Ellis County resident to preserve Colonial Spanish horse
Local Ellis County resident Allison Clark is on a mission to preserve the Johnson-Yates strain of the Colonial Spanish mustang, with only 10 left from that strain and 1,600 left of the Colonial Spanish in the world.
Clark has been on this journey for over eight years, but her love for horses began when she was 14.
Clark's Horse History
"When I was 14 years old, my mom took me to a farm called Karma farms located in Marshall, Texas, owned by a lady named Vickie Ives to pick out my first horse," Clark shared. "All the horses were colonial Spanish mustangs. That day, Vickie had a few different horses for me to choose from. I rode each one of them. But there was one in particular that stood out to me. She was a mare named Bucks Girl; she was a 100 percent from the Johnson-Yates bloodline. Her color was so unique, and riding her was like the most incredible feeling. I knew she was different. So I took her home to Red Oak."
After eight years, Bucks Girl died from an illness. Clark was torn but then received another opportunity to be an owner of “Gunpowder And Lead,” or Gal for short, who had 25 percent of the strain. She died after three years, from possibly being struck by lightning.
Clark then began to focus on the mission to preserve the Johnson-Yates strain.
Background on the Colonial Spanish horse
Vickie Ives, vice president of the Horse of the Americas, shared the background of this particular horse.
“I’m working with Allison here trying to save one of our rarest kinds. Colonial Spanish horses today are still considered on the threatened list, all strains. There are about 14 strains left in the world. These guys are very rare and endangered because they’re mustangs, but they’re not at all wild horses that you got from the government. They’re actually pedigree horses that can be traced back to the Old West and in some cases a lot further," Ives shared. "These 14 strains are being preserved by the Livestock Conservancy. It’s a preservation group in the U.S. for preserving American livestock that’s becoming extinct. That’s its whole purpose, is to save threatened breeds for the future.”
The Colonial Spanish mustangs are pure descendants of the horses that came over from Spain. Currently, Clark is working with five other people to preserve the horse and bring the remaining to North Carolina to breed and save from extinction.
"I’m trying to save a particular bloodline from these horses from extinction. After eight years, I finally found a handful of horses that carry this bloodline and can bring it back to life," Clark shared.
Clark owns two mares in Red Oak: Mare Annabelle, who is 50 percent colonial Spanish, and Mare Nina, who is 25 percent. The goal is to get all of the mares, adult female horses, to North Carolina in May.
"We have all been doing our best to raise donations for this project. To cover the costs of traveling/hauling the horses and being able to feed all the horses and give vet care to all the horses once the babies hit the ground, but truth is we just haven’t come up with enough to cover all the costs," Clark said.
Personally, she has already invested $3,000 in the project. According to Clark, she and the volunteers have tracked two 100 percent mares, age in 20s, two 50 percent mares, one 25 percent mare, one 50 percent stallion, age in 20s, and one 25 percent stallion.
"That’s it; this is all we have to bring this line back," said Clark. "So we decided to take action with what we have, and we are doing everything in our power to bring this line back. We all know that it will be impossible to ever get another 100 percent of the bloodline. If we start breeding this spring, we can save it and keep a 7/8 percent. Anyone who has ever sat on any of these horses that carry this blood know how special they are, so we are all doing everything in our power to try to make this happen."
Saving the Horse
The best way people can help is with donations to cover costs of the trailering of the horses.
"I already hauled Annabelle in January. That trip itself cost me about $1,000 just in gas, and that was when gas prices were lower. The trip we’re trying to cover is to get the horses in Oklahoma to North Carolina as quickly as possible, so we can start the breeding and save this line," Clark said.
Clark states that she wouldn't be able to pursue this mission without the help from Sean McMahan, Nathan Crisp, Justin Johnson, Vickie Ives and Tommi Grey.
She works at Boyce Feed & Grain in downtown Waxahachie and has a donation jar set up there. People can also give through their Facebook donation page, https://www.facebook.com/groups/199433841728336/ .
"Well, main thing is getting awareness out there, and we will be looking for good placement homes to adopt when (the) babies start hitting the ground. They will be under contract and must stay in the preservation program," Clark said.
To learn more about the horse preservation, visit the Horse of the Americas webiste: http://www.horseoftheamericas.com/index.html .