The American Paint Horse is a pretty common sight. It’s one of the most famous breeds in the U.S. and more often used in equestrian competitions.
You are able to identify a paint horse by its coloring – they have black, brown, or gray spots that offset their white coats.
In Melbourne, Florida, Jackie and Scott Nelson breed champion paint horses on their ranch called Down Under Colour.
But one horse gained their attention a lot more than the rest of them did.
When Coconut was born, the filly had super rare markings – the kind that were mostly significant for the Indigenous culture.
Coconut had what Native American tribes – specificallt, the Indigenous people of the Great Plains – called a “medicine hat” or a “war bonnet.”
That pretty much tells us that the horse is white in color except for a small patch of brown or black covering their ears and the top of their heads (meaning the “hat”).
Indigenous people from the central U.S. and Canada believed that horses that were born with these kinds of markings had an almost mystical ability to avoid any type of injury and harm and were able to warn their riders about any danger that may come their way.
They were mostly ridden by Medicine Men, who were the traditional healers and spiritual leaders that served the community.
Any owner of such a horse would be considered super fortunate. Consequently, warring tribes would try to steal these kind of horses from their enemies in order to rid them of good luck.
If this type of horse had at least one blue eye it was considered even more rare and more special.
Jackie Nelson said:
“This eye in [Indigenous] mythology is called a ‘Sky Eye.’ Tribes believed if a medicine man was killed during a battle, the horse’s blue eye would carry his spirit back to the Gods.”
Consequently, the horses were closely guarded and protected by owners and whole entire tribes.
Because of the fact that we don’t know what genes create the “medicine hat” markings, it’s pretty impossible to breed the special creatures. You just have to wait for one to show up.
While the most special horse of this type is all white except for the head markings, some also value those with a patch of color on their chests known as a “war shield.” But at the end of the day, a horse can be considered to have a “medicine hat” despite the other markings on its body.
When the Nelsons figured out that Coconut had the special markings, they were happy that they had recorded the birth and footage from Coconut’s first few days.
A video that they posted of her first moments outside in the grass in 2012 has been watched more than 3.6 million times!
Coconut’s popularity combined with her rarity put her worth at about 74 thousand dollars! Yes, thousand!
We don’t have a lot of information when it comes to Indigenous culture, so their mythology is poorly understood and we know little about these types of horses.
Actually, the importance of the “medicine hat” might have vanished into the past altogether if it wasn’t for a famous children’s book by Marguerite Henry in 1972 titled San Domingo: The Medicine Hat Stallion.
The main character in the story – which had the “medicine hat” markings – also has got its own toy model, keeping the knowledge of all the horses alive for the future generations.
Many people probably have horses who have medicine hat without even knowing their worth. Up until recent times, there was no way to recognize them, but a Medicine Hat Horse Association is being created these days.
Be sure to scroll down below if you want to see Coconut in action and marvel at the beauty of her super special marks.