About Indian Relay Racing
The Riders & The Horses
Indian Relay participants are fearless, agile athletes with amazing balance, stamina, and strength.
Indian Relay is a tradition that dates back to
The horse is considered sacred by many native cultures and revered by all. It is a major source of status and a most sought-after prize. The Indian Relay provides the measure to test the horse, the rider and the team.
As AMERICA’S OLDEST EXTREME SPORT, Indian Relay Horse Racing is currently growing in popularity, receiving long, past-due recognition as one of the country’s most exciting extreme sports. Races begin with six athletes riding bareback around a ½ mile track at full speed. There are 3 horses for each rider with 2 exchanges. In the sport of Indian Relay, the rider is both the commander and the baton.
Each Indian Relay Horse Racing team consists of four members; the Rider, Mugger, Set-Up Man and the Back Holder.
The rider makes three laps around the track, jumping off one horse on to
Risking being RUN OVER by the incoming horse The Mugger waves down the rider, as he gallops in for the exchange and catches the horse as the rider dismounts. Sometimes having to use his body as a wall to STOP A HALF TON ANIMAL.
The set man must keep the awaiting HIGH SPIRITED HORSE calm. He will hold the fresh horse until the rider mounts. This crucial position requires
“HORSE WHISPERER” With his calm spirit and soothing words and sometimes a traditional song the BACK HOLDER keeps the third horse calm
After the “Storm” has calmed, the back holder hands the fresh horse to the Set-up Man, while the catcher passes the horse he’s just caught to the Back Holder and prepare for the coming of the 2nd STORM.
The Guiding Principles
- Safety for the Horses and Riders,
- Promoting the sport of Indian Relay Horse Racing
- Providing economic opportunity for Native communities
- Encourage a healthy family
life stylethrough traditional tribal horse culture