Horses did not exist in America until the Spaniards brought them in the 16th century. It was over 100 years before the Indians had them. At first the Indians were terrified of the horse, but later they became the best horsemen in the world.
When the first horses arrived they looked like very wonderful and magical dogs that could carry a lot of stuff. That is why many Plains Indians called horses “sacred dogs”.
In a very short time Plains Indians learned to be expert riders. Along with hunting they learned to use the horses to make war and go on raids. They could go much farther than they ever could on foot and arrive rested and able to fight. The tribes who learned how to use horses first and fast had a huge advantage over other tribes. They quickly pushed other tribes out of their former territories and expanded their territories. Tribes like the Comanche and Cheyenne who had horses and knew how to use them first pushed other tribes like the Apache, Wichita and Tonkawa south and west off the plains. The Apache who now live in New Mexico and in Old Mexico used to live way up in the Texas panhandle and north of Texas. Bands of Comanche warriors on horseback were powerful and feared by everyone – Indians and Europeans.
Picture Credit : Google