This geocache is part of the Gold Country GeoTour – The Prequel: Be A Guest. This GeoTour focuses on a step back in time to learn about before the Gold Rush ensued: languages of the region’s culturally diverse families, handed down traditions such as recipes, flora and fauna, historic sites of significance, and points of interest. These stories will help preserve the oral languages and traditions of the region as well as assist in educating visitors and locals alike to the cultural diversity and environmental sensitivity of the region.
Logan Lake’s Wild Horses
Traveling on the Highway 97C, close to Logan Lake British Columbia, you may get to spot one or many of the majestic wild horses that roam the hills and valleys surrounding this peaceful community. The horses here are considered Indigenous heritage breeds and are truly wild by the definition but are likely descendants from Canadian Horse stock. Just like the wild horses from the Brittany Triangle southwest of William Lake, the Logan Lake horses choose to live at a high elevation where climates are harsh.
There are several herds of wild horses living and roaming around Logan Lake, BC and often times can be seen while driving past the dam for the Teck copper mine. These herds will be out grazing and enjoying themselves in the sun on a pinnacle of land that juts out towards the west just before the Dam. With quite a few wild horses roaming the area, BC Highways have erected road signs of caution while driving. Evidence of their vast travels can be seen as piles of “fertilizer” at the edge and even on the highway that winds down the steep mountain side.
In western Canada, there is evidence of horses with isolated finds indicating there may have been horses here as recently as 3000-1000 years ago, about 500 years before the arrival of Europeans and the “re-introduction” of horses by the Spanish in the 1500’s. Horses have had critical roles in human civilizations for thousand of years. They helped early farmers work their fields, provided transportation that moved people faster and farther, and were used in battle to create a competitive advantage over their enemies. This led to an increased transfer of knowledge between societies, while allowing people to travel faster and farther than ever before.
Yvette Running Horse Collins, PhD Dissertation “The Relationship Between the Indigenous People of the Americas and the Horse: Deconstructing a Eurocentric Myth” is ground-breaking, and she is essentially re-writing the history books about historical and oral history of the horse in North America. The horse was here before the settlers. Collins' work disproves Spanish introduction of the horse to Native people. In her dissertation she has compiled a list of fossil and DNA evidence which dates after the supposed “extinction” period narrative. There is a lot of compelling data.
Every indigenous community that was interviewed by Collins reported having horses before the arrival of Europeans. As well, each community had a creation story of the horse. These communities did not speak the same language or have the same cultures or geographical areas, but the oral histories told all were aligned, each sharing when the horse was gifted by the Creator to the people it was a spiritual event. Indigenous people have always had a relationship with the horse.
In the 1830’s paleontology pioneer Joseph Leidy unearthed horse skeletons in America. They were dated to be the oldest found in the world. With growing genetic evidence, it is becoming more and more clear to the scientific community that modern horses are native and descendants of ice-age grandsires. The modern genus Equus horse had evolved and adapted to semiarid grasslands as the climate cooled 4 million years ago. Equus ferus, today’s horses, have probably descended from a population that had likely taken advantage of land bridges spreading throughout Eurasia and North America.
Studies available to read and review on the Cloud Foundation’s website indicate that the DNA analysis of the horse found in 2009 in the permafrost in the Yukon showed variation that was within that of modern horses (as recently as 7,600 years ago) – both of the Ice Age horses of the Americas were the same species as the horses the Spanish introduced to North America in the 1500’s. Instead of Spanish horses repopulating North America, they simply added new blood to the herds already here. As time marches on, new scientific discoveries keep pushing the wild horses supposed extinction date closer to the present time, making it clear that there was probably no extinction at all.
In 1642 the French explorer, La Verendrye, went to find the People of the Horse. He thought his quest would take him to the Western (Chine) Sea, but his trail led to a Lakota tribe in Wyoming. Here Lakota tribal elders were interviewed. According to these Elders, the aboriginal pony was small, about 13 hands high and had a 'strait' back requiring a different saddle from that used on European horses. They had wider nostrils and larger lungs so that its endurance was well-known. They stated that “One breed had a long mane, and shaggy (curly) hair, while another had a 'singed mane'."
The Curly horse was very well adapted to the cold North American winters that killed previous other breeds of horses. A quote from a Lakota man on the Bad Warrior Curly Horse web page states: “These horses (Curlies) were raised by the Indians as far back as anyone can remember," said Young Eagle. "Most of them were dark in color with hair ‘singed.’ Hence their name, which is Sung-gu-gu-la, literally translating to ’horses with burnt hair.’ “
Regardless of when these fantastic animals arrived in North America, they were and still are very much an important part of indigenous culture and heritage. So, while you’re driving through the area of Gold Country, BC you may get to see some of the wild horses that roam the hills of the Logan Lake area.
Secwépemc: nekllts’e7sqéxe7 or nts’e7sqéxe7 (horse), tscwémqen (roan horse)
Nłeʔkepmxcin: q̓ʷmíw̓s (wild horses), stpáʕpeʕtxʷ (grey horse)
Tsilhqot'in: našlhiny (horse)
Northern St̓át̓imcets (Fraser River): ts̓qáxa7 (horse), or sq̓yalcw (pinto horse, horse with patch colour), tseqwlím̓ (chestnut colour horse, reddish brown horse)
Nsyilxcən: kewap (horse)
Líl̓wat: ts̓qáxa7 (horse)
Researched and written by Lana Rae Brooks
Get Informed — The Cloud Foundation
Bad Warrior Curly horse pictures | All Horse Breeds