Sunday, September 7, 2014

Home On Our Range

There are only about 3,500 Colonial Spanish horses left in the world. All but a handful live in America. They went extinct in Europe many years ago. They are on the verge of extinction in America.

These horses are divided into strains based on their particular history and genetics by the Horse of The Americas Registry. When one looks at individual strains the hope for long term survival of many of those strains is bleak.

But, then, their chances were always bleak but most of them are still hanging on. They are known by but a few, but those few have the privilege of knowing gentle, easy handling affectionate, athletes. Those few have the privilege of knowing easy keeping, super healthy horses with hooves that are designed to handle the roughest of terrain. Those few have the privilege of reaching back into history and experiencing it the way that no owner of a modern horse could.

The pictures above show several of the strains of Colonial Spanish horses that we have. Our primary purpose is to work through the off site breeding program to prevent the extinction of the Corolla Spanish mustang, but we also see to preserve or promote other strains.

The top two horses Snow On Her and Ta Sunka Witco are Brislawn stock. Bob Brislawn began working to preserve these horses in the 1920's. He went on to found the Spanish Mustang Registry in 1957. Croatoan, a Corolla stallion is pictured just beneath them. Perhaps these horses would still be round were it not for Dale Burrus preservation and promotion of them, but I would not want to have had to have found that out. Joty Baca is pictured with one of his famous Baca strain mustangs. He died not too long ago at his home in New Mexico with some of his horses still around him. Next year we will likely have a Baca foal born here--the first to ever be born and bred away from the Baca Ranch.

The next shot is Lydia on our Marsh Tacky mare, Hickory Wind. The Lowther family is responsible for these horses still being in existence. I am riding Joey, a wonderful Choctaw. the Choctaws owe a great deal to the work of Gilbert Jones and his efforts to show the world the amazing endurance of these horses.

Terry is sitting on Wanchese our Shackleford stallion. The horses would surely be gone but for the hard work of Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina and the dedicated  ladies of the Foundation for the Shackelford Horses.

The final shot is La Primera a young filly from Texas. She has a great deal of Choctaw lineage but also traces back to Barbwire, the last of the Grand Canyon strain.

I am the beneficiary of countless hours hard work and tremendous financial sacrifice that others have made to keep these horses from going extinct. Bryant Rickman, David Grant, Vickie Ives, Tom Norush, Karen McAlpin, Carolyn Mason, the Sims family, Adam Edwards, Stephanie Lockhart and Simrat Khalsa and a handful of others are out there everyday doing the hard work of breed conservation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I bet there are people who get tired of hearing me say just how fine almost every horse I come into contact with is..

Tough. Pick a big name flashy breeder of the modern horse, nearly any of them..go look at the website..the horses you see will likely be the "High value" heavy price tag deeply bred performance horses...(here is where I tend to fail of diplomacy, much as Lydia when asked about barrel racing..)
Fifty some odd horses at Mill Swamp..and every single one of them is a high value horse..High Value? Priceless. Irreplaceable.
these horses are proven survivors, they and their ancestors were the vehicles that conquered a continent. That alone is reason enough to preserve them, however there is a laundry list of perfectly good reasons..couple of posts down is a post on the subject of how gentle these wild horses are, how teachable and social..the underlying value there is in the effect they have when brought into close contact with a person who is living a challenged life...who has mental or emotional monsters that need to be despooked if you will. Don't take my word for it..come see us..even if you are a fairly normal (whatever that is..) stessed out human being living a life in modern America..come see us..we will show you.

Who is the most valuable horse at Mill Swamp? Well, you will get fifty different answers..


The most valuable horse at Mill Swamp is tiny little old, slow moving, parrot mouthed Wind in His Hair. He is a rock solid, utterly reliable mount, never gets excited, and has been the first horse that countless people, particularly young children have climbed aboard, he has introduced more people to horseback riding than any other..Putting a child on a horse like Wind at a very early age is the spark that my start a burning, and very healthy lifelong passion.
Whatsat horse's name almost won the triple crown? Can't remember offhand..But I cannot forget Wind..he is worth more.