The Florida Cracker Horse is similar to many other Indian breeds. Originally of Spanish descent, the horses adapted themselves to the natural climate of the region, in this case the interior of Florida. Basically a feral horse, they were used by the Seminoles and early cattleman. They gain their name from their riders known for cracking their cow whips.
These rare horses stand around 14.2 hands high. The horse has variously been described as long haired, lively, wiry, and speedy. Due to their Spanish background they are known for having great stamina and able to exist on sparse feed.
Most likely these horses are descendants of the Spanish stock brought to the Americas by Spanish conquistadors. While only about 150 of the horses exist today, there is an effort to preserve them in Lake Kissimmee State Park at a frontier-type cow camp. The Florida Cracker Horse Association was formed in 1989 to aid in the preservation.
Although there is no documented information, it is believed that the discrepancy in conformation and size of many early American Indian ponies, no matter how close in relation to geography, is due to the Spanish horse ancestry's quick adaptability to land and feed. This is the probable reason the Florida Cracker Horse is much smaller than its close relation, the Cherokee buckskin.
1. Spanish Stock
For more information:
Florida Cracker Horse Association, Inc.
Listed as "Critical" by The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (2004)
Aug 28, 2010