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DNA Collected From Marsh Tackys

The Equus Survival Trust (EST) recently sent a team to South Carolina to collect DNA samples and photograph the largest remaining herd of Carolina Marsh Tackys, which traces back to the Civil War. The Trust invited the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) to participate in further identifying the horses in a joint effort to help breeders produce the first ever studbook for the 400 year-old breed.

Nearly 60 head of semi-feral horses of all ages belonging to D.P. Lowther, a third generation breeder, were rounded up to pull mane hair in order to help ensure the conservation of the critically endangered breed. Samples will be sent to Dr. Gus Cothran at Texas A&M University for analysis. The DNA samples are expected to reveal the markers they carry and thereby confirm their connection to Colonial Spanish grouping. DNA will also permanently identify each horse for the studbook. These foundation animals will then be able to be referenced for parentage verification of progeny and help assure the purity of the future bloodstock.

Descending from stock brought by the Spanish, these little horses of the upper southeastern coast are likely some of the original rootstock for the foundation Quarter Horse and the Kentucky Mountain saddle horses. In colonial times they were used on cattle drives, for riding, transport and farming. The breedís ability to safely navigate marshy swamps and tolerate biting insects made them exceptional saddle and hunting horses in the low country. Today its fate rests in the hands of a few dedicated breeders to save them from extinction. A bill has been introduced requesting the breed become designated as the official State Horse of South Carolina. Phone calls, letters and emails might sway the outcome if the public voiced support.

With approximately 100 - 150 horses taking their final stand in the low country of South Carolina, the Equus Survival Trust lists the Carolina Marsh Tacky as Critical.

s Release

Courtesy: The HorseTV Channel News, http://www.horsetv.com


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