I did something very different yesterday. I went to an auction for “Cracker” Horses.
The Florida Cracker Horse, like the cattle breed of the same name, traces its ancestry to Spanish stock brought to Florida in the 1500’s when discovered by Spain. The genetic heritage of the Cracker Horse is derived from the Iberian Horse of early sixteenth century Spain and includes blood of the North African Barb, Spanish Sorraia and Spanish Jennet (gaited).
The free roaming Cracker Horses evolved over a long period of time by natural selection. They were molded and tempered by nature and a challenging environment into horses that ultimately were to have a large part in the emergence of Florida as a ranching and general agriculture state.
Florida cowmen were nicknamed “Crackers” because of the sound made by their cow whip cracking the air. This name was also given to the small agile Spanish Horse essential for working Spanish cattle. Over the years, Cracker Horses have been known by a variety of names: Chicksaw Pony, Seminole Pony, Marsh Tackie, Prairie Pony, Florida Horse, Florida Cow Pony, Grass Gut and others.
The breed’s survival over the last 90 years resulted from the work of a few families who continued to breed Cracker Horses for their own use. It was these ranching families and individuals whose perseverance and distinct bloodlines that kept the Cracker Horses from becoming extinct. The family names include the Ayers, Harvey, Bronson, Matchett, Partin and Whaley names.
Each year the Florida Cracker Horse Association hosts an auction that sells quality horses from these families each with their own line of the Cracker Horse breed.
I didn’t know what to expect at the auction, thinking at first that it was like a regular auction where I might see horses in not so great condition. Thankfully that was not the case. The horses that were sold were mostly young and very beautiful. The negative part was each horse was sold for very cheap, like $150. I think the most any one went for was $275 and that was a Dunn mare with zebra stripes, older. I guess the bad economy has even made it’s way to the Cracker Horse.
I did meet many devoted people at the auction that breed and sell these Cracker Horses. Their passion for preserving the breed is hard work, dedication and is very admirable. There was also a chicken cook off for lunch right there at the auction grounds on a huge Florida ranch that is owned by the state. We sat under the beautiful Live oak trees enjoying our lunch, it couldn’t be a better Saturday.
If you want more info on the Florida Cracker Horse, go to: http://www.floridacrackerhorses.com
To view my images of the Cracker Horse Auction go to: http://www.iconphotosbykaren.com/Client-Photos-Shows/Cracker-Horse-Auction/19697281_pd2Vn2#1545695139_fR4CqdP