Trail ride, Marsh Tacky meeting at Bluefield
by The Press and Standard | May 10, 2018 5:00 pm
Last Updated: May 9, 2018 at 11:06 am
S.C. STATE HORSE. Marsh Tackies, small, hardy horses native to South Carolina, are descendants of mounts brought to America by Spanish explorers as early as the 16th century. With a reputation for stamina and sure-footedness, today the Marsh Tacky is recognized as South Carolina’s state horse.
By JULIE HOFF
The South Carolina Marsh Tacky Association will host its annual meeting at Bluefield Farms in Jacksonboro at 10 a.m. on Saturday May 19. Horse owners who come to the farm’s trail ride on the same day are invited to sit in on the meeting. Registration for the ride starts at 8 a.m.
Marsh Tackies, small, hardy horses native to South Carolina, are descendants of mounts brought to America by Spanish explorers as early as the 16th century.
With a reputation for stamina and sure-footedness, today the Marsh Tacky is recognized as South Carolina’s state horse. There are 400 registered, and DNA tests are used to confirm their heritage, association board member Lee McKenzie said.
The unusual breed name references both General Francis Marion, “the Swamp Fox,” who used the horses in skirmishes during the Revolutionary War, and the English definition of tacky as common or cheap, because they were easily available and inexpensive.
“When I was a boy there were many Marsh Tackies on Wadmalaw, Johns and James islands,” McKenzie, an Adams Run resident, said. “I started riding a Marsh Tacky when I was about seven. They are great horses.”
The horses, which range from 14 to 15 hands, are small, tough, and easy keepers. Considered smooth-gaited, they’re also versatile: Strong enough to pull a plow or wagon, and gentle enough for a child to ride.
As for the trail ride, admission is $15 and riders can choose from three different trails on the farm’s 2,000 acres, ranging from easy (green) to challenging (red). There’s no trail boss, but all trails are clearly marked and numbered; for example, orange arrows guide riders back to the barn. If a mount throws a shoe, a call to the barn with the marker number will bring help.
Most riders leave around 4 p.m. A food truck with burgers and hot dogs will also be on the premises.
For more information, visit the Bluefield Farms Facebook page.