Where did horses in North America come from and did Plains Indians always ride horses?

Small prehistoric horses once lived in North America, but they died out about 10,000 years ago.

The Plains Indians did not have the type of horse we know now until Spaniards brought them to America from Europe in the sixteenth century. Spanish horses that escaped their keepers formed wild herds.

By 1780, Plains Indians were skilled at capturing and taming these animals. They found the horse so useful that soon their entire way of life revolved around this animal.