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The Abaco Barb, rarest of all horse breeds


Rare breeds that need our help

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The facts behind the terrible status of this very special breed of horse are not complicated to understand. Their decline to just FIVE is a terrifying reality but one that can be redressed and great efforts are underway not only to raise funds, but awareness of their terrible plight. Also a need to horse-educated people involved is a huge necessity. There are many well-meaning people, but those with knowledge are badly needed.

I have to report that i am very happy to say there are now 13 in the herd thanks to the very good works of certain individuals. This number is current as of june 2014!!


This tiny herd of feral horses is all that is left of the Colonial Spanish horses that include Spanish Mustangs, Spanish Barbs, Bankers Wild ponies,Carolina Marsh Tacky's and Florida Crackers. Their DNA shows high degrees of Spanish Barb Traits which include the unusual splash white gene, and these only remaining five hold the pure genetic lineage back to the Old Spanish Horses. This in itself makes the extremely special.

Amongst the five remaining horses is a young stallion who bears these beautiful white splashes, flowing mane and tail and bright coat that characterises this breed. They also have a large and wide forehead, strong, sturdy legs and compact bodies. But most importantly 2 traits which may just prove crucial to this tiny herd-: stamina and endurance.

The horses which are the ancestors of the original horses bought over on ships by the Spanish Conquistadors and other Spanish settlers had dropped down to only THREE by 1960. A number of Abaconians intervened and bought the animals in from the wild to a farm near Treasure Cay. Here the numbers increased to 35, but since 1992 they have been dying off . I believe this has partly been due to lack of knowledge and an inability to provide proper veterinary care when necessary. Stallions in particular died from wound infections from fighting. Mares sadly died giving birth and even worse some foals were killed by packs of dogs. Following this there was also a problem with obesity and no foals have been born since 1998.

In 2002 the horses were finally registered as Albacon Barbs , but by 2004 there were only 12 horses remaining. At the present time there are just the FIVE, three mares and two stallions and these have recently been returned to the wild forest, their ancestral home.


Claire (author) on May 15, 2016:

That is such sad news, another loss due to ignorance and false pride. Thankful for letting me know,I shall add a final paragraph and republish so others who were interested in their saving can know too.

Rebecca Turner on May 15, 2016:

The last of these horses just died so there will be no more, although Now that its too late some people are trying to see if they can recreate the breed which they should have done before it was to late when she was offered to get them off the islands and try to introduce some similar but now blood to them but no she didn't want to do this, she wanted to keep them pure and on the island and refused any kind of help in that regard. And now there are none left.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on July 29, 2015:

A beautiful breed. I enjoyed learning about them. Great hub.

Claire (author) on February 06, 2013:

I am fairly sure it is because of the stress and circumstances of these horses and because as I have said they need more proffesional help.. But thankyou for reading and commenting. The horses so need help.

Jmillis2006 from North Carolina on January 02, 2013:

This is awful, is there a reason there have been no foals born in so long?

Claire (author) on June 05, 2012:

Thankyou so much for your comment and for sharing it on Facebook. It was great doing the research and I hope people step forward to help.

Angela Brummer from Lincoln, Nebraska on June 05, 2012:

Amazing! I will share this on fb!

Claire (author) on May 12, 2012:

Good Morning aviannovice. It is a terrible situation but thankfully there are determined people over there who are working hard to resolve everything. And thankyou for reading and commenting.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on May 12, 2012:

How frighteningly sad. Glad a got to see a few photos.

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