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Oklahoma’s Choctaw horses connect to Mississippi

The Associated Press - October 16, 2018 7:31 am

In this July 17, 2018, photo, Bill Frank Brown pets DeSoto, a 19-year-old Pine Tacky Stallion, on his farm in Poplarville, Miss. Brown was 14 when he inherited the Poplarville farm that Sponenberg visited in 2005. The farm had been in Brown’s family since 1881 and the livestock there, even longer. Brown had three stallions back then, including DeSoto. He called them pine tacky horses. The Texas A&M veterinary school tested samples of the stallions’ DNA, and they matched those of Rickman’s Choctaws. Gerald Herbert AP Photo

POPLARVILLE, Miss. (AP) – An aging Choctaw stallion in southwest Mississippi is bringing new blood to a rare strain of horse.

The stallion named DeSoto is being mated with Choctaw mares from Oklahoma to add diversity to the line. Choctaw horses all but disappeared from the Deep South when the U.S. government ordered Native Americans off their traditional lands in the 1800s.

DeSoto was discovered in 2005 when Dr. Phillip Sponenberg of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine spotted him during a visit to Poplarville. Sponenberg had gone there to check out small cattle descended from Spanish colonial stock.

He says the horses, cattle, and sheep owned by Bill Frank Brown of Poplarville are all descended from animals brought to the United States since the 1500s by Spanish explorers and colonists.

In this July 17, 2018, photo, Choctaw mare, right, and her 3-month-old philly colt, center, run with other Choctaw horses on Bill Frank Brown’s farm in Poplarville, Miss. Choctaw horses are descended from those brought to the United States in the 1500s and later by Spanish explorers and colonists, said Dr. Phillip Sponenberg of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. Gerald Herbert AP Photo

 

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