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COLONIAL SPANISH HORSE IN THE USA THE COLONIAL SPANISH HORSE IN

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					                       COLONIAL SPANISH HORSE IN THE USA


 THE COLONIAL SPANISH HORSE IN THE USA: HISTORY AND
                  CURRENT STATUS

        CABALLOS CRIOLLOS EN LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS: HISTORIA Y
                        SITUACION ACTUAL

                                           Sponenberg, D.P.

Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and
State University. Blacksburg, VA 406l. USA


Additional Keywords                                   Palabras clave adicionales
Horse breeds.                                         Razas equinas.


SUMMARY

     Colonial spanish horses in the USA descend       Colors vary widely, and indeed include variants
from horses introduced from Spain during the          not common in other populations descending
conquest of the New World. They are a direct          from spanish horses. The colors include black,
remnant of the iberian horses of the 1500s, and       bay, chestnut, sorrel, grullo, dun, red dun,
conserve this type of horse in present populations.   buckskin, palomino, cream, and an unusual
The colonial spanish horses brought to the            chocolate brown based series of colors. Patterns
present United States of America all came from        of white include grey, roan, ticked, frosted roan,
the region of present day Mexico, and these in        as well as tobiano, frame overo, sabino overo,
turn descend from the original spanish imports        and the leopard complex of colors.
to the Antilles. Other south american and                  The colonial spanish horse type is registered
caribbean horse populations had later, direct,        in different registries: Spanish Mustang Registry,
input from horses directly from Spain. Their less     Spanish Barb Breeders Association, Southwest
select origin makes the north american horses         Spanish Mustang Association, Florida Cracker
interesting historically as well as biologically,     Horse Association, and American Indian Horse
since they are closer in type to those horses         Registry. These registries all register a similar
originally introduced into the New World than         type of horse, but all have slightly different
are other present types and breeds.                   emphasis or exclude certain different
     The colonial spanish horses in the USA are       subpopulations from registration. The registries
generally small and compactly made, with convex       are open, but only horses of colonial spanish type
to subconvex facial profiles. Muscling tends to       that have accurate histories and phenotypes can
be long and tapering, and the croups slope            be entered into the herdbooks. Therefore, in
distinctively with low set tails. The horses are      spite of the open herdbooks, these registries are
used for a wide variety of uses, although endurance   all involved in true purebreed conservation of
and pleasure riding are the most common tasks.        the colonial spanish horses.




                                                       Arch. vol. 41, núm. 154 335-348 335.
                                        Archivos de zootecnia,Zootec. 41 (extra):(extra), p.1992.
                                             SPONENBERG


RESUMEN                                                sólo pueden incluirse en los herdbooks caballos
                                                       de tipo criollo con historias y genotipos muy
     Los caballos criollos españoles en USA,           precisos. Por eso, a pesar de permanecer abiertos
descienden de los llevados desde España durante        los registros están todos implicados en la
la conquista del Nuevo Mundo. Son un remanente         conservaciónde la pureza de los caballos criollos.
directo de los caballos españoles del descubri-
miento y conservan este tipo de caballo en las
poblaciones actuales. Los caballos criollos de         GENERAL HISTORY
origen español en USA proceden de los del actual
México y estos, a la vez, de las importaciones            The spanish colonial horse descends
originales españolas a las Antillas. Otras poblacio-   from the once vast population of
nes de caballos caribeños o sudamericanos              spanish horses in the USA. The
tuvieron, posteriormente, impacto de caballos          ancestors of these horses were brought
traídos directamente desde España. Su origen           to the New World by the spanish
menos selecto hace a los caballos norteamerica-        conquistadors and were instrumental
nos interesantes desde puntos de vista históricos      in their ability to conquer the native
y biológicos, pues son más parecidos a los             civilizations (Cunningham-Graham,
caballos originalmente introducidos en el Nuevo        1989; Denhardt, 1975 and Dobie,
Mundo que otros tipos o razas.                         1952). The source of the original
     Los caballos criollos españoles en USA, son       horses was Spain, and this was at a
generalmente pequeños y compactos con perfiles         time when the spanish horse was
convexos o subconvexos. La muscultura tiende           being widely used for improvement
a ser alargada y delgada y la grupa cae                of horse breeding throughout Europe
marcadamente con inserción baja de la cola. Los        (Loch, 1986). The spanish horse of
caballos son empleados para una amplia variedad        the time of the conquest had a major
de usos aunque la resistencia y paseo son las          impact on most european light horse
tareas más frecuentes. Los colores varían              types (this was before breeds). The
ampliamente y, por cierto, incluyen variantes          spanish horse itself then became rare,
que no son comunes en otras poblaciones que            and was supplanted as the commonly
descienden de los caballos españoles. Los colores      used improver of indigenous types by
incluyen negro, bayo, castaño, alazán, ceniciento,     the Thoroughbred and Arabian. These
pardo, pardo rojo, palomino, crema y una               three (Spanish, Thoroughbred, and
infrecuente serie de colores basados en el pardo       Arabian) are responsible for the
chocolate. Las formas de blanco incluyen gris,         general worldwide erosion of genetic
ruanos, overos y el complejo de colores leopardo.      variability in horse breeds. The Spanish
     El tipo de caballo criollo está registrado en     type subsequently became rare and is
varias registros Spanish Mustang Registry, Spanish     now itself in need of conservation.
Barb Breeders Association, Southwest Spanish              Following centuries of divergent
Mustang Association, Florida Cracker Horse             selection the horse currently in Spain
Association y American Indian Horse Registry.          is distinct from the Colonial Spanish
Todos ellos incluyen un tipo similar de caballo,       Horse (Cabrera, 1985 and Loch, 1986).
pero cada uno de ellos hace énfasis sobre ligeras      The selection presures and goals in
peculiaridades o excluye ciertas subpoblaciones        North America, South America, and
del registro. Los registros están abiertos, pero       Spain all differed from one another.

                                          Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p. 336.
                  COLONIAL SPANISH HORSE IN THE USA


These differences in selection              unexplored lands the conquest
produced divergent horse breeds from        endeavor became more highly regarded
a single original base. The result is       and consequently more highly selected
that the current New World remnants         horses were added to the original
are very important to horse                 imports.
conservation since they differ from             In the case of North America the
Iberian horses. The north american          most common immediate source of
remnants are especially interesting         colonial spanish horses was Mexico
since they probably most closely            rather than the Caribbean. Even the
represent the original, less selected,      eastern populations brought into
type of iberian horse brought to the        Florida and the southeast were
New World.                                  imported from Mexico and not from
    The original horses from Spain          the closer Caribbean sources (Chard,
came to the Caribbean Islands where         1980). The general pattern of the
populations were increased before           development of horse populations in
export to the mainland (Cabrera,            what is now the United States involved
1985). The horses coming to the             single event, direct introduction, with
Caribbean varied in quality and origin,     subsequent diffusion of horses to
but most were from southern regions         from one area into neighboring areas.
in Spain. While the intent was to           Once horses had been introduced into
import horses of high quality this was      an area there was rarely if ever
sometimes frustrated by a tendency          subsequent addition of horses directly
for the horseowning conquistadors to        from Spain into these local populations.
sell the high quality horses in Spain           This history of relatively slow
before departure, replacing them with       diffusion with little ongoing
lower quality animals, and pocketing        introduction is in contrast to the horse
the difference in price (Cunningham-        populations further south (Cabrera,
Graham, 1989). Horse herds were             1985). Horse populations from most
increased on the Caribbean Islands          of the south american areas were
and then were used to found mainland        started by initial introductions from
populations, fint in Mexico and then        the Antilles as well as large
elsewhere.                                  introductions of selected horses which
    The conquest of the New World           came directly from Spain. South
was not viewed as a wholly worthwhile       american horses also benefitted from
endeavor in the early days of its           repeated introductions of individual
beginning, so very little care was          horses of excellent quality from both
taken in the selection of the original      the Caribbean and also from Spain.
animals sent to the West Indies             These high quality horses were
(Cabrera, 1985). If anything, poorer        imported by wealthy landowners or
quality animals were asured due to          powerful political figures. The result
the shortness of supply of horses in        of the pattern of introduction is that
Iberia at the time. Following the           the horses of Central and South
discovery of gold reserves and vast,        America tend to be somewhat distinct


                              Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p. 337.
                                  SPONENBERG


from those in North America since            Carolinas to Florida, west through
the northern horses descend from             Tennessee, and then throughout all of
horses initially less highly selected        the western mountains and great plains
than those further south.                    (Dobie, 1952). In the northeast and
    The distribution of colonial spanish     central east the colonists were from
horses in North America, at least            northwest Europe, and in those areas
initially, tended to follow the pattern      northern european horses were more
of spanish settlement and influence.         common than the colonial spanish
This involved the mission chains in          type. However, even in these northern
California, as well as those in Arizona,     and eastern areas the colonial spanish
New Mexico, and Texas (Denhardt,             horse was highly valued and
1975). One frequently overlooked             contributed to the overall mix of
contribution is the important                american horses. Due to the wide
missionary influx into the southeast         geographic distribution of pure
of the present United States. These          populations of colonial spanish horses,
missions were in northern Florida,           as well as their contribution to other
and the southern portions of                 crossbred types, the colonial spanish
Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.           horses were the most common of all
From this influence the local native         horses throughout North America at
tribes developed their advanced              that time. They were widely used for
plantation agricultural systems which        riding as well as draft.
involved the breeding of excellent               The colonial spanish horse became
spanish horses as well as other types        to be generally considered as too
of livestock.                                small for cavalry use by the europeans,
    Following the missionaries were          and was slowly supplanted by taller
the agriculturalists, and both of these      and heavier types from the northeast
groups increased the numbers of              as an integral part of northern european
horses and their widespread use.             expansion in North America (Ryden,
Horses also were acquired by native          1970). In the final stages the
tribes and quickly diffused throughout       replacement of the spanish horses by
most of the western portions of the          non spanish types was fairly rapid,
present United States. The horse             and was made even more so by the
allowed these tribes to become highly        extermination of the horse herds of
mobile warrior nomads, and this              the native americans during the final
changed both the tribes and the              stages of their subjection in the late
distribution of the horses considerably.     1800’s. The close association of the
Added to these mission, rancher, and         spanish horse with both native
native tribal herds were vast feral          american and mexican cultures and
herds of purely spanish horses which         peoples also caused these horses to
increased from lost and strayed animals      diminish in contrast to the more
(Dobie, 1952 and Ryden, 1970).               highly favored larger horses of the
    About 1700 the purely spanish            dominant anglo derived culture, whose
horse occurred in an arc from the            horses tended to have breeding



                                Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p. 338.
                   COLONIAL SPANISH HORSE IN THE USA


predominantly of northern european             straight across as in most other modern
types. The decline of the colonial             breeds. The chest is deep from the
spanish horse resulted in only a handful       side view, and usually accounts for
of animals left of the once vast herds.        about half of the height of the horse
This handful has founded the present           from the ground to the withers. The
breed, and so these are the horses of          croup is generally sloped, and the tail
interest when considering the history          is set low on the body. The rear
of the current breed.                          quarters vary from fairly massive and
                                               heavily muscled to a more slenderly
                                               built and less excessively muscled
CONFORMATION, TYPE, AND                        conformation. From the side there is
COLORS                                         usually a break in the curve of the
                                               hind quarter somewhere in the area of
    The colonial spanish horse is              the base of the tail, rather than the
generally a small horse, although size         full even curve of the most breeds
is increasing with improved nutrition          with northern european breeding.
and some selection among breeders,                 The muscling is characteristically
(Spanish Mustang Registry, 1975).              long and tapering, even in the heavily
The height is around 180 cm, usually           muscled individuals. Leg conformation
varying from 130 to 185 cm, but up             is generally sound, with ample angles
to 150 cm in some exceptional horses.          in the joints and strong, harmonious
Weight varies with height, but most            relationships between the lengths of
are around 350 to 800 kg. Distinctive          the varying parts of the limbs. Hooves
conformational features include heads          are small, and chestnuts and ergots
which generally have straight to               are small or missing altogether.
concave (more rarely slightly convex)          Shoulders are long and well angulated,
foreheads and a nose which is convex.          and withers usually sharp.
This is a fairly typical subconvex                 One myth frequently told is that
spanish type head, in contrast to the          these horses have only five lumbar
straighter nasal profile of most other         vertebrae. They are more likely to
breed types available in North                 have five than are most other breeds,
America. The heads vary somewhat               but many pure colonial spanish horses
between long, finely made heads to             also have six lumbar vertebrae, as has
shorter, deeper heads. Both are typical        been demonstrated by work done in
of spanish colonial horses. Spanish            Argentina on Criollos, Thoroughbreds,
colonial horses typically have narrow          Barbs and Arabians (Cabrera, 1905).
but deep chests, with the front legs           The colonial spanish horses do usually
leaving the body fairly close together.        have short, strong backs regardless of
It is difficult to describe this aspect of     the number of vertebrae.
conformation without making it sound               Colors of the colonial spanish horse
defective, when in actuality it is a           vary widely, and it is through the
strong, serviceable conformation. The          spanish influence that many other
chest is usually vee shaped rather than        north american horse breeds gain


                                 Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p. 339.
                                   SPONENBERG


some of their distinctive colors.             feral herds. Such pure horses became
Colonial spanish horses come in a full        rare fairly early in this century due to
range of solid colors including black,        the practice of shooting the spanish
bay, brown, chestnut, sorrel, grullo,         stallions and replacing them with
zebra and red dun, buckskin,                  draft or Thoroughbred type stallions
palomino, and cream. Other solid              in an attempt to improve the feral
colors such as the lighter chocolate          herds as sources of draft or remount
brown based colors, and even silver           stock. Isolated pockets of uncontami-
dapple, occur rarely as well. In many         nated horses remained in various
horses these base colors are combined         areas of the western United States.
with white hairs or patches to result         These were assembled by early
in grey, roan, paint (tobiano, frame          conservers of the spanish colonial
overo, and sabino overo types) and            horses in a successful effort to conserve
the leopard complex of blankets,              the spanish type. Especially important
roans, and dark spots usually associated      in the conservation of this type was
with the Appaloosa breed. Different           the Brislawn family. Many Brislawn
breeders select for various of these          horses came from herds in Utah,
colors and patterns, but all can be           especially from the Bookcliffs regions.
shown from artwork to be present in           Other feral horses of pure spanish
the spanish horses at the time of the         type were included, but these were
conquest. Many of these colors and            fewer      in    number      and     only
patterns, especially the spotting             incompletely sampled the genetic
patterns, are now rare or extinct in          material in herds that were themselves
some of the present iberian breeds            few in number and widely dispersed.
derived from the same genetic base as         As a result many of the foundation
the spanish colonial horses. At least         feral horses contributed to the overall
one of these patterns, the frame              mix of breeding, but did not found
overo, seems to have been limited to          distinct      strains    of     breeding
the spanish colonial horse, although          representing any of the isolated pockets
from that limited occurrence it has           of pure spanish feral horses. Only a
now spread to a few other breeds.             very few feral strains persist as distinct
Another pattern, the tobiano spotting         strains within the overall colonial
pattern, is somewhat controversial as         spanish horse.
being present in the original spanish            Feral horses of the Cerbat
colonial horses, but is certainly present     Mountains in Arizona have remained
in north american strains known to            as a distinct strain. The Cerbat herds
have descended from it.                       have a known history of purity on
                                              their present range since 1862. The
                                              Cerbat horses from the original capture
FOUNDATION STRAINS OF                         in the 1960s have recently been
THE PRESENT BREED                             supplemented by more recent Bureau
                                              of Land Management captures from
FERAL STRAINS. Some of the purely             the same ranges. The newer horses are
spanish horses remained in isolated           identical in type to the older ones,

                                 Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p. 340.
                  COLONIAL SPANISH HORSE IN THE USA


giving added credence to the history.       had higher immediate value than the
The strain is used by several breeders      purebreds. To the extent that the
of colonial spanish horses. The horses      incursion of outside breeding is
come from a very restricted range,          allowed to continue or to increase the
and are very uniformly conformed.           Riger will be lost as a source of
They also have some unique bloodtypes       spanish colonial breeding, which is a
(bc combination in the system), which       fate typical of most of the feral herds
is another indication of their value        of spanish type.
for conservation. The feral Cerbat              Most feral herds remaining today
herds are still pure, and are being         are crossbred with non-spanish horses.
managed by the Bureau of Land               Recent success, especially with the
Management to remain pure within            Cerbat horses, has stimulated some
themselves. These feral herds will          investigation into the feral herds that
hopefully continue to be a source of        are controlled by the Bureau of Land
this unique genetic type along with         Management for other herds of spanish
animals of the same strain being            type. If other herds of the correct
raised domestically.                        type are found then the history of the
    Another feral group is the Riger        feral horses in the area will be
mustangs from Oregon. These are             considered, along with bloodtyping
feral horses of spanish type that are       information, in order to determine if
selected to be dun, grullo, or red dun.     any of these herds should be added to
This narrow range of colors is              the list of spanish type herds. The
inappropriately considered by some          Pryor Mountain herds are currently
to be overwhelmingly connected to           the subject of such investigations.
pure spanish ancestry. Riger horses         Any pure herds can be managed to
are managed both in the feral herds         guard against incursion of non-spanish
and in herds of private breeders. The       horses. A conservation program that
excess horses from the range herds          helps the purely spanish horses has
are periodically rounded up and sold        several advantages. It keeps the feral
to interested buyers. The Riger herds       colonial spanish horse in the original
currently vary somewhat, and reflect        environment so that selection pressures
a phenomenon common in the feral            keep working to produce environmen-
herds of the western United States.         tally resistant horses. If any such
Some of the Riger horses are still of       spanish herds remain they are probably
spanish type, but others show               very, very few in number, but are
incursions of outside influence,            interesting and essential for
probably Quarter Horse. These               conservation due to their rarity.
crossbred horses are larger than the
original type, and are also excellent
general purpose saddle horses. Such         NATIVE AMERICAN STRAINS. Feral
desirable crossbreds are the reason         horses were not the only group to
for the original rarity of the spanish      contribute to the colonial spanish
colonial horses since the crossbreds        horse of today. Many foundation


                              Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p. 341.
                                 SPONENBERG


horses came from the horse herds of         history of isolation surrounding these
native americans. The native herds          herds. These tribes became important
were especially important early in          as mediators between several of the
this century. Most of these tribal          more western tribes and the US
horses have only influenced the present     government, and it is likely that
breed through individual horses and         exchange of horses between tribes
not through groups of horses that           occurred during the many meetings
continue to be bred pure within the         that were held.
strain. Tribes contributing foundation          Some individual families were
horses to the present breed include         important in preserving the tribal
Cheyenne, Lakota, Paiute, Navajo,           horses. The Whitmire line, also
and a few others. The search is always      including horses from the Corntassle
on for breeders or families that have       family, is a Cherokee line that can be
kept the original type pure, but these      traced back to the removal from
become rarer and rarer as the years go      Etocha, Georgia in 1835. It probably
by.                                         goes back even further as court records
    A few tribal types have continued       from 1775 indicate that these families
to be bred as distinct strains. The         had horses then. These horses were
Choctaw and Cherokee horses are             always kept within the line on the
among these. Both of these tribes, in       female side, although outside stallions
addition to the Chickasaw and Creek,        were occasionally introduced. The
were avid horse breeders in their           stallions were of Mexican, Choctaw,
original homes in the southeast, having     or Comanche breeding, and were
obtained their original stock from the      therefore also spanish. The outside
spanish missions and settlements            stallions were carefully and specifically
before control of the area shifted to       selected to be as similar to the Cherokee
the British. The quality of the native      strain as could be had. This consistency
tribal horses is specifically mentioned     of pure breeding is in stark contrast
as being excellent in various travel        to the usual crossbreeding favored by
journals. Following removal of these        european americans dealing with
tribes to what is now Oklahoma they         horses at this time. Many of the
continued to breed horses. The basis        Cherokee horses that remain today
for these Oklahoma herds was horses         are gaited, and many are unusual
brought from the southeast on the           color patterns. At least some of the
Trail of Tears, but no doubt some           Mexican stallions used were of leopard
western horses were added as well.          type color patterns, while today many
The original horses were spanish,           of the descendants are unusual paint
obtained at fint from the chain of          patterns.
missions across the deep South in               The major Choctaw families that
early spanish colonial days. The            preserved the horses until recently
additions were surely spanish as well       were the Brame, Crisp, Locke, Self,
and some have unique bloodtypes as          Thurman, and Carter families. Horses
evidence of the accuracy of the oral        were run on the open range in areas



                               Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p. 342.
                  COLONIAL SPANISH HORSE IN THE USA


where other types of horses were not        figure not only in the background of
kept. These families had hundreds of        the colonial spanish horses but were
horses of consistent spanish type and       also used in the American Quarter
widely varying colors including the         Horse. Most of the old ranch strains
spanish roan sabino type, leopard and       were spanish in the 1800’s, with the
blanketed, and others. Many have the        later addition of horses from the
unique frame overo paint pattern of         northeast. These additions were
spotting. The Choctaw horses are            probably Morgans, light draft horses,
occasionally gaited.                        Thoroughbreds, and the old, eastern
    From the hundreds of Choctaw            sort of Quarter Horse. The population
and Cherokee horses that were               of ranch horses was bred increasingly
available as recently as 1975 there are     awar from its spanish base. From this
now very few. This is due to the            somewhat consistent spanish base were
dispersal of many large herds following     developed the more common breeds
the deaths of some of the elderly           that are associated with the American
breeders. Probably only 50 pure             West: American Quarter Horse, Paint,
Choctaw and Cherokee horses could           Appaloosa. These have been largely
be assembled in 1988, but some few          separated on the basis of color, but
breeders are trying to assure that this     were originally part of a population
type continues to the future as a part      that included all of these colors. As
of the overall breeding of spanish          selection has proceeded in these breeds
horses.                                     with continuous outcrossing to
    Other native tribal horses are rare     Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horse
and poorly documented. There is             the original spanish influence has
always hope that a few of the old           become minimal.
strains are being quietly kept by some          One rancher that kept the original
tribal breeders. This is especially         spanish type was Ilo Belsky. He
likely in the fullblood communities         ranched in Nebraska and his herd
which tend to be fairly isolated and        began from horses that were
treasure the old original cultures of       accompanying cattle driven from
the tribes. Work is currently underway      Texas in the late 1800’s. The best
to find and assess these strains before     horses were kept, and then were
they are lost as elderly breeders can       selectively bred for most of Ilo’s long
no longer maintain them. This is a          life. Belsky horses are now very rare
high priority for the conservation of       as an unique strain of spanish horses,
the spanish colonial horse, although        but they do figure in the background
only a very, very few of these strains      of many spanish Mustangs and spanish
are likely to persist.                      Barbs. Belsky popularized these horses
                                            as ranch horses very early in the
RANCHER        STRAINS.       Another       history of the conservation of this
important subtype of colonial spanish       type of horse. His horses were
horses is the rancher strains. Some of      commonly roan, grey, dun, or dark
these, such as the Waggoner horses,         colors.


                              Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p. 343.
                                  SPONENBERG


    Another important rancher strain         horses. These are the horses of the
is the Romero strain. These are from         Wilbur-Cruce family. This strain was
a ranch near Cebolla, New Mexico             begun with 25 mares and a stallion
where spanish type horses were raised        that were bought in 1885 from a horse
for generations. The Romero ranch            trader from northern Mexico. The
passed to the McKinley family, but           horses originated in the region of
by now few if any horses of the              Mexico that was the area of Father
original strain are still maintained on      Kino’s missions. This area had been a
the original ranch. These horses figure      source of high quality horses since
heavily in some lines of spanish Barb        around 1700. The original horses
horses.                                      were kept as a closed strain except for
    Gilbert Jones, currently of Finley,      a single horse used for two years in
Oklahoma, was also instrumental in           the 1930’s. This horse is described as
maintaining spanish horses. Due to           having been a paint Morgan from
his moving from Texas to New Mexico          Colorado. The description and location
and thence to Oklahoma his herd had          make it more likely that he was some
influences from a wide variety of            sort of spanish horse. This stallion
sources. Early horses he had included        was traded for some of the Wilbur-
many Kiowa, Comanche, and                    Cruce strain and was turned out on
Chickasaw horses as well as some             the range. The ruggedness of the
from anglo ranchers such as Tom              range combined with his being the
Waggoner. Some of the tribal horses          newly introduced stallion in a range
were from strains of buffalo runners         with older, local stallions, make it
once frequently used on the Llano            doubtful that he contributed much to
Estacado of Texas. These horses were         the herd.
all blended into a single strain. Later         The Wilbur-Cruce herd was
in the development of the strain were        brought to the attention of breeders
many Choctaw and Cherokee horses,            of colonial spanish horses in 1989,
and these represent a high proportion        and illustrates an important point
of the breeding of several Jones             when dealing with landraces. It is
horses today. His herd is one of the         critical to the conservation of the
few sources of Waggoner, Tom East,           genetic resource of these populations
Kiowa and Comanche breeding left             for the organized studbooks to remain
today.                                       open and receptive to inclusion of
    As is typical of landrace type           new pure herds as they are recognized
populations, newly discovered herds          and documented. As time goes on
of colonial spanish horses continue to       such new herds will be recognized
come to the attention of breeders of         only rarely. They will always contain
this type of horse. A recently found         valuable genetic material for
herd of horses in Sasabe, Arizona fits       conservation and are always important
into the rancher strain category,            new discoveries. The Wilbur-Cruce
although it also is the last remnant (so     horses are more variable in type than
far known) of spanish mission type           the horses in the registries, even



                                Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p. 344.
                  COLONIAL SPANISH HORSE IN THE USA


though they do have a spanish origin.        contributions of distinct strains: feral,
This variability is interesting in that      native tribal, rancher, and Mexican.
they are an example of a closed herd         Some other sources have contributed
that includes some of the spanish            strains, such as strains from the
types that differ from the usual             Southeast United States. There his
spanish colonial type favored by the         some discussion among colonial
early conservers of these horses.            spanish horse breeders as to how pure
                                             these strains from Florida (Cracker
                                             horses) and the outer banks of the
MEXICAN STRAINS. In addition to the          East Coast (Banker ponies) are.
feral, tribal, and rancher horses were           One type of southeast horse is the
some from Mexico. These Mexican              Banker pony from the outer banks of
horses usually were single horses and        Virginia and the Carolinas. These
not distinct strains comprising an           descend from spanish horses, but in
entire breeding population. One              some islands have been subject to the
exception was a group assembled by           introductions of a variety of stallions
Ira Yates, who also figures prominently      of other breeds. A good example of
in the history of the Texas Longhorn.        this are the Chincoteague ponies.
These Yates horses are small and are         Recently mustang stallions from out
dun or grullo. The horses were               west have been added to the herds,
originally from 150 miles southwest          and before that there were
of Mexico City. The original group,          introductions of other horses and
assembled in 1950, included two              Shetland ponies. The history for some
stallions and two mares. One stallion        of the other island populations is
was infertile. The line still continues      more vague (Shackelford and
today, which is evidence that                Ocracoke). Some few of these horses
inbreeding need not always result in         are included in the Spanish Mustang
the decline of a line of animals. Other      Registry. Some crossing of the Banker
individual Mexican horses came into          ponies with western horses is
the Jones line, and were horses from         occurring, and to some extent this
the Huasteca tribe. These horses came        could blur the uniqueness of each
from Southeast Mexico, and are               population if ther become totally
responsible for many of the leopard          blended.
type markings in some strains today.             In Florida there are still some
Other Mexican stallions were used in         remnants of the spanish rancher horses
the Jewel Whitmire line of Cherokee          known as Cracker horses. These used
horses, but the exact source of the          to be the favored mount of the
stallions is unknown.                        Florida cowboys (called crackers
                                             because of the whips they used).
SOUTHEAST STRAINS. Most of the               These horses were well adapted to the
colonial spanish horses today can be         environment and were useful in
traced to the above sources and came         working the local, spanish derived
either as individual horses or as            cracker cattle. In the rears of the dust


                               Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p. 345.
                                 SPONENBERG


bowl (1930s) cattle from the western        north american colonial spanish horses.
drought stricken areas were moved           This type varies somewhat from
in, and with them came the                  rangier, more lightly built individuals
screwworm. This radically changed           to others that are more compactly and
the sort of horse needed to work cattle     more heavily made, but the range is
since it was now necessary to rope and      fairly narrow between these two types.
hold cattle for treatment out on the        The original spanish type was probably
range. This required a larger horse         even more variable, including some
than the original type spanish horse,       horses with higher set tails, broader
and it lost favor to the Quarter Horse      chests, and rounder conformation
which had been bred to be bigger and        generally.
heavier. The influx of these western            The reasons for the registries not
cattle therefore caused the threat to       accepting some of what might in fact
both the cracker horse and the cracker      be spanish types are based in the
cattle, although both persist to the        history of the conservation of colonial
present day as rare remnants of once        spanish horses in North America.
numerous types.                             These horses were originally saved as
                                            a small minority of horses in the midst
                                            of a large population of horses based
COLONIAL SPANISH HORSE                      on spanish breeding but then
REGISTRIES                                  deliberately crossed with draft,
                                            Thoroughbred, Morgan, and other
   The descendants of the colonial          types derived from northern european
Spanish horses are rarely referred to       breeding, (Dobie, 1952 and Ryden,
by this name, but rather are usually        1970). The range of spanish types that
called Spanish Mustangs. The term           are likely to be refused registry cannot
Mustang generally carries with it the       really be told externally from other
connotation of feral horse, and this is     types such as horses with Quarter
somewhat unfortunate since many of          Horse or Thoroughbred ancestry. Even
these colonial spanish horses have          though some such horses may be
never had a feral background. These         purely spanish they do pose a much
present day remnants are descendants        greater risk of introducing outside
of the horses that were brought to the      genetic influence than do those horses
New World by the conquistadors, and         of the more uniquely spanish types
include some feral, some rancher,           that are not confusable with these
some mission, and some native               other breed influences. By concentra-
american strains.                           ting on the most unique of the north
   Various registries have had an           american spanish types the registries
important role in conserving the            have also assured that this rare genetic
colonial spanish horses. They have          resource has been conserved with
also focused their breeding on a            minimal contamination, and are to be
specific type of horses, which is the       commended on their foresight for
type described above as typical of          doing so.



                               Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p. 346.
                   COLONIAL SPANISH HORSE IN THE USA


    Certainly there is some wisdom in         colonial type, and both have defined
the registries limiting the range of          this broadly to include both a rangier
allowable types in order to produce           and a heavier type of horse.
consistent, predictable horses. It is             The American Indian Horse
equally important to recognize that           Registry registers spanish type horses
some horses that are considered outside       as O (original) animals, in addition to
the type desired by the registries are        non-spanish types and crosses as R
still entirely of pure spanish breeding.      and RR. The AIHR diligently
It is worthwhile to recognize that            preserves the O types as a separate
horses of newly found purely bred             category. Many of the RIHR O animals
spanish colonial horse herds may be           are also registered with the SMR or
more variable than the present horses         SSMA. The Spanish Barb Breeders
in the registries. When such newly            Association began with horses from
discovered herds are presented for            the SMR and selected for a narrowly
registration, the registries usually          defined specific type. The result of
accept only some and not all of the           this is that offspring of registered
horses from these herds, although the         horses     were     not    necessarily
horses are all indeed of purely spanish       registerable. The SBBR periodically
breeding.                                     plans to put other spanish or north
    The situation of the registries for       African Barb breeding into the horses,
the colonial spanish horse can be             but this has not occurred yet and the
confusing. The Spanish Mustang                horses are still of north american
Registry was founded by Bob Brislawn          spanish colonial origin. The SBBR
and others. It will accept only spanish       horses tend to concentrate the Romero
horses, and the books are open to             and Belsky bloodlines, and are
newly discovered horses that pass a           therefore important as these are rare
visual inspection and consideration           in other registries. The type they
of the horse’s origin and history. The        prefer tends to be the cobbier of the
SMR also includes the Banker ponies.          types.
The Southwest Spanish Mustang                     The Kiger mustang breeders have
Association, begun by Gilbert Jones,          banded together to form an association,
is similar to the SMR and many horses         and register both the pure spanish as
are registered with both the SSMR             well as the crossbred type of the
and the SMR. The SSMA does not                Kiger horses. An association for the
register Banker ponies. If there is a         Florida Cracker horse has recently been
difference in the horses registered           started, and the documentation
with the two registries it is subtle, but     and registration of foundation horses
the SMR horses are largely of Brislawn        are underway. The Chickasaw Horse
origin (along with many others as             Association registers horses that
well), while the SSMA horses tend to          resemble the type kept by the
have more Choctaw, Cherokee, and              Chickasaw tribe. These were very
Jones breeding in them. Both have the         popular horses in the 1800’s. Most of
goal of conserving the purely spanish         the present horses in this association


                                Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p. 347.
                                         SPONENBERG


trace back to horses from the Blood                 Association is conserving only the
Indian Reservation, and are therefore               Florida Cracker type, and is still in its
not lineal descendants of the Chickasaw             early days.
horse. The Florida Cracker Horse


REFERENCES

Cabrera, A. 1945. Caballos de América. Editorial    Ewers, J.C. 1957. The Horse in Blackfoot Indian
   Sudamericana. Buenos Aires.                         Culture. Smithsonian Institution Bureau of
                                                       American Ethnology Bulletin 159, United
Chard, T. 1940. Did the First Spanish Horses           States Government Printing Office,
   Landed in Florida and Carolina Leave Progeny?       Washington DC.
   American Anthropologist. 42:90-106.
                                                    Loch, S. 1986. The Royal Horse of Europe J.A.
Cunningham-Graham, R.B. 1989. The Horses               Allen & Co., Ltd. London. Roe, F. O. 1955.
   of the Conquest. University of Oklahoma             The Indian and the Horse. University of
   Press, Norman, OR.                                  Oklahoma Press, Norman, OR.

Denhardt, R.M. 1975. The Horse of the Ameri-        Ryden, E. 1970. America’s Last Wild Horses.
   cas. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman,          E.P. Dutton & Co. Inc. New York. Spanish
   OR. Dobie, J.F. 1952. The Mustangs                  Mustang Registry. 1975. The Spanish Mustang
   Brambell Eouse. New York.                           Reqistry Handbook Spanish Mustang
                                                       Registry, Oshoto, WY.




                                       Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p. 348.

				
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