Sunday, September 14, 2014
Two From The Original Red Feather
The big stallion, Stitch, is a pure Corolla born and bred domestically to a mother who was also born domestically. The smaller horse is my Red Feather, the most athletic horse with whom I have ever shared a round pen, who was born and bred wild and lived wild until adulthood. They are half brothers.
Diet is part of the difference, but only part. My Red Feather produced a filly who grew up to be at least as tall, and maybe taller, than Stitch.
Stitch is highly impressive and he also just happens to be big. I hope to raise many foals off of him because he is highly impressive and not a single one because he is big. Dr. Sponenberg has pointed out that selecting Spanish mustangs for breeding based on size produces large horses who do not carry as much Colonial Spanish type in their bodies.
We cannot risk loosing everything that is special in these horses simply to make them more acceptable in the eyes of modern horse people.
Bonnie Gruenberg's great book, "The Wild Horse Enigma" (which I was asked to proof) will go to the publisher soon. It will be the primary text on the wild horses of the east coast for the next fifty years. She has found several references in old writings to there being two types of Banker horses in the 1800's. (The Corollas make up one of only two remaining wild herds of the Colonial Spanish horse of the Outer Banks of North Carolina known as "Bankers.") Those references, whether correct or not, refer to the separate types as "Seminole Ponies" and "Chickasaw Ponies".
The Chicasaws were described as larger and easier to handle and the Seminoles were smaller, rough ponies. The explanation being that the poor whites who lived on the Outer Banks traded in the "Chickasaws" (likely of the same root stock of the Cherokee and Choctaw strains) prior to the ethnic cleansing that forced those tribes across the Mississippi. I cannot find a historical hypothesis that makes sense that would have brought a new influx of Florida ponies to the Outer Banks and I strongly suspect that the labeling of these type as "Seminoles" resulted from them simply looking identical to the horses of the Seminoles. Those horses would have been familiar to men of the Outer Banks who fought in the Seminole war.
I am not aware of any genetic proof of the two source theory. However, my pasture contains Swimmer, a Corolla mare whose type is indistinguishable from a Choctaw horse and many of the smaller Corollas like my Red Feather. The theory makes sense. It is based on historical anecdotal information it cannot be ignored simply because years of watching CSI on tv has caused us to believe that there is no truth outside of a laboratory analysis.
In either event, the Chickasaw ponies and the Seminole ponies were both Spanish horses. Interestingly enough, on Shackleford Island where the only other herd of wild Banker horses live I have seen absolutely no evidence of a separate, taller Choctaw type, but there is evidence of a heavier, less refined influence
All of these Colonial Spanish types share the same tractabilty, hardiness, smooth gaits, endurance and healthy hooves. Every type, big and small, refined and crude, ornate and plainly colored deserve preservation.
In fact, it is the modern rider who deserves the chance to ride one of these super horses. That will never happen if we allow them to go extinct.
Posted by Steve Edwards