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Horses in the Southwest

Navajo and Apache rock paintings and petroglyphs of horses. Photo courtesy of Evelyn Billo and Robert Mark, Rupestrian CyberServices.

Navajo and Apache rock paintings and petroglyphs of horses. Photo courtesy of Evelyn Billo and Robert Mark, Rupestrian CyberServices.

Archaeology Southwest Magazine Vol. 18, No. 3
Free PDF download of this issue

Issue editor: Tobi Lopez Taylor, Archaeology Southwest (formerly the Center for Desert Archaeology)

Catalysts for change: horses have affected almost every aspect of life in the Southwest since their reintroduction in the sixteenth century. They were integral to the investigation of the area first by Spaniards, and later by American explorers, immigrants, and soldiers. Native Americans, too, found horses useful and, eventually, indispensable. Nearly 500 years after Coronado’s entrada, the Southwest remains horse country, with thriving ranches, rodeo circuits, racing, and horse shows. And because of the area’s long identification as a land of cowboys, ranching, and mustangs, movies and tourism brochures continue to emphasize this aspect of the Southwest.

What is it about the horse that has made it such a symbol of the Southwest for nearly half a millennium? Elizabeth Atwood Lawrence, an anthropologist who looks at horse-human interactions, writes that, “It is not difficult to understand why the figure of a man on a horse has throughout history been a sign of conquest… Of all animals the horse is uniquely suited to represent, and demonstrate through constant recapitulation, the conquest of the wild – the extension of culture into nature.”

Articles include:

Horses in the Southwest — Tobi Taylor and William H. Doelle, Center for Desert Archaeology

Ice Age Horses of Arizona and Sonora — Jim I. Mead, Northern Arizona University

The Indian Adoption of Spanish Horses — Diana Hadley, Office of Ethnohistorical Research, Arizona State Museum

The Spanish Barb

The Coronado Project

San Martin Caballero: Patron Saint of Horsemen — Tobi Taylor, Center for Desert Archaeology

Horses in Navajo and Apache Rock Art — Lawrence Loendorf, New Mexico State University

Horses in Chiricahua and Western Apache Culture — Alan Ferg, Arizona State Museum

Horses in Archaeological Sites — Tobi Taylor, Center for Desert Archaeology

Roads and Tracks: Horse Trails in the Southwest — Tobi Taylor, Center for Desert Archaeology

The Fort Huachuca Cavalry — J. Homer Thiel, Desert Archaeology, Inc.

Heritage and Homesteads: Pima County’s Commitment to Ranch Conservation — Linda Mayro, Pima County Cultural Resources Office

Barns in the Desert — Tobi Taylor, Center for Desert Archaeology

The Roots of Rodeo — Tobi Taylor, Center for Desert Archaeology

The Navajo Saddle Cinch Revival — Tobi Taylor, Center for Desert Archaeology

Ruidoso and Rillito: Storied Racetracks of the Southwest — Sandra McCoy Larson, Office of the Arizona State Auditor General and Tobi Taylor

Back Sight — William H. Doelle, Center for Desert Archaeology

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