My parents have a small ranch in Western Nebraska where they raise and train horses. This is a picture of an Appaloosa called Lakota. My dad is an authority on Native American Horsemanship and chose the name to honor the extraordinary riders from the Buffalo Nation. By age four Sioux children had mastered riding and how to stand on a horse's bare back. As they grew stronger, the youngsters were taught to shoot arrows and practiced hitting targets from horseback.
Mastering such skills became invaluable to the horsemanship required to survive in later years. The Lakota Sioux were a nomadic tribe of plains Indians who relied almost completely on the bison herds to obtain the necessities of life. In 1823 Prince Frederick of Wurtemberg witnessed the hazardous Indian technique for hunting buffalo and was dully impressed:
"The Indians are extremely bold and daring riders. This is shown especially in their hunting of the buffalo. In this dangerous work it is often hard to say which has the greater skill, the rider or the horse. Since the Indian who manipulates the bow and arrow can not make use of the reins, he must leave the horse entirely to its own discretion. The animal must be carefully trained to approach the bison within a few paces. It must run close to the powerful and often angry bull, and must be ready at all times to evade with great swiftness the charges of the terrible opponent."