Early American Horse Importations

by Jordan Manfredi
Did you know that the only basis for recognizing a horse breed, in the USA, is contained in the Tariff Act of 1930, which provides for the duty free admission of purebred breeding stock provided they are registered in the country of origin. However, the later stipulation applies to imported animals only. My post although researched implies no official recognition of any breed. Usually, I found more than one interpretation of historical events regarding the beginnings of certain breeds. I have done my best to be as factual as possible. Arabian Horses Ranger was imported into Connecticut in 1765. Ranger was the sire of the of the grey charger ridden by General Washington in the Revolutionary War. Throughout the nineteenth century there were many other notable importations. Hackney Horses The real binning of this horse of the Hackney breed is traced to a stallion known as Blaze. A thoroughbred foaled in 1733 and a grandson of Darly an Arabian stallion who was noted as one of the foundation sires of the thoroughbred breed. One of the first Hackneys to be brought to America was a stallion named Pretender, a great grandson of Old Shales, imported to Virginia in 1801. Subsequent importations followed, but it was not until the era of the Gay Nineties that any great numbers were brought to the USA. Palomino Horses Over 150 years ago the United States acquired what is now California. There were many attractive golden-colored horses that were of good type. The best records available indicate that these animals were first introduced from Spain to the new world beginning with Cortez in 1519. Thoroughbred Horses A stallion was imported into Virgina in 1730 named Bulle Rock and was by Darley Arabian out of a dam by Byerly Turk. Welsh Pony The first recorded importation of Welsh ponies were accomplished by George Brown of Aurora Illinois. Subsequent but infrequent importations followed. These ponies represented some of the best bloodlines from the Great Briton. The Welsh Pony and Cob Society of America was founded in 1906. Other Breeds of Horses Light horse breeds such as the Quarter Horse, Morgans, Tennessee Walking Horse and Standardbreds are American creations. There are two main reasons for this (1) there was a diverse need and uses for which light horses were produced, and (2) the fact that many men of wealth produced horses. It is also noteworthy that many of the early eastern horses were bread to pull carts or buggies because there were passable roads not found elsewhere. Many of these breeds were unplanned. A number of breeds have now passed into obscurity if not totally extinct. Animals of the Thoroughbred breed and what later proved to be the forerunners of the Morgan and Standardbred breeds were also infused. The type of horse demanded was one that could travel long distances without distress to either the horse or the rider and which possed beauty, speed, tractability, intelligence, courage, durability, longevity, and versatility. They also needed to be adaptable to working in harness if necessary. Beginning with the earliest settlements conditions called for horses with the above attributes. It is not surprising that men, women, and children of this era became equestrians. It is a heritage that we are all proud to be part of.

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