Indian Horse Relay

Indian Horse Relay

Experience America’s First Extreme Sport

Get ready for another weekend of excitement and fast-paced racing at Canterbury Park! The seventh annual Indian Horse Relay will take place August 22-24, with racing scheduled to begin at 6pm on Thursday and Friday, and 5pm on Saturday. Throughout the weekend, guests will have the opportunity to witness the action up close, as Native American riders display skill and precision in high-speed bareback races.

This year’s event will also feature a youth relay all three nights, as well as a maidens race and the Mystic Lake Turf Sprint on Saturday night. In the Youth Indian Horse Relay, riders ages 12 and under race in front of the grandstand on Shetland ponies. In the first-ever maidens race, women riders will compete for victory during a lap around the track.

Indian Relay Racing

An Indian Horse Relay team consists of four members—a rider, a mugger, and two holders—and three horses. Riders mount their first horses bareback at the stall, while the holders restrain the other two horses. After making a lap around the track, the rider hops off of the first horse and mounts the second horse in a dazzling display of athleticism. It is the mugger’s job to catch the first horse. After repeating the process once more, the third and final lap ends at the finish line in front of the grandstand, where thousands of spectators are cheering on the teams.

Indian Market

Inside the grandstand at Canterbury Park, there will also be an Indian Market for guests to enjoy, featuring crafts, jewelry, beading, and artwork for purchase from several Native American vendors. The Indian Market is open all three nights of Indian Horse Relay.

History of the Event

The Indian Horse Relay at Canterbury Park began in 2013, when the SMSC was invited to the Apsaalooke Crow Nation to see their Native American horse racing event. The SMSC’s Mystic Lake Casino Hotel partnered with Canterbury Park in 2012, creating A Winning Combination, which presented the perfect opportunity to bring this sport to life in the area’s largest horse racing venue. Since the inception of the event, the annual Indian Horse Relay has celebrated great success and brings together racers and spectators from across the country every year.

Cultural Significance

The horse has long held a special place in Native American culture. Often referred to as the Horse Nation, horses—like the drum—have a way of comforting, healing, and bringing Native people together. Spending time around them is good for the heart and good for the spirit. During Indian Horse Relay, riders embrace their culture through horse paint designs, bareback riding, and wearing traditional Native American regalia.


On the final day of the event—Saturday, August 24—Native American music and dancing can be seen and heard in front of the grandstand between races. These performances include the SMSC Royalty, a traditional Native American drum group (Eagle Whistle Singers), and others.

2019 Indian Horse Relay

August 22, 23 & 24

Indian Horse Relay brings together the best Indian relay racers from across the country for a weekend of excitement at Canterbury Park.

Find Out More

Explore Past Races

View past Indian Horse Relay race results and videos in our event gallery

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community

2330 Sioux Trail NW
Prior Lake, MN 55372
Contact a Department >