Florida Cracker horses, the small saddle horses that roam Florida’s pine and palmetto flatlands, share an ancient bloodline dating all the way back to Spain. This breed is widely recognized and known by both riders and horse lovers.
Emily Copeland specializes in training PRE, PSL and Iberian Sport horses for dressage competition. She has successfully competed her own horses at FEI level such as Festivo RS and Falero Hacal with great success.
Purebred Spanish horses have been carefully developed over millennia, becoming legendary for their beautiful grace, majestic movement, and inherent intelligence. As ideal companions for riders of all levels and their sturdy build make them great endurance horses – the Andalusian breed offers versatility across dressage, show jumping and trail riding disciplines.
These stunning horses make not only enjoyable rides, but also excellent breeding stock. Their calm temperament makes training them effortless; unlike some breeds they are not easily stressed by new situations or environments and possess high intelligence making them quick learners; two traits essential for the success of any equine sport activity.
The Andalusian is a medium-sized horse, typically white or light gray in color with long flowing mane and tail, small rounded ears, a short head with expressive features, small expressive eyes and small, round ears that stand off to one side. Their unique look is due to over one century of selective breeding with careful consideration given to morphology, movement and character traits. European colonists introduced them from Spain into America which later had an influence over other breeds in this country.
Moonbrook Farm provides purebred Andalusian horses for sale at competitive prices, and have many pre-bred mares which are already pregnant or available for foaling – you can even purchase a stud colt!
As Colonial Spanish Horse herds have decreased in number, those that remain are having more of an influence on their genetic makeup. While all three breeders associations – SMR, SBBA and SSMA – recognize that mixed conformation herds may still contribute to breeding purebred colonial Spanish horses, they urge breeders to be selective when selecting horses for this group; their primary concern lies with taller, heavier types infiltrating herds which historically tend toward lighter types.
New herds of Colonial Spanish horses keep being discovered, like those kept by D. P. Lawther on coastal islands in South Carolina and Georgia. His Marsh Tackies herd has its own distinct conformation and history that distinguishes it from others recognized by SMR, SBBA, or SSMA; its color pattern also distinguishes it from others recognized. Breeders working to keep it going have done everything in their power to maintain this phenotype – these efforts have paid off!
Breeders have taken an interest in the feral herd on Kiger Island in Oregon. These horses feature dun, grullo or red dun phenotypes as well as Spanish DNA types – making these herds valuable contributors to Colonial Spanish horse heritage, although careful preservation remains a necessity.
Florida Crackers are small saddle horses that serve as living links to Florida’s cattle ranching legacy. While not the most glamorous-looking of breeds, these hardy horses make them perfect for herding, driving and other ranch activities such as herding cattle. These little wonders were originally known as Chickasaw Ponies or Florida Cow Ponies before changing names to Florida Horses; today many share an Iberian lineage alongside Andalusians, Garranos Sorraias and Jennets.
Cracker breeding dates back to the 15th century when Spanish officials brought cattle and horses from Europe into Florida for ranching use during this era of American history. Florida became one of the major sources for beef during both sides of the Civil War from these horses’ farms in Florida.
In Florida’s early 1800s, cowboys known as Crackers earned their name from the distinctive sound of their whips cracking against the breeze. Cracker horses proved invaluable for working the cattle and traversing Florida’s rugged terrain.
Today, the Florida Cracker horse breed is an endangered one that is carefully maintained by dedicated families and breeders. Additionally, its promotion by the Florida Cracker Horse Association sets standards for breeding and training this unique colonial Spanish breed while helping ensure its health through various activities like riding and trail rides.
As with other landraces, new herds of Colonial Spanish Horses continue to attract breeders’ interest. Some herds exhibit distinctive conformations while others can vary widely; additionally, certain horses possess rare blood types which makes understanding how these herds are classified and bred even more vital.
As is true with most domesticated horses, the Colonial Spanish Horse’s head is long and finely made, featuring slightly convex nasal features with nostrils that open readily during movement or exertion. Cannon bones tend to have round cross sections while its first vertebra (atlas) tends to be lobed more than in other breeds of domestic horses. Other distinguishing features include long, fine ears as well as an unusually thin neck.
The Cerbat and Banker horses of Florida represent two subtypes within the Colonial Spanish Horse breed; similar horses can also be found on Ocracoke Island as Banker pony herds. Although these smaller-bred Spanish breeds appear slightly different from many others, they remain considered Colonial Spanish in character and of great conservational value due to their easily identifiable features – their appearance makes it easy for users to identify as distinct breeds while safeguarding genetic heritage from outside influences. Registries that accept them exercise great foresight by only accepting horses that are authentic Spanish in appearance despite also possessing some Quarter Horse or Thoroughbred genes in their background.