Our Choctaw & Cherokee Horses
The Power, Daring and Courage of the Conquistadors combined with the Strength, Endurance and Wisdom of the Choctaw and Cherokee People.
Our Choctaw and Cherokee Indian Horses also known as Spanish mustangs are a rare and threatened breed developed by Native Americans from the Spanish horses that arrived in this hemisphere with the Conquistadors. They are a truly American horse developed through centuries of careful selection by Native American breeders.
Our conservation breeding program is managed
- to protect and increase genetic diversity with the surviving horses,
- to produce the best conformation and health in the horses
- to maintain the qualities that make the breed so interesting and important
- to develop each horse to achieve its best skills and talents and to showcase the diversity and strength of the breed.
Intelligence, Athleticism and strong human affiliation are hallmarks of these horses.
Our commitment to the horses began through our involvement with the LIVESTOCK CONSERVANCY (formerly known as the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy) which lists the horses as one of the critically threatened breeds. With the advice of Dr. Phil Sponenberg, veterinarian, rare breed specialist and decades long advocate for these horses, a group was selected with Darlene and Bryant Rickman from their foundation herd in Oklahoma.
Two stallions and four mares and a colt arrived here in the summer of 2007.
The following year the Rickmans were notified that the grazing lease on the 150 square mile mountain where the horses had run since the removal times was being cancelled. Forced to remove the horses from the mountainside to pasture, the Rickmans placed horses across the country.
As part of this effort to protect the foundation herd, a second wave of horses arrived in Virginia from Oklahoma in 2008. Once again the horses were selected for genetic compatibility and diversity, conformation and athletic potential and good dispositions. See The Spirit of Blackjack Mountain to learn more about the foundation herd and their history and current news.
These horses are now showing their potential and perform well in numerous equestrian endeavors.
- Hunter/jumper competition
Sometimes referred to as Colonial Spanish horses or Spanish Mustangs, Choctaw horses share conformational features that distinguish them from other breeds.
They stand between 13 and 15 hands at the withers and weigh between 700 and 900 pounds. The horses are short-coupled and deep-bodied. Their fronts are narrow and the legs join in an “A” rather than a “U” shape. This feature allows them to shed heat easily which contributes to their performance in endurance events.
The croup is sloping and the tail is set low. The horses have an unusually long stride and tend to have smooth gaits. Some are gaited.
The horses have heads with broad foreheads and narrow faces and profiles may be either straight or convex. Their manes and tails are thick and long and some of them are curly. Their feet are unusually tough and many work unshod.
The horses are renowned for their gentle dispositions, even temperaments and deep sense of human affiliation. They attach themselves to people they trust and become devoted to them.
Though many horse owners believe that the age of a pony and the age of a child together should equal 15 or 20 years, the Choctaw placed their young toddlers on horseback and selected their horses for gentleness.
Among horse breeds, the Spanish mustangs are unusual in that they contain all color alleles. The Indians did not select against any color and some peoples such as the Cherokee selected for unusual color and patterns.
Every solid color is found within the breed including black, grullo, bay, all shades of dun, buckskin, chestnut, palomino and cream. Even “pink” horses – a warm variety of “amber champagne” exist within the breed. White markings and patterns such as Frame, sabino, and tobiano are very common as well as the leopard complex of colors of blankets, leopards and varnish roans.