Colonial Spanish Horse

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Colonial Spanish Horse
Banker horses, a well-known Colonial Spanish Horse
Equus ferus caballus

The Colonial Spanish horse is the name for a group of horse breeds descended from the original Iberian horse stock brought from Spain to the Americas.[1] The ancestral type from which these horses descent were known as the jennet or the Barb.[citation needed] The term encompasses many strains or breeds now found primarily in North America. Its extinction status is considered threatened.[2] and the horses are registered by several entities.[1]

The Colonial Spanish Horse is not to be confused with the modern Spanish Mustang, which is one breed derived from the first concerted preservation effort of Colonial Spanish Horses in the United States,[3] but it is not the only one.[1] Colonial Spanish Horse type and DNA exist in some Mustangs, but there has been considerable crossbreeding in many of the feral horse herds. For that reason, true Spanish type is rare amongst feral herds, but where such animals have been found, the Bureau of Land Management ((BLM) and other agencies attempt to blood-type and preserve them.[1]

Small groups of horses of Colonial Spanish Horse type have been located in various groups of ranch-bred, mission, and Native American horses, mostly in private ownership.[1]

Modern horses[edit]

The wide array of horses considered to be near-pure descendants of original Spanish stock carry a variety of names. Though many are described as horse breeds, genecists debate whether some of the North American horses are separate breeds or multiple strains of a single large breed.[2] They include the following:

DNA analysis has been used to identify horses of Spanish type. One of the lead researchers in this area has been Dr. Gus Cothran of Texas A&M University. Some breeders and horse associations use it to trace the connections among the breeds, but preservation programs urge caution, noting that some horses of Spanish type may not carry the expected Iberian blood types. Conversely, some horses that lack Spanish type, such as certain strains of the American Quarter Horse, may have DNA markers but not the proper phenotype. For that reason, DNA data is used in conjunction with an analysis of Spanish phenotype.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Sponenberg, D. Philip. "North American Colonial Spanish Horse Update July 2011". Retrieved August 16, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Colonial Spanish Horse". The Livestock Conservancy. Retrieved August 16, 2015. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Conservation Priority". The Livestock Conservancy. Retrieved August 16, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Gila Herd". International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros. Retrieved August 16, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Luis, Cristina; Bastos-Silveira, Cristiane; Cothran, E. Gus; Oom, Maria do Mar (17 February 2006). "Iberian Origins of New World Horse Breeds". Journal of Heredity 97 (2): 107–113. doi:10.1093/jhered/esj020.