This encounter features a band of seven "Cracker" horses -- Equus caballus, in Paynes Prairie SP, Alachua County, FL. Crackers are descendants of Spanish horses that arrived with Ponce de Leon in 1521.
The stallion's acceptance seemed essential...
...but this mare also studied us a good while from a distance.
"A gentle heart is tied with an easy thread." ~ George Herbert
These horses are a living piece of Florida history once vital for agriculture, ranching, the Seminole, and both gray and blue forces during the Civil War.
Florida's first preserve (est. 1971) is also a National Landmark (est. 1974).
King Payne led Seminole battles against both the Spanish and early Americans. This park includes some of the original Alachua Savannah he fought to defend.
“Poetry is the art of uniting pleasure with truth.” ~ Samuel Johnson
'...Florida has flourished, agriculture the source
To think it all started with the Conquistadors
Who left livestock running wild on the shores
And the most valuable treasure -- the Cracker Cow Horse' ~ from "The Cracker Horse" by Terry James Swett
It became clear that there were two younger horses in this band.
This mare seemed to be the mother and guardian of the young, and possibly carrying a foal.
"Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people." ~ W. C. Fields
These agile horses were well-suited for managing scrub cattle until screwworms arrived with dust-bowl cattle in the 'Dirty Thirties.' That problem required a lot more roping, and Crackers were replaced by Quarter Horses.
"Throw away thy rod, throw away thy wrath; O my God, take the gentle path." ~ from "Discipline" by George Herbert
"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses." ~ Robert Graham in letter to Theodore Roosevelt, 1917.
don't fence me in...
"When I hear somebody talk about a horse or a cow being stupid, I figure it's a sure sign that the animal has somehow outfoxed them." ~ Tom Dorrance
"It is good people that make good places." ~ from "Black Beauty" by Anna Sewell
"Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength." ~ St. Francis de Sales
“To me the town is a prison, and the desert loneliness a paradise.” ~ St. Jerome
'When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be to practical is madness. To surrender dreams - this may be madness. Too much sanity may be madness - and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!' ~ from Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
We were joined by three wild pigs -- Sus scrofa, and for a while did not want to surrender the privilege of Cracker company in the prairie named for King Payne.