Abaco's Horses Declared Most Critically Endangered Breed on the Planet.

Victoria Tollman, Executive Director of the Equus Survival Trust, wrote the following in response to a query from Horse Illustrated Magazine as they prepared an article on the Abaco Horses:

"The Abacos are part of the Colonial Spanish horses that include the Spanish Barbs, Spanish Mustangs, Banker Wild "ponies", the Florida Crackers and the Carolina Marsh Tackys. Much like a group of Warmblood breeds, this historical group contains several related breeds and many strains within those breeds that have been greatly separated by time, distance and varying recipes but all share a common link; they trace back to the three general Spanish types (war, work, and general riding) horses that the Spanish brought to Americas during the exploration and colonization of the New World".

(Horses first returned to the Western Hemisphere after Columbus's second voyage. The Caribbean held important breeding stations for horses for exported both to North and South America for the colonies.Many ships transporting horses were wrecked on the islands of the Caribbean, Abaco is the site of over a dozen Spanish wrecks).

"The Abacos are remnants of this and have managed to survive time, mother nature, and the march of man. A handful is all that is left. They are the most critically endangered breed on the planet."

Initial DNA studies show the Abacos show a high degree of Spanish traits, including the very unusual splash white gene. Abacos, perhaps even more so than the other Spanish Colonial breeds, are very significant as in relation to conservation because they represent a time capsule of genetics of the first area Iberian horses to reach the New World - genetics that were present during the Golden Age of Spain at the time the New World was being settled. More funds for studies are needed to better understand how the Abacos fit into the general Colonial Spanish family and what unique traits they alone may be able to contribute back to the world.


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