Wild Horses of Shackleford Banks

The Shackleford Banks wild horses are a unique historic and cultural legacy.

Historical research and genetics testing indicates that these wild horses descended from a core group of the old type of Spanish horses. One genetic factor, the blood variant Q-ac, is believed to be contributed by the Spanish horses of 400 years ago. This genetic marker has been found in only descendents of those Spanish horses. Easily lost through genetic drift, Q-ac has been documented in the Puerto Rican Paso Finos, the isolated mustang population of Montana’s Pryor Mountains, and the horses of Shackleford Banks.

The wild horses of Shackleford Banks are of great interest to the scientific community as well as to the average citizen. An international expert of equine behavior, D. I. Rubenstein, PhD, Chairman, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University, and his graduate students have been studying and documenting the social behavior of these wild horses for nearly two decades. The territorial behavior exhibited in the Shackleford herds is not know to occur in the equine populations anywhere else in the world. Dr. Rubenstein has kept a genealogy on the horses based on the dams of each succeeding generation of foals (matrilineages).

Equine genetics experts, at the University of Kentucky, Virginia Tech, and the University of California at Davis, believe in the importance of assuring the long-term survival of this unique, hardy group of wild North Carolina Banker horses.

Link: Wild Horses of Shackleford Banks

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