Third DNA Test = SPANISH

With the arrival of a third opinion based on DNA analysis of the Wild Horses of Abaco, Bahamas, it appears fairly certain that the horses are not only of Spanish origin but have probably been on the island since the time of Columbus.

On this northernmost island of the Bahamas, where over 13 Spanish wrecks have been discovered offshore across a bay from where the horses are located, the situation is ‘pristine:’ over the years, the only other horses brought to the island were Cuban logging horses, most likely geldings. A veterinary authority in Nassau has stated that there was no mingling of these imported animals with the wild herd. During a wanton slaughter in the 60’s, 150 to 200 horses died. Three were rescued and today’s herd of 17 are the descendents of those three. One pinto stallion and two bay mares, one mare the daughter of the other.

The first set of samples was sent to UCLA Davis and the results said that the horses “most closely resemble Paso Fino.”

Then Dr. Gus Cothran of the University of Kentucky provided the following analysis:

“Genetic marker analysis can give indications of relationship that could have provided information on the origins of the Abaco horse. However, due to the observed reduced genetic variation, comparison of the Abaco horses to 30 other breeds representing all major types of horses showed the Abaco horses to be the most divergent with no clear relationship to any of the breeds. The blood type results did suggest the possibility that the Abaco horses were derived from horses that originated from the Iberian Peninsula. However, this is simply based upon the presence of two genetic markers which is insufficient for making significant deductions.“

Thomas Jansen of the Institut für Molecularbiological Diagnosis GmbH states: “All samples show the sequence pattern we found in Mustangs of the Sulphur Springs HMA and in many Spanish horses. This indicates a possible r[a]latedness of this horses to this population[s] through their maternal line.”

Hardy Oelke, who has worked with the rare Sorraia horses of Spain gives his opinion about the IMD findings: “ I just found a note in my mail that they show the typical sequence pattern found in most Iberian horses. This is all we could have hoped for. It means that at least through their maternal line, the animals tested go back to Iberian horses. Another aspect of these tests is that they all show a completely identical sequence pattern, which suggests that they are all from one and the same maternal line.” This would be the founding mare, Liz, who along with the stallion Castle and her filly Jingo, were rescued from the slaughter. We plan to do a fourth series of tests when we draw samples to establish the interrelationships within the herd.

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