Indian Horse Relay showcases Native American horse athletes
Thursday, September 14 2017
Written by Photos &text courtesy of Shakopee mdewakanton sioux community,
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High-speed American Indian bareback relay racing was on display at Canterbury Park August 24-26 in Shakopee, Minn. The event was presented by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC).

Relay teams consisted of three horses and four warriors. Riders in full regalia raced bareback down the track and exchanged horses at high speeds.

The Indian Horse Relay at Canterbury Park began in 2013 when the SMSC was invited to the Apsaalooke Crow Nation to see their Native American horse racing event. The SMSCís Mystic Lake Casino Hotel partnered with Canterbury Park in 2012, bringing the sport to life in the areaís largest horse racing venue.

Native American music and dancing was held between races each night. Performances included SMSC Royalty, a traditional Native American drum group, and others.

For more information on Indian Horse Relay races, visit:


orses are often painted for Indian Horse Relays to match the teamsí colors.  The horse is an important part of Native American culture. Referred to as the Horse Nation,  horses have a way of bringing Native people from all walks of life together. In an Indian Horse Relay race, riders make exchanges with the help of their teammates. But with so many  variables, plenty can go wrong--from flipped riders to loose horses running the track. Rider Dani Buffalo Jr., representing Holds the Enemy from the Crow Nation, executes a smooth exchange during the race.

The rain and drizzle didn't slow down JT Longfeather, rider for the Long Feather team from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The team showed talent and determination and placed fourth in the consolation relay. The championship race on Saturday night finished in dramatic fashion, with a video replay between Brew Crew, from the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and Tissidimit, from the  Sho-Ban Tribes. While Brew Crew (middle) appeared to have claimed the title, pulling ahead of Tissidimit by inches on the last stretch, the team was disqualified due to a rider infraction, leaving the crown to the Tissimidit team (left).

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