The Nokota Horse is a rare breed that originated in the Little Missouri badlands of southwest North Dakota.
DNA data suggests that the Nokota are descended from ranch and Indian stock from the 20th century, which had completely disappeared by the 1950s.
If you are thinking about adding one of these horses to your stable, here is everything you need to know about them, so keep reading for more information on the Nokota Horse!
Nokota Horse Breed Info
Here are some of the key things you need to know about the Nokota Horse:
|Height (size)||14.0 – 16.0 hands high|
|Colors||Most commonly blue roan, but also black and gray, red (strawberry), bay, brown, and chestnut roan, dun and grullo. Some have overo or sabino patterns with blue eyes, which is rare in Indian horse breeds.|
|Country of Origin||United States of America (North Dakota)|
|Common Uses||Endurance, Western disciplines, dressage, jumping, packing, trail riding, equine therapy|
Nokota Horse Facts & Information (Breed Profile)
The Nokota Horse is derived from American Indian ponies and ranch stock who escaped, or were set free, and sought safety in the labyrinthine Little Missouri River Badlands.
The Lakota Sioux were very proud of their horses, and bred them based on their qualities and traits that they thought would make a good horse.
The Lakota Hunkpapa band in particular were famous for their horses and horse breeds like the blue roan war horses.
They relied heavily on these warhorses, who were also highly valued for their strength when clashing with cavalry horses.
The Lakota would refer to the year 1876 as “The Year We Lost Our Horses” because although winning the Battle of the Little Bighorn, they would soon lose their horses to the U.S. Army.
When Hunkpapa Teton Sioux leader and medicine man Sitting Bull surrendered to the US Army at Fort Buford in 1881 in return for amnesty for his people, the Native American-bred war horses were taken from the Hunkpapa.
The horses were then sold to the fort’s traders, and many were dispersed through public sales.
However, a French aristocrat and a pioneer rancher in North Dakota named Marquis de Mores, took interest in these horses and purchased 250 of them.
It was Marquis who founded the town of Medora, the gateway to what is now the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
After the Marquis’ death in 1896, the ranch foreman gathered up the horses and sold them.
Those that weren’t caught wandered off into the badlands.
The horses in the badlands were accidentally penned in while the Theodore Roosevelt National Park was being formed, and when the National Park Service started removing them from the property, the Kuntz brothers got involved.
They noticed that these park horses had a distinct appearance different to modern breeds, and a uniform conformation.
In the 1980s, Frank and Leo Kuntz of Linton, North Dakota, started purchasing the horses to protect them from being slaughtered or crossbred.
Around the year 1990, they started referring to them as Nokotas, a name that was a reference to their North Dakotan roots.
There are now over 1,000 Nokota Horses in the United States.
To assist in re-establishing the Sioux horse culture, the Nokota Horse Conservancy runs an outreach program that works with local Sioux tribes.
If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating breed, keep reading!
Intelligent, easy to train
The head is medium in size with a straight or slightly concave profile.
The shoulders are sloped, and the front end is V-shaped.
The withers are prominent.
The croup is somewhat sloped, and the tail is set low.
They have strong and large bones, legs and hooves.
Many individuals have feathered fetlocks.
They mature slowly.
Overall they are athletic, agile, sure-footed and versatile horses.
They tend to be very sound, and have great stamina.
They are a gaited breed, and can perform an ambling gait called Indian Shuffle (a four-beat intermediate movement).
There are two general types of Nokota horses: the Traditional Nokota and Ranch-type Nokota.
Typically standing between 14.0 and 15.0 hands, the traditional Nokota is smaller and more refined, and resembles the Colonial Spanish horses.
Many are used as breeding stock, and also for endurance riding and Western riding disciplines.
Standing about 16.0 hands high or higher, the Ranch-type is bigger, and it resembles the early Quarter horses.
Ranch-type Nokotas are used for various equestrian sports like dressage, fox hunting, jumping, but also as pack horses and trail riding.
Most commonly blue roan, but also black and gray, red (strawberry), bay, brown, and chestnut roan, dun and grullo.
Some have overo or sabino patterns with blue eyes, which is rare in Indian horse breeds.
14.0 – 16.0 hands high
Endurance, Western disciplines, dressage, jumping, packing, trail riding, equine therapy
A gaited breed with great stamina
Country of Origin
United States of America (North Dakota)
Native American Ponies, Thoroughbred, Spanish colonial horses, draft and harness bred horses from the 19th century