Horse Tales

by Pasadena Adjacent

Abaco Barb Colonial Horses displaying the ‘Splash White’ pattern520

Back when we were doing business with the Vaquero leather carver over at Broken Horn Saddle Shop in Baldwin Park, I came across a ‘Breyer Horse’ modeled after the Abaco Barb. I was familiar with the feral ponies of Assateague Island and the Mustangs of the Southwest, but not other wild herds of North America. Turns out there are a few such as the Banker Horse of Corolla Island and the Sable Island Horse of Canada. Horses who, like the Andalusian, can trace their ancestry back to Spain and the Barbs of North Africa.

Abaco Barbs are the descendants of Spanish horses who survived a shipwreck on the Bahamian Island of Abaco. By contrast, the Mustangs got their start by escaping into the wild where Indians found them and tamed them. Then in 1680 the Southwest Pueblo tribes revolted against the Spaniards. They seized their horses, which they used as trade between other tribes. The Mission strain of the Choctaws and Cherokee ‘Colonial Horse’ made it’s way west once again, via the Trail of Tears. Mustangs of the west have since interbred with domestic horses. Escapees from the boundaries of human ownership; though there remain isolated herds of relative purity such as the Cruce Mustangs. The Abaco Barb bloodline is a different matter. It’s lineage IS pure. Now there is one mare standing. They should rename her Eve.

According to Meghan, for the Wild Horses of Abaco Preservation Society

The “end game” will be the continuation of the very old and unique genetics that Nunki carries. Though she is the last Abaco Spanish Colonial, there are other pockets of very pure Spanish Colonials in the world and those populations will be used to continue Nunki’s line (current interest is in the Cruce herd). Nunki carries a rare Splash White gene—splash white patterns were dominant in our herd, and did not manifest “lethal white” that is sometimes associated with splash white in domestic breeding programs. We have not been able to find Spanish Colonials with these colour patterns yet in our search around the world, and that makes Nunki even more important on the preservation scale.

This breed came back from three animals in the mid 1960s with no apparent negative signs of inbreeding. If we are successful in our recent attempts, new blood from several outside Spanish Colonial-type stallions will be introduced, providing the genetic variety needed for a sustainable herd.

Does it bring back the Abaco Barb?