Female Side:  
For a young woman for instance, coming from a girl to a woman there is a ceremony where the elder women will come together and speak to her about the responsibilities and putting aside that young girl forever.  Her parents and relatives actually cry and mourn for her life because they're never going to see this young girl ever again.  They're going to cry because that part of her is going to die.  They're also going to cry out of joy to celebrate the new woman that is born; the woman has new responsibilities for herself, her family, tribe and societies. 

Being a woman doesn't mean that you're pretty and you put make-up on; there’s someone always prettier than you.  A Rites of Passage is an understanding of your womanhood; the power that you have as a women and learning how to conduct that power.

The butterflies symbolize the presence of our Creator and specifically for females, the presence of Creation.

The blue circles that flow in between each butterfly represent the mind, body and spirit of the female and acknowledgment of human beings; blue meaning sacred.

One eagle feather hangs from the horse mask placed on the left side closest to the heart to denote part of the naming ceremony.

The shield covered by red cloth represents the presence of protection during the girl’s time of change, as she walks her path towards becoming a woman.  A star is placed on the top of the shield to symbolize the Morning Star; the beginning of a new day.  Bells are used on the shield as an annunciation of the divine powers.

The circle found on the back hind quarter is symbolic of grandmother moon, the host of compassion.

On the back leg, six stripes of red, white, black, yellow, green and blue represent the six directions; four directions + Mother Earth and Creator.

Significance of the horse to Black Pinto Horse, Monte Yellow Bird, artist, storyteller and educator,

The horse was a blessing and gift to the First Nation peoples.  In the Arikara language there is no specific word for horse; the combination of the words Holy or sacred and dog make up the word for Horse (Holy Dog).  As a horseman, I have always had a close connection with the Holy Dog and our family has horse bundle medicine on our father’s side.  The carrier of my prayers is that of the horse, or Sacred Dog.