Carolina Marsh Tacky

The Carolina Marsh Tacky or Marsh Tacky is a horse breed of South Carolina that has existed for 400 years, but is just recently having a studbook created for the breed.

The Equus Survivial Trust estimates 100-150 Marsh Tacky horses remain.


Carolina Marsh Tacky horses may have any one of the common coat colors, and some may have primitive dun markings, such as dorsal stripes and zebra leg stripes. Their manes and tails are usually long, which point back to their Spanish heritage. They have powerful but narrow chests. They are known for being easy keepers, and are gentle, good-natured horses.

History and Origin

The Carolina Marsh Tacky's history dates back to the time of the Conquistadors. They descended from horses the Spanish brought with them. During colonial times, these Marsh Tackys were used for cattle drives, for transportation, for farming, and for riding. They were popular among the Native American people, especially the Chickasaw, Cherokee, Seminole, and Choctaw tribes that lived in the region. The breed was known as being able to tolerate the marshy swamps and the biting insects of the low country. It is possible that these horses are some of the original rootstock used for developing the American Quarter Horse as well as the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse.

Today's attempt at saving the breed from extinction

Today, the Marsh Tacky has largely disappeared, but there are still a few dedicated breeders. There are only 100-150 horses left in the low country of South Carolina; the Equus Survival Trust has listed the status of the Carolina Marsh Tacky as Critical. As an attempt to save the breed from extinction, the Equus Survival Trust has sent a team to South Carolina, where the Carolina Marsh Tacky mainly lives, to take photos of the largest remaining herd of this breed, as well as collect DNA samples. This same herd can trace its heritage all the way back to the time of the Civil War. DP Lowther, a third generation breeder, owns nearly 60 head. To help save the breed from extinction, a bill has been introduced in South Carolina designating that this breed be made the official state horse.

The Equus Survival Trust

The Equus Survival Trust, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is dedicated to helping conservation efforts of over 25 endangered breeds. It is dedicated to protecting the genetic diversity of these historic breeds, as well as to enhance their survival breeds by educating the world, using media support and grassroots networking.

Reference and External Links

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