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First Posted: August 10, 2010 July 28, 2010
Jun 9, 2013

Choctaw Horse Breed/Many are Gaited


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Choctaw Breed Images

The Choctaw horses of today are the direct descendants of the horses that traveled with the Choctaw Indians on the "Trail of Tears" in the 1830s from the southeast U.S. to the reservations in Oklahoma. The Indians had gotten their horses from Spanish conquistadors in the 1500s and then selectively bred them for gentle and trusting dispositions and easy gaits. Today they are very rare with only about 200 horses of pure Choctaw breeding in existence.

The most outstanding feature of the Choctaw horse is it's quiet, people oriented disposition. They are not tall horses (most are 14 to 14.2 hands), but they are built to carry weight and can easily carry a 200 plus pound man over 50 and 100 mile races. They have very sound legs and hooves and most are never shod. Choctaw horses come in every color and pattern and most commonly have long, full manes and tails.

In addition to it's wonderful disposition they are very athletic and excel in endurance events. Many Choctaw horses are gaited, however even the trotters are very smooth riding. The Choctaw horses make excellent trail horses and they also do well participating in other activities from dressage to reining to jumping and western games. Their striking looks make them a natural choice for parade, trick, and exhibition horses while their calm and engaging dispositions make them great family pets.

The Gilbert Jones line of Colonial Spanish horses has made its mark in endurance races. These horses are highly intelligent, mild tempered and people oriented. They have excellent feet, are surefooted and hardy. The strain is founded on Choctaw breeding, and includes Cherokee, Kiowa, Chickasaw, Comanche, and Huasteca horses and well as horses from the herd that produced the real-life "Hidalg."

Since removal of these horses from the Kiamichi mountains began in February of 2008 I have brought several of them to my ranch. Even coming straight from running wild on 1.7 million acres to here they have been remarkably easy to work with and have bonded with us very quickly. The efforts to bring these horses to safety and to place the individuals not needed in the breeding program continues. Today there are many young stallions, particuarly of the Gilbert Jones strain that can be gelded and will make wonderful riding and performance partners.

Bringing these horses safely out of the mountains and keeping them in pens until alternative grazing lands can be found is an costly endeavor. The Rickman's need

all the assistance that they can get in the way of monetary donations and donations of hay and feed. Your purchase of a horse from the Rickman herd contributes greatly in helping to feed the remaining horses and to provide veterinary care. In addition we are seeking a long term solution that would be provided by the donation of permanent grazing lands, preferrably in eastern Oklahoma. Tax deductible donations can be made to the American Livestock Breeds Conservanc's "Choctaw horse fund." Their contact information, as well as the Rickman's, is found below.

Choctaw line: Choctaw horses are the most endangered and in need of conservation. They are a Southeastern strain that was bred by the Choctaw Indians and traveled with the people on the Trail of Tears. All of these horses are highly people oriented and are subdivided into four subgroups including:

  1. Pure Choctaw - These horses are known for durability and kind nature, as well as flashy colors. Approximately ten percent are gaited, but even the trotters have smooth gaits.
  2. Cherokee lineage - These are Choctaw with significant Cherokee influence. They number about 40 head (estimate). They tend to be flashy paints, and many are strongly gaited.
  3. Huasteca lineage - These are important because the Choctaw portion in this group is otherwise unrepresented in the Pure Choctaw group. That is, they are essential to the Choctaw conservation program. These tend to be durable and kind horses as well.
  4. "Mixed" Group made up of a combination of the above mentioned Southeast Oklahoma strains.

For More Information:

Choctaw and Cherokee Horses
Huasteca Horse Breeds
Choctaw Indians
Chickasaw Indians
Cherokee Indians and Horses
Gilbert Jones' Story/Choctaw and Cherokee Horses

Horse Breeds
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