The Chickasaw Horse is developed in the United States and descended from the Spanish Colonial Horses in the early 16 century. They derived their name by the Chickasaw Indians who brought them to the north Florida. Today this breed is extinct, but in many others opinion they are the same as the Florida Cracker horse. They are also compared with the Carolina Marsh Tacky and the Banker horse from North Carolina, but DNA testing proved that are separate breeds. Other names that are used for this breed are: Seminole, Prairie or Cow Pony, Florida horse and Grass Cutter. The Chickasaw horses possessed great speed over short distances. They are also known for their influence on the Quarter Horse being one of their foundations.
The Florida Cracker horse gains its name by the cowboys that rode them and the distinctive cracking of the whips that were using for the horses and the cows. These horses could hunt cattle where other breeds couldnít and travel through the roughest conditions. They are developed by the free roaming Iberian horses, brought to the Americas in 1521 and since then, as the centuries passed over, they adapted to the region and changed by the environment and the natural selection into small horses that are alert, fast, hardy and intelligent, having the easy gaits: running walk, trot and ambling gait. Other horses that have been influenced and have the same genetic base of the Iberian horse were: Mustang, Paso Fino, Criolla, Argentine Criolla, Peruvian Paso and many others.
The breed was prized for transportation and used by soldiers during the War Between the States. They had great talent at working cattle and also used as buggy horses. In the early 20th century and during the Dust Bowl the population number of the breed decreased significantly and the Florida Cracker Horse was replaced by ranchers with the larger and stronger Quarter horse, due the parasitic screwworm infection that had swept the breed and it nearly became extinct. Thanks to the efforts of breed enthusiasts and few families the breed was kept alive and several distinct bloodlines survived. In 1989 were established an official association and a registry. Today there are around 900 horses from whom 100-300 are mares registered in the studbook and they are considered to be rare and endangered breed, although the number has slowly increased.
The average height of the breed is approximately 13.5- 15 hands, mostly- 14 hands and they can weigh between 340 and 450 kg. They have a long lifespan and can exist on sparse feed. Traditional coat colors are mostly solid as black, chestnut, gray, but bay, roan, pinto, sorrel and palomino can appear occasionally.
Their physical features can be described as a small warmblood horse with short, refined head, wide forehead and short ears. Their profiles are straight or slightly concave; eyes alert, mostly dark with white, blue or gray sclera and unusual width between the eyes. The neck is short, fairly narrow and stocky; back is short and strong and chest is wide, shoulders are laid back, slopping and muscled. They have short and slopping croup, with well spring ribs and medium low set tail.
In the past the Florida Cracker horse was used mainly for herding cows and sheep by cowboys, thanks to their herding instinct. Today they are used as horses for pleasure and endurance riding, racing and as cow horse, as well for raining, team roping, penning and pulling wagons.
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