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NATURE: American Horses

Two brown horses running through dirt.
Courtesy of Shutterstock / jacotakepics
Two brown horses running through dirt.

Saturday, March 11, 2023 at 3:30 p.m. on KPBS TV / Watch now with KPBS Passport!

Mustang. Morgan. Appaloosa. Quarter Horse. Each of America’s horses has a unique story to tell. From New England homesteads to cattle ranches in Wyoming to tribal lands in the Mountain West, see how the horse is part of this nation’s history in NATURE “American Horses,” with narration by Bill Pullman.

NATURE: Preview of American Horses

Discover the origin story of American horses, which can be traced all the way back to the 50-million-year-old fossil beds of Polecat Bench, Wyoming. From these ancient beginnings, Equus spread around the globe, but mysteriously went extinct in North America. Arriving aboard ships of Spanish explorers, horses reclaimed the continent after a 10,000-year absence. With their return, the stage was set for a new generation of American breeds and a lifelong partnership with humans.

A combination of natural selection, selective breeding, and chance created the wide spectrum of more than 100 American horse breeds we know today. Emerging from regional patterns of work, culture, tradition and geography, these signature breeds each made their mark on the nation.

Wild Stallions Fight to Mate

Meet the Appaloosa, bred and revered by the Nez Perce tribe; the American Quarter Horse, perfectly trained to work the open range; the Morgan Horse, whose underdog story is legendary; and the wild Mustang, whose close bonds within their community shed insight into their relationships with humans. Witness vivid scenes of incredible horsepower, whether they are cutting cows in a sagebrush sea, galloping through autumn foliage in New England or racing across the Pony Express Trail.

How Appaloosa Horses Keep Nez Perce Traditions Alive

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This episode is now available on demand with KPBS Passport, a benefit for members supporting KPBS at $60 or more yearly, using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn more and activate your benefit now.


A production of Grizzly Creek Films and The WNET Group in co-production with Terra Mater Factual Studios. The program is written and produced by Eric Bendick. Thomas Winston is producer. Narrated by Bill Pullman. NATURE is a production of The WNET Group. Fred Kaufman is executive producer. Bill Murphy is series producer. Janet Hess is series editor. Danielle Broza is digital content & strategy lead.