Abaco Barb Horse
For as long as anyone can remember there has been a herd of horses on the island of Abaco in the Bahamas. However it wasn’t until relatively recently (1998) that the Abaco Barb’s distinct features created an interest in the unknown origin of their roots.
The ancestors of these animals are thought to have come from the ships of Spanish explorers in the late 15th or early 16th centuries & have inhabited the island ever since. Due to their extreme geographical isolation, herd bloodlines have remained relatively pure. This simple fact makes them an important link to the past & to the history of horses in the Americas.
In 2002, the herd was accepted by the Horse of America’s Registry as Abaco Barbs, horses of Spanish Barb ancestry proven through DNA testing. The resulting purity of their blood created a renewed interest in preservation of the Barbs on Abaco Island & attempts are being made to grow their numbers.
A portion of land was donated as a sanctuary by the Bahaman Government & a plan developed to manage/ grow the herd. Unfortunately natural reproduction in this herd seemed to grind to a halt after hurricane Floyd in 1999. Recent conservation efforts have been touch & go, sadly this hardy herd hovers on the verge of extinction – now more so than ever.
The Barbs on Abaco Island are on the critically endangered list & they are the most endangered equine on the planet.
Prominent Barb features
Average height 13.2 – 14.2 hands
Sturdy & strong
Large, rangy head with broad forehead & convex nose
Body is short & stocky
Tail is low set & luxurious as is the mane
Willful & proud