Saturday, September 13, 2014

Time Can Change So Much

but it does not change genetic makeup. Croatoan was a middle aged stallion when he was captured because of his propensity to go into the highway. He also was ill. Some sort of internal infection had ravaged him. I tamed him, treated him, healed him, trained him and rode him. He was eventually, though a stallion, one of our beginner's horses.

Though hard to imagine now, he was the fastest gaiting Corolla that we have ever had--smoothest gaiting too. Fairly early on in his training he took me for the easiest forty mile solo ride I had had to that point.

He is the father of the rabicano filly, Mokete, shown above the first foal produced in the offsite breeding program. I also bred him to several modern breed mares. The Appaloosa colt is his son.

He has spent the summer with Hickory Wind, my Marsh Tacky mare.  Their foal will likely be the first cross between a Corolla and a Marsh Tacky in a few hundred years.  That foal has already been claimed and will become an integral part of the offsite breeding program. In another month I hope he will have a foal born to Persa, a heavy mare from Shackleford Island.

If the foal takes the best of those two it will be a great horse.

But Croatoan is old. He is healthy, not a hint of arthritic pain, (or any other pain). His muscles are only shadows of what they once were. We do not ride him any more. I do not know how much longer he will produce foals.

But even if he can produce no more Mokete is to be bred next month and I unexpectedly received his adult daughter this summer.

She will have a foal from the son of the original Red Feather.

Croaotan is doing his part to prevent the extinction of the Corolla Spanish Mustang.A children's book about him will be coming out this spring, about the same time as the second in the series on my Red Feather.

He is going forth and having children "that his name may live long in this land."

That is a form of immortality that time cannot change.


Anonymous said...

They are all so beautiful. Although I have to admit from the time I knew what a horse was - anything with a mane, tail & 4 legs was always beautiful!

Anonymous said...

This subject leads to many of those wonderful metaphysical questions that I like so much.

Do we really own our genes, or are we just borrowing them for a little while, passing them on semi chaotically, even as we received them?
There are so many patterns in nature that we really do not understand, probably are not ready to, and many that we have a pretty good grip on.
These little horses were literally the horses of kings in Spain, after all, when you set out to conquer a new continent, you don't take your second best equipment with you. They came from good stock, that was likely produced from some of the best in the world, and look what five or six hundred years on the beach has done for them.
Croatoan, Cyclops, Edward Teach, Manteo, and Wanchese are the products of a run of evolution that can be observed with many variables known ahead of time, or at least inferred, it is not an exact science. It would be a crying shame to not continue their lines. Natural selection from such stock has produced a superior specimen.
Herein lies the rock and a hard place, there are many thousands of foals bred and born every year which will simply be wasted..bred to no purpose other than as a by product, or a thin hope that one will turn out to be fast and win some cup before being wasted. Right.
Responsibly breeding the Banker horses and placing them in homes where they will be loved, preserved, and bred for the continuation of the strain is of prime importance.
These small, sturdy, gentle horses are arguably the most valuable in the northern hemisphere, not only are they the horses that won this continent, but they are very nearly the perfect horse for a growing family, or folks who desire a gentle easily kept saddle horse.
If you are considering a family horse, give a good hard look at a Corolla..come see them, get on one. They do not disappoint.
Some folks may look at Croatoan and see an old horse, we see a fine old southern gentleman that represents the very best of the future. -Lloyd