The AIHR was established in 1961 for the purpose of collecting, recording and preserving the pedigrees of American Indian Horses. The Registry is currently housed at Rancho San Francisco near Lockhart, Texas together with a collection of Western and Indian Americana and a library pertaining to the history of the American Indian Horse.

There are 5 classifications of registration within AIHR:

  • Class 0 horses are not bred to conform to popular current standards, but to preserve original bloodlines of native American Indian tribes. Class 0 horses registered since 1979 have bloodlines that trace back to various American Indian tribes and families. (Most horses registered with the SMR, SSMA, SBBA as well as other “Mustang” registries, qualify for 0 classification.)
  • Class AA horses are at least half-0 in breeding or are of exceptional 0 type. BLM horses may qualify for AA classification. To be inspected and to qualify as AA on inspection, a horse must be at least 4 years of age.
  • Class A horses are horses with unknown bloodlines, but who are definitely Indian Horse type. Most MA horses qualify for A registration as well as many so called grade or backyard horses. Class A horses are eligible to be inspected at age 4 or over and may be passed to Class AA.
  • Class M horses include breeding of modern type. They may have parents registered with the AQHA, APHC, APHA, APA, etc. Such ancestry will be shown on the registration certificate.
  • Class P is for ponies of Indian Horse type. Eligible ponies include those with Galiceno, POA, etc, in their pedigrees. Ponies of unknown ancestry may also qualify.


Membership is open to any owner of an American Indian Horse or to any person interested in the American Indian Horse. Members receive The American Indian Horse News, issued quarterly, and qualify for lower registration rates. They are also eligible for the various awards programs sponsored by AIHR.

A question that is often asked is, “What is the American Indian Horse?” If you desire, you may trace their ancestry back to the mists of antiquity and to the dust of the Arabian desert where they were housed with honor in the black tents of the roaming Bedouin tribes. From there they traveled to Spain, were bred with Barb and Andalusian stock and became known as the best horse in the world at that time. From Spain they were brought to the New World on the ships of Columbus and the Conquistadores during the 15th and 16th centuries.

The Indian Horse has gone by many names: call him cow pony or buffalo horse; mustang or Indian pony; cayuse or Spanish pony — basically they are all the same animal.

Virtually every color known to the horse appears in this breed; he is sometimes appaloosa spotted, sometimes paint and sometimes solid colored with every variation imaginable occurring. He is well made, has excellent feet and legs and has as much savvy as any horse that ever lived. Height ranges from 13 to 16 hands; weight 700 to 1000 pounds with a few individuals over or under.

The Indian Horse’s loyalty is legend as is their toughness and intelligence, and anyone who is fortunate enough to share their lives with one knows how truly special they are.