A small horse native to South Carolina, the Carolina Marsh Tacky is a breed of Spanish descent, having been left behind when the Spanish returned to Europe with their treasures in the 1500s. Originally left feral, the attributes of the Marsh Tacky were quickly realised and the horse became popular amongst southern cowboys for herding cattle, endurance riding and general farm work.
While the breed is small, averaging 14 hands in height, it is strong and able-bodied, well suited to the swampy lowlands of South Carolina. The Marsh Tacky was so well suited to difficult terrain that it was widely utilised as a war mount during the American Revolution. Following the Civil War, the Carolina Marsh Tacky became a popular agricultural animal, working tirelessly over the land, ploughing and transporting.
Characterised by an athletic and well balanced build, with powerful, sure-footed legs, a strong face and a thick mane and tail, the Marsh Tacky is both distinctive and handsomely conformed. Common colours observed in the breed include chestnut, bay, roan, grullo and black.
Today it is estimated that less than 300 Carolina Marsh Tackies exist anywhere in the world, putting it at a critical point for survival.
During the Second World War, many Welsh Tackies were stationed along the beaches of the South Carolina coasts to prevent U-boat or enemy landings.