Abaco Barb

About the Breed

Abaco Barbs are thought to originally have been brought to the Abaco Island in the late 1800's from Cuba for use in the logging industry. But in 2002, DNA analysis pointed to the horses having much older descendants. They were later accepted by the Horse of The Americas Registry as the Abaco Barbs, descendants of horses brought over at the time of Columbus's explorations (around the year 1402). More horses may have been brought over as the logging industry expanded. Then in the 1940's they were abandoned when tractors replaced them. They survived and the herd grew to 200 horses. In the 1960's the human population expanded into their habitat which resulted in the unfortunate death of an unsupervised child trying to ride a "tamed" wild horse sealed their grave fate. All but 3 horses were killed in outrage by the people of the island.

With the help from locals, in 1992 the herd had grown to 30 individuals only to fall once again. Hurricane Floyd hit the island in 1999 and forced the horses to take refuge on a farm. There they were exposed to chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers. Reproduction had stopped completely. Several deaths occurred over the next few years caused the numbers to fall to single digits.

Help came in 2004 when the Bahamian Government bestowed upon W.H.O.A. (Wild Horses Of Abaco) a large portion of land in Treasure Cay, Abaco, thus creating a formal sanctuary for the remaining horses. All the mares and one stallion were moved to a Preserve in their old habitat in the forest in 2004. Some died due to pre-existing conditions, leaving a single mare Nunki. Critically endangered, plans were set in motion to harvest eggs from Nunki and pair them with the from a genetically compatible stallion. Extensive searching and DNA analysis lead to Spanish Mustang stallion, Wayward Wind, being selected to father the next generation. Nunki passed away before an eggs were able to be harvested. Living tissue was taken and carried to ViaGen in Texas. There, her cells reproduced and ViaGen has offered to provide two clones.

Quick Facts

Height: 13.0 - 14.2 hands

Weight: 850 - 1000 pounds

Coat Colors: Primarily black or bay, other colors such as dun and roan have been seen

Markings: Pinto (commonly Splash Overo)

Conformation: Large, rangy head with broad forehead & convex nose. Body is short & stocky. Tail is low set & as luxurious as is the mane.

Common Uses: Logging

Temperament: Proud, willful

Place of Origin: Under debate, possibly Spain or Cuba

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