Nice article about our South Carolina State horse. South Carolina is given way too little credit for their role in winning the Revolutionary War, but this horse sure played it's role.
John, I enjoyed that read. I am woefully ignorant about horses, even though I did time working at a city horse riding stable. Mostly shoveled cr@p and tossed hay.
But, I did not know about Marsh Tackies.
Thanks, for sharing. Brad
@BanjoLink - re. the special gait of the Marsh Tackies; I wonder if it's anything like the Tölt gait of the Icelandic horses? The Tölt could easily be mistaken for pacing - as both near legs and both off legs move together (rather than left or right diagonals), but if you listen to the hoofbeats, you can hear that the near and off pairs of feet don't touch the ground at the same time (as they do in a pacer) - they come down separately, in an even, four beat tempo. The pattern of hoof beats is this:
Near Hind - Near Fore - Off Hind - Off Fore
so each hind foot touches down before the near fore - unlike a pacer, where the near feet touch the ground together, and both off feet do the same. The Tölt is shown from about 1 min 18 seconds on:
That clip also shows another lateral gait of the Icelandic - the Flugskeið ('flying pace'). Again, it's an oddity, because the lateral feet don't land at the same time; the hind feet land slightly ahead of the fores. And the film shows that when the Icelanders call it the 'flying' pace, they aren't kidding!
From info I've found on the net, the Tölt sounds similar to the 'rack' of the American Saddlebred, and the 'running walk' of the Tennessee Walking horse. But (again, just going by what I've dug up on the 'net), I understand that for the Saddlebred to do the rack at speed, the horse has to hollow its back; and that for the Walking Horse to do the running walk at speed, each hind foot has to overstep the hoofprints of the forefoot by 6" to 18". In contrast, the film clip I've linked to of the Icelandic doing the Tölt shows the horse moving at speed, but with a rounded back, and that the hind feet land well behind the hoofprint of the forefoot on the same side.
From the slow motion film in the above clip, it appears that the horse always has at least two feet on the ground, and some of the time, three - which I was reminded of when I read this part about the Marsh Tackies:
"They moved in such a way that they had more foot in motion at any given time than other breeds of horse," she said, "meaning that if you're in a muddy, mucky situation, you've got your feet moving more independently of each other. And so we hypothesize this is a way for them not to get stuck in the mud as easily as other horses."
The Icelandic has been preserved intact and without any cross-breeding for centuries. In 982 AD, the Icelandic Althing (parliament) passed a law stating that no horses can be imported into Iceland from any other country - not even to take part in a show or competition - and if an Icelandic is exported (as many are) it can never return. The law has been rigidly enforced ever since.
Thanks for posting that very interesting article, John - and I do hope that the breeders do use the genetic data they have to both preserve the breed and its genetic diversity.
With best regards,
Jack .... that is interesting stuff. Until this article I never knew much about the Marsh Tackies gait except that I knew they were superior horses in the swampy areas in the low country of South Carolina. My wife is from Camden where horse breeding and racing is part of their culture, but around there you never hear about March Tackies. I am delighted that there is an association that is keeping them going and hopefully will flourish. It is a shame that there is the possibility that a beautiful horse like the Marsh Tackie will one day disappear.
@BanjoLink - re. the survival of the Marsh Tackie; it may be the case that those determined to preserve the breed may be few in number, John, but I'd remind you of the words of Samuel Adams, signatory of the Declaration of Independence:
"It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men."
All in all, I'd say that history proves Mr Adams was right, wouldn't you?
Keep the faith, bro! And best regards,
Yes Jack ... I will go with Mr. Adam's thoughts ..... and I think he was right.
As I understand it, part of the problem is that so many of the horses are related so there is only so much inbreeding that can be done and still maintain healthy horses. Hopefully someone smarter than me is working on the solution.
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