VIDEO: Indian Horse Relay at Canterbury Park

“It’s similar to NASCAR with pit stops.”

Edgar Linares
August 22, 2018 - 8:33 pm

By Edgar Linares

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A competition among American Indians of the Great Plains that dates back more than 400 years begins this week at Canterbury Park. This will be the sixth year of the Indian Horse Relay.

“It is amazing and fun to watch,” said Jeff Maday, Media Relations Manager at Canterbury Park. “These kids, the riders, the whole teams are very athletic.”

The race features 15 of the top teams in the country representing various American Indian nations. The teams consist of three horses and four “warriors.” They have one rider, one holder, one set-up man, and one mugger who catches the horses.

“I grew up riding since I was three or four,” said Chris Carlson, one of the riders. “I’ve been competing since I was 16…16 years ago!”

Chris is a member of one of the 15 teams representing various American Indian nations. The riders dress in full regalia and will race bareback around the mile-long track and exchange horses at top speeds.

“It’s similar to NASCAR with pit stops,” said Andrew Vig, one of the organizers. Vig says the races typically run through the summer.

 

“They start in the spring time and end in the fall. Across the Great Plains, Montana, Idaho, Washington, North Dakota, South Dakota. They’ve been running these circuits, I would say for 100 years,” he said.

The races date back 400 years when horses became an integral part of the cultures of Indians of Great Plains. Tribes depended on horses for hunting, transportation, and safety.

The races also help young people on many reservations connect with their cultural, heritage and traditions through horses.

The races begin Thursday and run through Saturday at Canterbury Park:

Thursday, August 23

Racing begins at 6:30 p.m.

Relay races at 7:45 p.m. and 9:35 p.m.; youth race at 9 p.m.

Friday, August 24

Racing begins at 6:30 p.m.
Relay races at 7:45 p.m. and 9:35 p.m.; youth race at 9 p.m.

Saturday, August 25

Racing begins at 6 p.m.

Youth race at 8:55 p.m.; Indian Horse Relay Championships at 9:30 p.m.