In The Beginning…
Everything starts somewhere and it is no different with the Spanish Mustangs of the Choctaw/Cherokee/Huesteca and Gilbert Jones Southwest Spanish bloodlines.
Below the Rickman share photographs from their library of the earliest stallions and mares.
North American Colonial Spanish Horse
By: D. Phillip Sponenberg, DVM, PhD, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Colonial Spanish Horses are of great historic importance in the New World, and are one of only a very few genetically unique horse breeds worldwide.
They have both local and global importance for genetic conservation.
They are sensible, capable mounts that have for too long been relegated a very peripheral role in North American horse breeding and horse using.
The combination of great beauty, athletic ability, and historic importance makes this breed a very significant part of the historic heritage of North America.
Colonial Spanish Horses are rarely referred to by this name. The usual term that is used in North America is Spanish Mustang.
The term “mustang” carries with it the unfortunate connotation of any feral horse of any genetic background, so that this term serves poorly in several regards.
Many Colonial Spanish horses have never had a feral background, but are instead the result of centuries of careful breeding.
Also, only a very small minority of feral horses (mustangs) in North America qualifies as being Spanish in type and breeding.
The important part of the background of the Colonial Spanish Horses is that they are indeed Spanish.
These are descendants of the horses that were brought to the New World by the Conquistadors, and include some feral, some rancher, some mission, and some native American strains.
BLM and Colonial Spanish horses are Different
Colonial Spanish type is very rare among modern feral mustangs, and the modern Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Mustangs should NOT be confused with Colonial Spanish horses, as the two are very distinct with only a few exceptions to this rule.
Colonial Spanish horses descend from horses introduced from southern Spain, and possibly North Africa, during the period of the conquest of the New World.
In the New World, this colonial resource has become differentiated into a number of breeds, and the North American representatives are only one of many such breeds throughout the Americas.
These horses are a direct remnant of the horses of the Golden Age of Spain, which type is now mostly or wholly extinct in Spain.
The Colonial Spanish horses are therefore a treasure chest of genetic wealth from a time long gone.
In addition, they are capable and durable mounts for a wide variety of equine pursuits in North America, and their abilities have been vastly undervalued for most of the last century.
These are beautiful and capable horses from a genetic pool that heavily influenced horse breeding throughout the world five centuries ago, yet today they have become quite rare and undervalued.
(the rest of Dr. Phillip Sponenberg’s article can be found at here.)
Visit our Gilbert H. Jones page for more on his legacy.