunt more buffalo, to travel greater distances, and to trade with more people than ever before. However, they had to move camp more often to find food and they always had to look out for horse thieves. Horses appear often in the art and ceremonies of the plains nations. The Ogallala Sioux used horses in a type of religious ceremony called Horse Dance, which revolved around a vision quest inside a sweat lodge. Four groups of four horses and riders decorated and painted themselves to represent the four cardinal directions, and then surrounded the sweat lodge. When the sweat ended, the horses were rubbed down with sage and the participant gave thanks for the vision experienced and for the horses.

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