Observations by George Catlin, Great Camanchee (sic) Village, Texas

Amongst their feats of riding, there is one that astonishes me more than anything of the kind that I have ever seen, or expect to see in my life:--a strategem of war, learned and practiced by every young man in the tribe; by which he is able to drop his body upon the side of the horse at the instant he is passing, effectively screened from his enemies' weapons as he lies in a horizontal position behind the body of his horse, with his heel hanging over the horse's back; by which he has the power of throwing himself up again, and changing to the other side of the horse if necessary. In this wonderful condition, he will hang whilst his horse is at fullest speed, carrying with him his bow and shield, and also his long lance of fourteen feet in length, all or either of which he will wield upon his enemy as he passes; rising and throwing his arrows over the horse's back, or with equal ease and equal success under the horse's neck. This astonishing feat, which the young men have repeatedly been playing off to our surprise as well as amusement, whilst they have been galloping away in front of our tents, completely puzzled the whole of us; and appeared to be the result of magic, rather than skills acquired by practice….

From The North American Indians, Vol. II, by George Catlin, published in 1926 by John Grant, Edinburgh.

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