Thornton Chard's Notes to The Criollo Horse of South America.
Note 1. "The missing link has not been found" to upset the known facts that the original domestic horse in North and in South Amerca was a Spanish importation; but speaking in a broader sense, with the discovery in Northern Texas in 1899 of Equus Scotti, a species of fossil horse, the "near resemblance to the modern animal appears at a glance. The difference from the domestic horse is chiefly in proportions." (Evolution of the Horse by W. D. Matthew and S. H. Chubb. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. No 36 of the Guide Leaflet series - Feb. 1924, p. 12.) Equus Scotti is considered to complete the evidence of the various stages of the evolution of the horse, at any rate in North America. Interview Jan. 8, 1930, with S. H. Chubb.
"There is abundant evidence to prove that in the late Quaternary, during and
after the Glacial Period, but nevertheless many thousands of years ago,
prehistoric man chased and killed wild horses, using their flesh for food and
possibly their skins for raiment. This period was followed by a second,
during which wild horses were captured, broken to rude harness and driven."
[Mathew, W. D. and Chubb, S. H. "Evolution of the Horse. New York
American Natural Hist. leaflet No. 36. 1924. p. 39.]
Note 3. De Soto, crossing parts of Alabama and Mississippi, on his expedition to the Mississippi River, in 1540, encountered opposition, at some places, with the Indians who suffered punishment and sought a parley. At Achese the Chief made a speech to De Soto saying: "Think then what must be the effect on me and mine, the sight of you and your people, whom we have at no time seen, astride the fierce brutes your horses, entering with such speed and fury into my country - things so altogether new as to strike awe and terror to our hearts." [The Narrative of the Career of H. de Soto in the Discovery of Florida by a Knight of Elva. Edited by Bourne. 2 volumes. New York. 1904. p. 55.)
Note 4. "The use of fire arms [by Cortez when he conquered Mexico in 1519] gave an ascendancy which cannot easily be estimated." "To all this must be added the effect produced by the Cavalry. The nations of Anahuac had no large domesticated animals, and were unacquainted with any beast of burden. Their imaginations were bewildered when they beheld the strange apparition of the horse and his rider moving in unison and obedient to one impulse, as if possessed of a common nature - and as they saw the terrible animal with his 'neck clothed in thunder' bearing down their squadrons and trampling them in the dust, no wonder they should have regarded him with the mysterious terror felt for a supernatural being." (p. 439.) [Prescott, W. H. History of the Conquest of Mexico. Edited by John Foster Kirk. Philadelphia, J. B. Lippincott Co. 1895. p. 439.]
Ulrich Schmidt, an eyewitness of one of the fights that Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de
Vaca - 2nd Adelantado of Buenos Aires 1541-44 - had with the Indians, says:
"When the enemy saw the horses for the first time a great fear fell upon them,
and they fled to the mountains as quickly as they could." [Hakluyt
Society Vol. 81. Conquest of the River Plate. London.
1891. p. 147.]
Note 6. "In our earliest glimpses of the horse it is in the hands of those Aryans who came as nomadic raiders from the high plateaux of Persia (or thereabouts) to the rich settlements in the lowlands of Mesopotamia. From this country, in time, they drove out the first settlers, the Sumarians, probably because of the superiority which the possession of horses gave them. Here they met the Semitic raiders from the south, or Arabia, and in the new country of Mesopotamia both used the horse some time before 2000 B.C. At this date they were used, as an aid in conquest, to draw Chariots.... By 1500 B.C. the use of the Chariot had spread far and wide from this Mesopotamian centre to the peoples of India in the East, to Egypt in the South, to Northern Africa, and even to the much less cultured peoples of Central and Northern Europe, the Celts."
".... It was the possession of superior horses that made possible the remarkable spread of Mohammedanism by the hard riding, hard fighting armies of his immediate successors. (620-650 A.D.)" [Loomis, F. B. The Evolution of the Horse. Boston. Marshall Jones Co. 1926. p. 203-206.]
Note 7. ".... When the Greeks took possession of North Africa (Cyrene 630 B.C.) they found a superior breed of horses there." "When Hannibal went on his great expedition (228-221 B.C.) and took route via Spain, around the Mediterranean and down through Italy, he introduced into Spain large numbers of these North African horses. Undoubtedly the evolution of the fine Andalusian stock is due largely to this African strain. When the Spaniards came to America they brought a few of the Norse type with stripes and dun color and many of the Andalusian horses, carrying the Arab .... blood." [Osborn, H. F. Origin and History of the Horse. New York. Privately printed. 1905. pp. 15-16.]
The late Spencer Borden in "What Horse for the Cavalry" (p. 42) describing the
Hungarian, Lippizans, "next to the pure Arabs - the oldest established breed of
horses," quotes the Director-in-Chief of all the Austro Hungarian Imperial
Studs, thus: "We believe the horses bred in Hungary are the best cavalry mounts
in the world. They are not too large and have a great proportion of
Arab blood in them."
"Apparently the destruction of the Spanish Armada in 1588 was the ill wind that indirectly benefited Newmarket so far as its horses were concerned, for there is no doubt that many of the horses rescued from drowning when the great vessels of the Armada were wrecked were sent direct to Newmarket," "where great surprise was expressed by all who beheld them at their exceeding swiftness."
"The horses brought ashore from the Spanish vessels probably were among the best that Spain at that time possessed, and several attempts were made by the Spanish to recover some of them."
"It was not long after this (1658) that the Duke (Buckingham) persuaded his royal pupil (later King Charles II) to import from Spain a number of exceptionally fine sires, for, as he said, Spanish stallions were quite unsurpassed, and in his opinion no other sort of stallion ought to be admitted into this country."
"... about the year 1635, 300 and 400 pistoles ($1200... -$1600...) was considered a moderate sum to pay for a well broken young horse."
"... that a Spanish horse called Il Bravo - was held as much as a Mannor [sic] of a Thousand Crowns a year, and that he hath known horses at 700, 800, and 1000 pistoles." [Tozer, Basil. The Horse in History. New York. Charles Scribner's Sons. 1908. pp. 222-223-227-229.]
In a letter to T. C. dated May 26, 1903, the late Randolph Huntington says: "Now
you have no doubt seen it often talked by [the] - press, 'top crosses'! as this
horse or that horse is a good or fashionable 'top cross,' [such people] failing
to know that all building of any kind must, in order to last for ages, be upon
solid foundations, - unless it be upon a solid foundation, it is a failure.
In animal life, the foundation must be pure blood. - In the horse, ages
tell us that the Arab and the Barb were [pure bred] - All [pure breds] are pure
in one family blood and can be interbred in the closest possible manner in the
wild state, or in and under domesticated care. All crosses go to extremes
and degenerate; except periodically reinforced from their [original source] -"
Note 11. "During the 17th Century speed was not the sole qualification of a race horse; it was required to have strength and endurance. From racing matured horses at long distances it was an easy transition to shorten the length of the course and increases the speed of the horse, besides which the element of gambling entered into the sport, and it soon happened that three year old horses were used in the races. It was found, however, that they could not "stay" the old four mile course so that of necessity the distances had to be reduced to accommodate the horses. The result of this policy is seen in modern horse racing in which two year old horses developed for speed alone take part in races less than half a mile in length." [(New International Encyclopaedia, New York, Dodd, Mead & Co. 1923, Vol. II p. 473]
"For twenty years the Morgans held their popularity. It was only after
[the] Civil War that their decadence began, when the craze for speed,
started by the wonderful career of Dexter, caused everyone to turn his attention
to the long striding trotters, represented by the descendants of Rysdyk's
The late Randolph Huntington in a letter to T. C. dated June 2,
1903, referring to the difference between the Arabian and the Barb says, "It
took me eight years to get the true breeding of Gen. Grant's two horses.
[Leopard and Linden Tree, presented to Gen. Grant by the Sultan of Turkey in
1879.] The press of the land called them both pure Arabs, and the General
died believing them such; and I also did not know when I published the
book [about them], although the very marked difference in the get of the two
horses from virgin mares of same one affinity blood, and inter-bred to it at
that, so astonished me, that I know in my own mind that the two stallions
Leopard and Linden Tree were of very different family bloods. Both were
gray, and stood the same height (14¾ hands) one was dappled gray, the other blue
gray when they arrived."
Dr. Solanet, referring to the crossing of many foreign types of
horses on the Criollo thereby increasing the height from 1.50 metres (14 hands
3") to 1.60 metres (15 hands 3") and otherwise mixing the blood so that one
could not longer distinguish a dominant race or know to what type of the various
mixed bloods these crosses belonged, said "At this time and for two or three
generations of owners of these indefinite products, as well as those that did
not show any new foreign blood, one did not realize their true origin, and, at
times, considered them Criollos and in such belief came to place them in the
lineage of the native race, believing them to possess pure blood."
W. S. Dixon, quoting Richard Wall, who wrote in 1756, says: "When
... two mares are nearly of an equal goodness at 9 stone (126 lbs.) for four
miles, one of them 14 hands 2" (1.48 metres) and the other 15 hands 2"
(1.57 metres) ; consequently the lesser must be of a much greater symmetry
than the greater." Then Dixon comments, "That is, balance is of more
importance than mere height, a fact it is well to bear in mind." ("The
Influence of Racing and the Thoroughbred," by William Scarth Dixon, p. 11.)
Note 16. "Herr Ziwza remarked: 'It is not possible for big horses to have the perfect proportions we find in the small ones. There is no difference of opinion among the officers of the Austro-Hungarian army in favor of the small ones.' [Borden, Spencer, What Horse for the Cavalry? Fall River, J. H. Franklin Co. 1912.) Quoting the Chief of the Imperial Spanish Riding School of Vienna.
Note 17. "In a personal communication Dr. E. W. Nelson of Washington informs me that when domesticated cattle and horses, which always have more or less white or spotted individuals among them, are permitted to revert to a wild state for a long period, they almost always breed back to a general uniformity of color such as characterizes any wild species." [Hadwen, S. "Color in Relation to Health of Wild and Domestic Animals" Journal of Heredity, Dec. 1926, Vol. 17, No. 12. Foot note p. 45.)
In his classification of the several
original races of horses by coat color, C. H. Smith, writing in 1841, allots his
fourth stirps to the dun. He says: "The dun is typical of the generality
of the real wild horses, still extant in Asia, and the semi-domesticated, both
there and in Eastern Europe." ["Horses," by Charles Hamilton Smith.
Naturalists Library, Vol. VII, p. 274.)
Note 18. "All domesticated breeds of the horse show, at one period or another in life, either directly or through reversion, that they were similarly striped (like the zebra), so the probabilities are that the ancestors of the modern horse were striped animals, and we see in a few transition forms how a striped animal can gradually be converted into a non-striped animal. In the true Burchell [zebra], inhabiting not a forest regions but a sandy open region: the stripes have faded entirely out of the lower limbs; Another Burchell, showing the under spaces of the body assuming a muddy brown tint, which would naturally compare with the bay color of our horses. We observe that this tine harmonizes with the brownish tint of the desert background. In this harmony of color we have the true significance of the origin of the simple bay coloring of our modern horses." [Osborn, H. F. Origin and History of the Horse. New York. Privately printed. 1905.]
The Greeks and the Romans had numerous dun colored horses.
[Tozer, Basil, The Horse in History. New York. Charles
Scribner's Sons, 1908. p. 67, 81.) It is a matter of history that Rome
possessed nearly the whole of Spain for 600 years, followed by the Goths (700
A.D. among whom were the Swedes
[Power, George. Musulmans in Spain and Portugal], whose
horses are dun colored. There are dun colored horses in Arabia (though
considered cross-bred [Brown, W. R. The Horse of the Desert.
New York Derrydale Press. 1929. p. 67], also among the Berbers
[Irving, Washington. The Alhambra. Pp 237-239] so that with
the invasion of Spain by the Musulmans the proportional number of dun colored
horses was again increased.
Note 19. "Watching
the habits of mustangs was with me a frequent source of interest. Their
breeding season was the early spring months, and then the stallions were in
continual combat. Every old stallion would be busy fighting the young
stallions, including the yearlings, out of his "manada," and the young stallions
would be maneuvering to steal a mare or so each; in addition to fighting
off these young upstarts the old stallions had to guard against each other.
The strongest and the best stallions kept the most mares. Thus, under
conditions undisturbed by man, the breed would have a tendency to improve,
selective breeding rather than inbreeding being the natural tendency." [Dobie,
J. Frank, The Vaquero of the Brush Country. The Southwest Press.
Dallas, Texas, 1929. p. 241-2.]
"I am glad to see your Endurance Test winner is the same as last
year. You don't want tall horses you want well balanced horses for long
arduous tasks. When I was at Lady Wentworth's I saw a stallion about
fourteen hands, three inches. He was under fifteen hands - that was
a model weight carrier. I told Lady Wentworth that if I had been 25 years
younger I should have asked her for the favor of a day's hunting in the Shires
on him; saying I thought I should be there or thereabouts on him.
Her reply was that if hounds ran hard there would not be many in the same field
Note 20a. Referring to the remarkable agility of the S. American native horse, Springfield [Springfield, Rollo, The Horse and His Rider, New York. Charles Scribner's Sons. 1908], quoting Darwin says: "In Chili a horse is not considered perfectly broken till he can be brought up standing in the midst of his full speed on any particular spot; for instance on a cloak thrown on the ground; or until he will charge a wall, and rearing scrape the surface with his hoofs. I have seen an animal bounding with spirit, yet merely reined by a forefinger and thumb, taken at full gallop across a courtyard, and then made to wheel around the post of a veranda with great speed, but at so equal a distance that the rider with outstretched arm all the while, kept one finger rubbing the post; then making a demivolt in the air, with the other arm outstretched in a like manner, he wheeled around with astonishing force in an opposite direction.
"The Criollo pony had his day (see last par.) and when he was
used by the Argentine players the game flourished there perhaps more than it
does now, but with the first raising of the standard height of ponies to 14.2
hands (1.48 metres) the small but useful Criollo native was left behind by the
introduction of thoroughbred blood, although there are many signs today in
Argentine breeding that the little native pony has been often called upon in the
development of their present high class polo pony."
Speaking of the regular system of testing in the Hungarian State
stock farms which are the source of all their army horses, the later Spencer
Borden [Borden, Spencer. What Horse for the Cavalry? Fall
River. J. H. Franklin Co. 1912] writing in 1912, says:
Among instances of the earliest arrivals of Spanish horses
in the Argentine are the following: