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Home arrow Equestrian arrow The Iberian Horse arrow Cracker Horse



Cracker Horse Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 18 December 2012
During a recent visit to the USA I came across a quite unexpected link to the Iberian horse - the Cracker. Now although it's near Christmas, these creatures have nothing to do with the traditional English table decoration popular at this time, but rather (and this was the "unexpected" part) with Florida cowboys.

 Cracker Cowboy by Carlton Ward

I have never associated Florida with cattle and much less with cowboys (all swamps and alligators and space centres) but a marvellous exhibition of painting and photography in Tampa airport soon put that right.

The "Cracker Horse" gets its name - like the Cracker Cow - from the Florida cowmen who were nicknamed "Crackers" because of the sound made by the bull whip which they always carry cracking the air. The whip is well illustrated in Carlton Ward's magnificent photo above.

Florida horses, like the cattle, trace their ancestry to the stock brought over with the Spanish colonisers in the 1500s. Their blood-line includes North African Barb, Sorraia, and the gaited Jennet, with a genetic base generally the same as that of the Spanish Mustang and Paso Fino. Florida Crackers are themsleves gaited horses, and the breed association recognizes two gaits, the running walk and amble, in addition to the normal walk, trot, canter and gallop. So in one corner of the New World there remains a wonderful link with the Old, nowhere better illustrated than in Carton Ward's evocative documentation of Florida heritage. Unfortunately I didn't have opportunity to meet any of these creatures in the flesh on this occasion, but now I know about them, what better excuse for a return visit?

Find out more about the Florida Cracker at:

http://www.floridacrackerhorses.com/history.htm

http://www.carltonward.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjmcCt-tH4g

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Cracker_Horse

 

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 27 December 2012 )
 
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