Horse Isle 3: Big Book of Breeds
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Big Book of Breeds
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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: Chickasaw   [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The Chickasaw is a rare American horse breed, which is named after the Chickasaw tribe which created it. It is mostly known for its instrumental part in the development of the American Quarter Horse.

The ancestors of the Chickasaw horses were Spanish horses, which were brought to America in the 16th century, by Spanish explorers who made their way to the territory of the Native American Chickasaw tribe. A dispute between the Chickasaw people and the Spanish explorers led to a quarrel which resulted with the Spanish explorers fleeing. During the fight, the Chickasaw members managed to capture some of the Spanish horses.

The Chickasaw tribe bred the Spanish horses, and over the years their breeding program generated a small horse with a compact and muscular build, who was strong, agile, and extremely fast. In fact, the tribe constantly tested the speed of their horses over a distance which usually measured a quarter-mile. Generation after generation, these horses became faster and faster, until they were the fastest horses for a distance of a quarter-mile.

The hardiness, agility, and- most importantly- speed, of the Chickasaw horses captured the attention of the American settlers in Virginia and the two Carolinas. These settlers bought many Chickasaw horses, and some of them crossed their horses with Spanish Barbs and different English breeds. The result of this crossbreeding program was a new breed which will become an American icon: the American Quarter Horse.

Originally a common breed, the Chickasaw started to disappear when the more popular American Quarter Horse replaced it as a ranch and cattle horse. Another reason for its demise was the need for horses with better endurance, which led to the crossbreeding of Chickasaw horses with horses of other breeds. By the middle of the 20th century, the Chickasaw breed almost disappeared completely.

In 1957, a horse breeder called J.A. Barker decided to save the breed from extinction. He bought a colt from the Kainai Nation in Canada, and bred it to Chickasaw mares. His breeding program successfully saved the Chickasaw breed, and after six years there were already a few hundred Chickasaw horses. In addition, at some point by the end of the 1950s or at the beginning of the 1960s, the Chickasaw Horse Association was established, and a breed standard was set. Today, Chickasaw horses exist in small numbers.

The Chickasaw has a distinct conformation, which can be described in one word: short. These compact and muscular horses have short ears, a short and wide head, a short neck, a short back, and a wide chest.

Chickasaw horses come in the colors of black, bay, brown, chestnut, grey, roan, and cream-dilutes. They stand between 13hh and 14hh.


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