Colonial Spanish Horse | Wikipedia audio article
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Colonial Spanish Horse | Wikipedia audio article

September 6, 2019


Colonial Spanish horse is a term popularized
by D. Philip Sponenberg for a group of horse breed and feral populations descended from
the original Iberian horse stock brought from Spain to the Americas. The ancestral type
from which these horses descend was a product of the horse populations that blended between
the Iberian horse and the North African Barb. The term encompasses many strains or breeds
now found primarily in North America. The status of the Colonial Spanish horse is considered
threatened overall with seven individual strains specifically called out. The horses are registered
by several entities. The Colonial Spanish horse, a general classification,
is not synonymous with the Spanish Mustang, the name given to a specific standardized
breed derived from the first concerted effort of conservationists in the United States to
preserve horses of Colonial Spanish Type. Colonial Spanish horse blood markers have
been found in some mustang populations. Small groups of horses of Colonial Spanish horse
type have been located in various groups of ranch-bred, mission, and Native American horses,
mostly among those in private ownership.==Characteristics==
Colonial Spanish horses are generally small; the usual height is around 14 hands (56 inches,
142 cm), and most vary from 13.2 to 14 hands (54 to 56 inches, 137 to 142 cm). Weight varies
with height, but most are around 700 to 800 pounds (320 to 360 kg). Their heads vary somewhat
between long, finely made to shorter and deeper, generally having straight to concave (rarely
slightly convex) foreheads and a nose that is straight or slightly convex. The muzzle
is usually very fine, and from the side the upper lip is usually longer than the lower,
although the teeth meet evenly. Nostrils are usually small and crescent shaped. They typically
have narrow but deep chests, with the front legs leaving the body fairly close together.
When viewed from the front, the front legs join the chest in an “A” shape rather than
straight across as in most other modern breeds that have wider chests. The withers are usually
sharp instead of low and meaty. The croup is sloped, and the tail is characteristically
set low on the body. From the rear view they are usually “rafter hipped” meaning the muscling
of the hip tapers up so the backbone is the highest point. Hooves are small and upright
rather than flat.==History in the Americas==Horses first returned to the Americas with
the conquistadors, beginning with Columbus, who imported horses from Spain to the West
Indies on his second voyage in 1493. Domesticated horses came to the mainland with the arrival
of Cortés in 1519. By 1525, Cortés had imported enough horses to create a nucleus of horse-breeding
in Mexico. Horses arrived in South America beginning in 1531, and, by 1538, Florida,
and scattered throughout the Americas. By one estimate there were at least 10,000 free-roaming
horses in Mexico by 1553.In 2010, the Colonial Spanish mustang was voted the official state
horse of North Carolina.==Modern horses==
Many gaited horse and stock horse breeds in the United States descend from Spanish horses,
but only a few bloodlines are considered to be near-pure descendants of original Spanish
stock. Though many are described as horse breeds, it can be debated they are separate
breeds or multiple strains of a single large breed. The Livestock Conservancy lists them
as one breed, but also calls them “a group of closely related breeds” Various bloodlines
or groups of Colonial Spanish horses are registered a number of different Associations.Although
it is a widely held belief that modern mustangs descend from the original Spanish mustangs,
genetic analysis supports “the hypothesis that the free-ranging horses in the Great
Basin descend from escaped or released domestic draft, saddle, and cavalry animals.” but where
they have been found to have descended from the original Spanish horses, the Bureau of
Land Management (BLM) and other agencies attempt to preserve them. Blood typing, along with
phenotype and historical documentation have been used to confirm significant Spanish ancestry
of a few BLM managed herds. In 1985, the BLM awarded a grant to the University of California,
Davis, to conduct a three-year study on mustang genetics, including the percentage of original
(Spanish) mustang blood. Ann T. Bowling and R. W. Touchberry did not find much evidence
of Spanish genetics in the Great Basin horses tested, but follow up work by Gus Cothran,
then of University of Kentucky, carried on the study and found Spanish markers in the
Pryor Mountain and Cerbat herds outside the Great Basin, and Sulphur Springs herd within
it, later confirming the findings for the Sulphur Springs herd through mtDNA sequencing
analysis. Sponenberg has confirmed that the four herds listed below meet the qualifications
of Colonial Spanish jorses.Colonial Spanish horses include numerous strains, which may
be feral populations or standardized breeds: Abaco Barb (extinct since 2015)
Banker horse (eastern US; Corolla and Shackleford Islands)
Carolina Marsh Tacky Florida Cracker Horse
Baca-Chica Belsky horse
Havapai (Grand Canyon Strain) Spanish Mustang.
Santa-Cruz Island Horses Wilbur-Cruce Mission horse
Populations of mustangs considered to be Colonial Spanish strains:
Kiger mustang Pryor Mountain mustang
Sulphur Springs mustang Cerbat mustang
Tribal Horses Chickasaw horse
Choctaw horse Chincoteague pony (Assateague horse) – dubious,
but widely asserted Gila Bend mustang
Original Indian horse CayuseA number of breeds in Latin America
with Iberian DNA markers are of Spanish type and origin. Many of these breeds come from
different North American foundation bloodstock, and some have haplotypes not found in North
America.==Notes====
References====
Sources==Bennett, Deb (1998). Conquerors : the roots
of New World horsemanship (1st ed.). Solvang, Calif.: Amigo Publications. ISBN 0-9658533-0-6.National
Research Council (2013). Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program:
A Way Forward (Report). Washington D.C.: The National Academies Press.The Livestock Conservancy.
“Conservation Priority”. The Livestock Conservancy. Retrieved December 2, 2017.Sponenberg, D.
Philip. “North American Colonial Spanish Horse Update July 2011”. Center for America’s First
Horse. Retrieved December 3, 2017.

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