Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Mill Swamp Indian Horses: The Stone That the Builders Rejected

Tradewind is older now, but he still has the heart that makes him so special. He is a formerly wild Corolla stallion and a lynch pin of our breeding efforts to prevent the extinction of the Banker strain of Colonial Spanish Horses, particularly those of Corolla origin. He was the 2011 National Pleasure Trail Horse of the Year for the Horse of the Americas registry. More than any horse in our program he demonstrates the gentle nature and extraordinary athletic ability of these historic horses. As recently as 1927 several thousand of these horses roamed the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Today only two small herds remain, the Corollas and the Shacklefords. The remnant of the horses that the Spanish brought to America nearly 100 years before the English landed at Jamestown retain the endurance, smooth gaits, amazing carrying capacity, and strong survival instinct that made them so valuable to the Conquistadors.

Tradewind won the 2011 award because in 2010 he carried me 206 hours on the trail, through cutover, swamps, woods paths and woods with no paths at all. The vast majority of those hours were spent trotting or gaiting. During that year I weighted around 220 pounds. That is about one hundred pounds more than the suggested carrying capacity of modern breeds of horses.

But the real story is not how much he achieved, it is how far he came to make those achievements. Tradewind is insulin resistant, a health problem rare among these horses.  While wild he foundered horribly, likely as a result of being given access to sugar by tourists.  His front right hoof had grown out while abscessing. He walked on the side of the hoof.

He was totally crippled. It took many months of Pete Ramey style hoof trimming to get him sound. It took a few months to train him to saddle. And in return he has given our riders years of pleasure learning from him.

Tradewind  is a very special role model. He shows kids and adults the importance of perseverance--never giving up--staying in the fight--no matter how hard it is to do so.

To learn more about our program see our website at See the group Mill Swamp Indian Horses facebook page. Look back through previous posts in this blog.

Future posts will focus on each individual string that makes up the entire harp of Mill Swamp Indian Horses. Stick with us over the next few weeks. Share these informational posts with everyone that you know.

Again, we have no paid staff. We are all volunteers. Our horses eat from 10-14 thousand pounds of hay each week. We are funded from program fees and donations. We have never turned anyone away for inability to pay program fees.

This is our time of greatest expense and also our season of fund raising. You can donate directly at the donation button on our website or you may write a check to Gwaltney Frontier Farm and mail is to 16 Dashiell Drive, Smithfield Va 23430. Donations are not tax deductible for a 501 (c) 5 breed conservation program. 

Become a follower of this blog to stay in touch with this effort. And as you read this and upcoming posts keep in mind that each post will only show one aspect of what we do.

No comments: