We are hoping to get a copy of the interview we did this morning on Guardian Radio here in the Bahamas so we can post it for those of you who couldn't hear it. Stay tuned! Meanwhile, we'll be posting some more pages from our guest book shortly. ... See MoreSee Less
Update------------As we wait to start the actual process of bringing Abaco’s horses back, some interesting developments have occurred.
With increasing accuracy of DNA analysis and historical documentation, it seems new information is published daily. Keeping track of how the Abaco Island Horses fit into the genetic and historical picture of their ancestry is undergoing development too.
Regarding history, research, and DNA analysis, the name Abaco Spanish Colonial has become somewhat misleading. (And Abaco Barb is entirely out of the question as the whole issue of what, if anything, constitutes a Barb remains open to interpretation). Research is discovering that while horse breeding went on at a great pace during the Conquistadors’ time in Cuba the Conquistadors were not involved in establishing a breed per se. Apparently the horses were allowed to roam freely and reproduce at will with not a lot of human intervention. Whatever horses were deemed fit for the role of, let’s call it all around Jeep, were the ones chosen to carry the Conquistadors. So Spanish has become somewhat vague as Spain itself was a major melting pot for many types of equines. By calling our horses simply the Abaco Island horse, we join the respected ranks of all the other wonderful sub breeds that evolved from the horses from Cuba, some on islands, some on mainland America: Chincoteagues, Assateagues, Bankers, Marsh Tackies, Shacklefords, Florida Crackers, etc. So it seems appropriate to update our horses to simply the Abaco Island Horse.
There have been some questions about what, exactly, will we be bringing back as we strive to reintroduce the Abaco Island Horse to Abaco. We never will be able to reproduce, precisely, the DNA we had in the original horses. This is because we only were able to save tissue from a mare, not from a stallion as well. The stallion we have chosen, for when the time comes to introduce the stallion side of the equation, is wonderfully close but not exact. The Abaco Horses, as they were, are extinct.
However, even if we had tissue from an original stallion,(and we do have bone so when extracting DNA from bone becomes practical, that option remains) this might not have solved some pending problems. The reduction of the original 200 horses to 3 pretty much sealed their fate: The Abacos were in a narrowing genetic bottleneck (a growing lack of diversity leading to severe inbreeding) and would have deteriorated genetically, faster and faster. We would have had to bring in new blood at some point. (Strong attempts were made but they were stalled).
That said, our horses will never be precisely the same, (though they will be close) but as they were they were doomed anyway. So in some strange, unfathomable way, perhaps the loss of the original horses will lead to the reintroduction of horses to Abaco that will have a far better chance of strong genetic survival while carrying on many of the traits that made the Abaco Horses unique. In the words of a knowledgeable friend and supporter ”they will now become a version of themselves reinvented.” A strong branch on the tree of genetic diversity.
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