Carolina Marsh Tacky - Conservation

Conservation

In the lowcountry region of coastal Georgia and South Carolina, the Carolina Marsh Tacky was the most common horse for most of the breed's history. As the automobile became more common during the 20th century, breed numbers declined, and the Marsh Tacky was thought to have gone extinct during the 1980s and 1990s. Today there are 276 living animals recognized by the breed registry, including 153 mares and 123 stallions and geldings. The Equus Survival Trust considers the breed to be at critical/nearly extinct levels, meaning that there are fewer than 100 breeding mares in existence. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy considers the Marsh Tacky (which they consider a strain of the Colonial Spanish horse) to be at critical levels, meaning that there are fewer than 200 annual registrations in the United States and an estimated global population of less than 2,000. Representatives of the ALBC state that the breed numbers will have to increase to an estimated 1,000 members to ensure permanent survival. On June 11, 2010, a bill was signed into law that made the Carolina Marsh Tacky the state heritage horse of South Carolina.

In 2006, the ALBC began investigating the Marsh Tacky to see if it was truly a descendent of Spanish stock, and during the organization's initial field investigations it was found that many surviving members of the breed fit the physical type of Colonial Spanish stock. In 2007, the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy collaborated with the Equus Survival Trust to collect DNA samples and photo-document the largest herd in South Carolina, considered to be the largest remaining herd, with a heritage tracing back to the American Civil War. DNA testing was undertaken in an effort to identify horses for a new studbook, reveal what DNA markers the breed carries, and map the breed's genetic place among all other horse breeds worldwide. Sixty horses were tested in the effort.

Read more about this topic:  Carolina Marsh Tacky

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