The Choctaw Pony
By the 1700's the horses brought by the Spanish to the Americas found their way to the Choctaw American Indian tribe. The gentle and kind horses were small enough to be considered a pony but they were incredibly strong and resilient. They were treasured and embraced within the Choctaw culture and valued so highly that some owners would be buried with their ponies upon their death.
When the US government set out to remove the Choctaw people from their land they also tried to destroy as many of the ponies as they could because they realized the ponies represented freedom to the Choctaw people. Through systematic efforts the ponies were almost driven to extinction but a handful was hidden, allowing them to survive. Thanks to a few dedicated people who protected and started carefully breeding the ponies again they can once more be found although still in small numbers with most Choctaw pony ranches found in our southern states.
Current DNA testing on modern Choctaw ponies has proven that their blood lines are thought to be the purest of all the breeds in this country because from the beginning the Choctaw were very careful about how the ponies were bred. They kept an oral and later a written history of all their bloodlines making them the direct decedents of the original horses that came from Spain in the 1500's.
Choctaw ponies today are much as they were hundreds of years ago. They are as swift to race a barrel as their ancestors were hunting deer or as brave facing a jump as they were ridden into battle. They are as beloved by the families that own them now as they were when they were an important part of a Choctaw village.
It is important that they survive as a breed not just because they are strong, gentle, intelligent and beautiful but because they are a living legacy, proof of a proud, powerful and vibrant culture!
Millie Chalk (White Star Woman)
Professional horse trainer for 25yrs, author of historical fiction and creator of http://backyardhorseman.com. Part Cherokee Indian I'm passionate regarding the current struggle of all the first nations feeling most akin for several reasons to the Lakota. If you want to learn more about our Native Americans please check out http://Whispernthunder.org the online forum for Native America!
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