Any horse bred west of the Mississippi may be loosely described as a western horse. But the western horse as a distinguishable type belongs only to that line that sprang from the loins of the Spanish horse. The progenitors of the Spanish horse were brought to our shores by the Conquistadors & Spanish Cavaliers in the early 1500’s. the ancestors of the horses brought here by the Spaniards were bred on the vast windswept wasteland of North Africa. From them came the Spanish Barb horse ridden by the Moslems in their conquest of Spain.
The barbs as they were called were not Arabian horses, although they share the same lineage. Of the twelve thousand horsemen who followed Tarik into Spain only a handful were actually Arabs. The rest mainly Berbers with a thin sprinkling of Zenetes and the other North Africans would hardly have journeyed to Arabia for horse, when proud stud of their own were so abundantly available. Many records support the conclusion that the vast majority of Moslems rode Spanish barbs.
Descendants of these horses in the 16th century were brought into Mexico & Florida they then migrated to Texas and the great southwest, known as the Mustang horse, and into the Carolinas & Virginia, as the Chickasaw horse.
Today, the Mustang population is managed and protected by the Bureau of Land Management. Controversy surrounds the sharing of land and resources by the free ranging Mustangs with the livestock of the ranching industry, and also with the methods with which the federal government manages the wild population numbers.
The National Chickasaw Horse Association is presently located at Clarinda, Iowa, and members of this group are registering and developing a type of horse which closely conforms to the size, colorations and characteristics of the original Chickasaw Horse which made such a valuable contribution to Chickasaw and American History.
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