The Rare and endangered Anishinabe Ojibwa spirit horse
The Ojibwa spirit horse is said to be the only horse to survive the ice age. With an extra flat nose and a nasal flap that keeps cold air from entering their lungs, they were able to survive the extreme cold.
The ojibwa pony has a genetic profile like no other horse in the world. They are the oldest Indigenous developed horse in the world. DNA tracing completed by the University of Texas recognizes them as being distinct from the horses brought to the new world, originally by the Spanish. Their DNA more closely resembles horses breeds in eastern Asia, leading many to believe that they followed human migration across the Bering land bridge.
It is a small horse that lived freely in the Great Lakes Region including Canada. Natives from long ago would collect the ponies from the woods, at times the ponies would help fisherman set nets, haul ice, pull sleds of family from village to village, receive love and food and then released and they would go back into the woods. There are many of these stories told by local elders that Rhonda Snow is working on putting them to a book.
Early on there were thousands of these horses but by 1977, the numbers had dwindled to only 4.
The Canadian health officials had reportedly deemed the four remaining horses a health risk and made plans to destroy them. To prevent the loss of these last horses, five men from Bois Forte and Lac La Croix rescued them in an action that should be made into a movie. They captured the horses and trailered them across a frozen lake to a safe haven in Minnesota, in the cover of darkness. This is where the diligent breeding and genetic research of this rare breed started. The men had to introduce a stallion or two since the last remaining stallion was shot and killed by a man who thought it was a young moose. After talking to many tribal elders it was decided that the Spanish mustang is the closest relative.
The small herd started to grow. In the late 1990’s the small herd in northern Minnesota was again in danger of certain death. There was heavy snowfall and the wolves were decimating the herd. A local vet reached out to an indigenous women, Rhonda Snow to help. She put together a rescue team and got nine remaining animals out of the wild. Together she and the ponies started their journey.
Today, I am happy to announce that we are working to become a steward of one of these National Treasures. Our pony, Little Blaze came from Rhonda Snow.
Meet the II Bit spirit horse named Little Blaze.
Little Blaze is a five year old Ojibwa pony. While he was a stallion for many years in Rhonda Snow’s original herd. Recently it was decided to have him gelded and start his journey helping to educate us on the beauty of this breed.
These ponies are indeed wild, but when you meet them you will notice that their disposition is somewhat different than that of the American Mustang. They are extremely curious, friendly animals, and they love human interaction.