Wednesday, November 29, 2017

You Are Not Too Young To Matter

Whether you hope one day to save a horse or even an entire breed of horses you are not too young to begin to get to work on it. Young people have energy and ideas. Older people have experience and resources. And when it comes to saving horses it takes energy, ideas, experience and resources.

The best way to put all of those things togehter is to begin to work with others who share your love of horses. It is great fun to participate in forums and face book groups, but networking allows you to do more than just have fun. It allows you to join with others to work to save horses for the future.

The Livestock Breeds Conservancy is celebrating its fortieth year of working to prevent the extinction of a wide range of of breeds of historic farm animals, including horses. In November Mill Swamp Indian Horses in Smithfield, Virginia hosted a day of demonstrations and clinics for members of the Breed Conservancy. These sessions featured young people using their talents to help preserve nearly extinct strain of American horses including the Corollas and the Choctaws. Michelle is shown above riding Corn Stalk, a formerly wild Corolla stallion. She gave a first person living history performance depicting Betsy Dowdy, a young teenager who alerted the North Carolina militia that the British were about to invade their state.

Betsy Dowdy rode alone, over fifty miles on a cold December night to give the warning because she heard that the Red Coats were killing horses on the farms in their path. Her ride was much longer, and much more dangerous, than Paul Revere's ride, but she would not stand by and let horses be shot down by an invading army. She cared. She worked with others. She used her energy and ideas to get the word to North Carolina patriots who had the experience and the resources to fight the British.

Chris gave a great demonstration on how he trained Zee, a cream colored Choctaw mare, to be ridden. Chris began to learn natural horsemanship and horse training when he was about 12 years old. Now he teaches other young people how to train horses and ride. He did a great job explaining his techniques to members of the Breeds Conservancy. It turns out that Zee comes from very rare Cherokee lineage in addition to her Choctaw lineage. Dr. Phil Sponenberg, a leading expert both on preservation of nearly extinct livestock and Colonial Spanish Horses, was particularly impressed with Zee and contacts were made to have her bred to a very rare Cherokee influenced stallion in 2018.

Chris' demonstration made this contact possible.

And joining the Breeds Conservancy can expand your horizons even beyond horses. These turkeys are a very rare strain known as Bourbon Reds. They became part of the program at Mill Swamp Indian Horses after program participants learned about these turkeys through the Breeds Conservancy.

There is no need to wait to begin to help horses. You can start on that path regardless of how young you are.

To learn more about breed conservation visit

To learn more about Mill Swamp Indian Horses visit

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