Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Barb

 The Barb is an ancient breed, and is the ancestor of many Spanish horses to date. Although its complete origins are unknown, it is believed to have been established in the Fertile Crescent of North Africa, a place that surrounds the countries of Morocco, Algeria, and Libya.

 The Berbers of North Africa prized the fast and agile Barb as great war mounts, using them when their large Muslim armies invaded Spain in the eight century. The name "Barb" actually originates from the group of barbarous people.

 By 1492, the Spanish had regained control of their country and began their explorations of the New World. They took with them many horses---descendants of the ancient Barb. The horses were originally taken to several islands throughout the Caribbean, where they were bred for multiple purposes, but later they were taken to what is now the United States, Mexico, and South America. From there, they became foundation horses for many popular American breeds---Quarter Horses, Paint Horses, Appaloosas, etc.

 During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, many horses had escaped and were taken by Native American tribes. At about the same time, the English had begun colonizing much of the east coast, and found these Spanish horses, thinking of them as native horses.
Barbs are the ancestors of many popular breeds, including
Spanish breeds and stock horses.

 Before long, the English began importing their own horses---racehorses of a Barb type with a little bit of added Irish blood. From there, of course, the English imports were bred with the Spanish horses, and  many horses made their way West with pioneers. However, it was during these westward treks that many of the breeds already living in the West became endangered. People didn't realize the value of the Spanish Barbs that were living in the West with Native Americans. As a result, they crossed their English horses with the ones that had been their for centuries, hoping to Americanize the ones that had seemed unappealing. Many were sold or slaughtered or extensively crossbred, nearly destroying the pure Spanish Barb. However, Western ranchers liked the breed and helped preserved the ancestor of America's stock breeds.

Breed Description and Uses:
Barbs are stocky, standing 14.2 to 15 hands high, and can come in almost every color, particularly dun, chestnut, grulla, black, bay, roan, palomino, buckskin, grey, and pinto. Their head is long and refined, with a broad forehead, short ears that point slightly inwards, and a refined muzzle that often sports crescent-shaped Roman noses. Their chest is strong, their ribs well-sprung. Much like Arabians, they only have seventeen ribs. Their shoulders are sloping. As for their back, it is proportional to the rest of the body, complete with short, straight loin, a rounded croup, and hindquarters that aren't very heavily muscled.  The legs are straight and strong, with clean cannon bones, strong, sloping pasterns, and hard hooves.

 Barbs makes excellent endurance and trial horses due to their stamina and agility.

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