Friday, May 27, 2016

Preserving the Banker Horses Through The Off site Breeding Program

In early Colonial years Colonial Spanish horses were the only horses in the southeast. They eventually were bred into different strains--- all from the same root-Banker, Marsh Tacky, Seminole, Choctaw, Cherokee, and Florida Cracker to name a few of those strains--all even tempered, all with extraordinary endurance, small, compact and powerful with a strong need to bond--with other herd members or with people.

In the 1920's over 5,000 Banker horses ran wild on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Today only two herds remain in the wild--the Corollas and the Shacklefords.

The Corollas number less than 125.

Before Martin Luther King had a dream, before John Kennedy promised to put a man on the moon, before December 7 became a day that lived in infamy, before Lincoln took the podium at Gettysburg, before Jefferson wrote of the self evident equality of men, before Patrick Henry called for liberty or death and, yes, even before the English landed at Jamestown America's history resonated through the sound of the hooves of these little horses, pounding the beaches and pushing through the swamps and marshes.

And now they are nearly gone.

At Mill Swamp Indian Horses we are working hard to prevent their extinction. So few Corollas are left that they face genetic collapse because of so much in breeding. Our breeding program seeks to turn back the pages of time to reintroduce genetics that were once a part of the heritage of these horses but that have drifted away from them over the years. We have a foundation herd of Choctaw, Shackleford,Marsh Tacky, and Brislawn Spanish mustang strains to breed back into our Corollas. We have five Corolla mares and a Shackleford mare on site. We have five Corolla stallions and a Shackleford stallion on site, and two other Corolla stallions with whom we have access for breeding.

By selectively using cross strain breeding instead of cross-breeding we will maintain the integrity of the Corolla strain. ( All of the horses in our program are of the same Colonial Spanish breed but are of different strains within that breed. No modern breed horses are used in the off site breeding program.)

Gwaltney Frontier Farm, Inc., of which Mill Swamp Indian Horses is a program, is a 501 (c) 5 non profit breed conservation corporation. We have no paid staff. We are all volunteers. We seek to place the offspring produced in this program with others who will seek to raise a few Corollas and thus keep these historic horses with us for four hundred more years. In recent years we have been very successful in doing so.

This summer we are breeding more mares than we ever have. Contact us now at to reserve one of these 2017 foals.

As a side note, I doubt if anyone living today has ridden Corolla horses as many miles as have I. I find them to be easier to train, not just than any other wild horses I have trained, but easier than any horses of any breed. Tough, strong, super healthy--they thrive best with natural horse care--no sugary feed, no shoes, no stables-grass, hay, barefoot and outside 24/7. They are economical to raise, easy to train, comfortable to ride, and are warm and affectionate.

They are the perfect family horse for novices, small acreage farmers, and families with children.

Come and be part of the effort to preserve these horses for the future.

1 comment:

Dianne W said...

I would go so far as to argue that cross-strain breeding will improve the genetic integrity of the Corolla strain. The killing of a lot of the horses during a disease control effort some decades back severely reduced the Corolla herd and gene pool. Bringing back these missing genes will bring back the Corolla of most of it's history.