I’d like to introduce Heart of Passion’s next two horses: Cloud Maker and Grizzly Stomper.
Both horses in the story are modeled after the amazing American Running Quarter Horse.
They are fast.
Everything a relay jockey desires.
Horse racing has always been a large part of Native American culture. It is generally agreed by historians that the Spanish brought the horse to the new world in the 1500s. These horses were a mixture of Barb, Arabian, and Andalusian blood and were considered the best horses in the world at that time.
In fact, Spanish Barb horses obtained from the Chickasaws were crossed with the Colonists’ English stock as early as 1611. Over the next 150 years, the product of this breeding would come to be known as the “Celebrated American Quarter Running Horse.” The term “Quarter” refers to the distance, a quarter of a mile, most commonly run in Colonial racing, often on the main streets of small villages.
Before the coming of the horse, Indian tribes had used dogs to carry small portable shelters and packs. Horses allowed them to carry poles and hides for tipis, making traveling easier.
Hunting even took on a different form. Before Indians used horses, they hunted with traps and snares and by running a herd of game over a cliff. After the arrival of the horse, American Indians hunted from horseback, allowing additional game to be harvested.
Horse stealing between tribes became the number one sport for many tribes and was considered an honorable way for young warriors to gain experience and fame. Horses meant wealth to various tribes and were used for barter and gifts. If fact, when I was married my husband gave my father horses, beads, and a Pendleton blanket, albeit the horses and beads were toys. The blanket; however, was authentic. Everyone had a good laugh over the gesture.
In addition, many religious ceremonies were based on the horse and its contribution to the life of the Indian.
On and surrounding the Colville Tribe, the setting of the True to Heart Trilogy, horses are honored in historical times as they are now. Many of the horses retain the old Spanish Barb bloodlines in their American Quarter Horse Breeding and that is why I chose the models and bloodlines of some of the horses in this series. Historically speaking, Indian Relay did not happen in Spupaleena’s time, but like any quizzical author one must ask, “What if…”
In Heart of Passion, I chose horses with sturdy bones, large hooves, and mountain savvy. While today’s horses must possess beauty in the competition world, horses in the 1800s were not as friendly to the eye. They were bread for durability and endurance. They had to told-up for the semi-nomadic lifestyle of the people and in times of war.
Cloud Maker is a bay horse which describes color, not breed, with a brown body and black mane and tail. His markings include raindrops that represent the fierceness of a storm and a fire arrow at his shoulder for strength. His body type embodies that of a Running Quarter Horse. He is confident, powerful, and witty with bright eyes that see his competitors clearly.
Cloud Maker’s owner/rider is Wolf or Incheechun in the Arrow Lakes dialect of the Interior Salish language. His face may appear soft, his eyes trusting, but this young man has an ingrained bloodthirst for winning as his lineage has a long line of champions.
Both jockeys in the story reside in the traditional Arrow Lakes area south of the 49th parallel on Kelly Hill near Kettle Falls, WA.
Grizzly Stomper is also of the running quarter horse bloodline but he is chestnut in color. His bones are as strong as the trunk of a fir tree. He bursts off the start line with hurricane force and can last for miles. The grizzly on his rump represents strength and endurance. The thunder stripes running down his foreleg exemplifies power, and the circle around his nostril is so he can smell danger.
Grizzly Stomper’s owner/rider is Five Horses or Cheelkst Kawup in the Arrow Lakes dialect of the Interior Salish language. He is as rugged as he looks, is bold, and clever. He comes from a long line of healers and racing horses is strong medicine for him.
After some time, racers began to line up as their teammates were at least half a mile and a mile away at the exchange locations with a second and third mount in wait. Horses snorted and pranced. Riders glanced at one another and shook their heads. A few seemed up for the challenge. They sat tall, their gazes ahead as though ready.
Bear pawed. Spupaleena rubbed the base of his neck with her cold fingers and tried to imagine smooth exchanges. Purple. It was the color she needed to search for in the sea of tan buckskin.
Thankfully, the snow slowed its descent. Spupaleena held a palm up and grinned. Perhaps we will have a safe ride after all.
Two of the five teams who had shown up for this new type of race stood to her right. One they called Incheechun, Wolf, and was adorned in orange. His horse, Cloud Maker stood tall. The bay with a large, ugly head had orange rain painted on his rump. The other named, Cheelkst Kawup, Five Horses, wore dark brown. His chestnut, Grizzly Stomper, had a dark brown grizzly paw dyed on his hind end. Her tummy twirled as the frigid air she sucked in burned her lungs. A cousin lifted an arm over his head and nodded, indicating her team members were in place. Let me find it…! She squeezed the hemp rope rein, her fingers red as Indian paintbrush wildflowers.
“Purple, purple… I search for you,” Spupaleena whispered in a sing-song tune. One she had sung to Sun Flower. Before…
Heart of Passion, Coming October of 2019