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|Subject: Banker Pony Sat May 07 2011, 01:28|| |
: The coat can be any color, but is most often brown, bay, dun, or chestnut.Height
: between 14.1 and 15.1 handsBasic History:
Since they are free-roaming, Bankers are often referred to as "wild" horses; however, because they descend from domesticated ancestors, they are actually feral horses. It is thought that the Bankers arrived on the barrier islands during the 16th century. Several hypotheses have been advanced to explain the horses' origins, but none have yet been fully verified.
Aerial view of a barrier island in the North Carolina Outer Banks. One theory is that ancestors of the Banker swam ashore from wrecked Spanish galleons. Ships returning to Spain from the Americas often took advantage of both the Gulf Stream and continental trade winds, on a route that brought them within 20 miles (32 km) of the Outer Banks. Hidden shoals claimed many victims, and earned this region the name "the Graveyard of the Atlantic". At least eight shipwrecks discovered in the area are of Spanish origin, dating between 1528 and 1564. These ships sank close enough to land for the horses to have been cast on the shores. Alternatively, during hazardous weather, ships may have taken refuge close to shore, where the horses may have been turned loose. However, the presence of horses on Spanish treasure ships has not been confirmed—cargo space was primarily intended for transporting riches such as gold and silver.
Another conjecture is that the breed is descended from the 89 horses brought to the islands in 1526 by Spanish explorer Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón. His attempted colonization of San Miguel de Gualdape (near the Santee River in South Carolina) failed, forcing the colonists to move, possibly to North Carolina. Vázquez de Ayllón himself and about 450 of the original 600 colonists subsequently died, as a result of desertion, disease, and an early frost. Lacking effective leadership, the new settlement lasted for only two months; the survivors abandoned the colony and fled to Hispaniola, leaving their horses behind.
A similar theory is that Sir Richard Grenville brought horses to the islands in 1585, during an attempt to establish an English naval base. All five of the expedition’s vessels ran aground at Wococon (present-day Ocracoke). Documents indicate that the ships carried various types of livestock obtained through trade in Hispaniola, including "mares, kyne [cattle], buls, goates, swine [and] sheep". While the smaller vessels were easily refloated, one of Grenville’s larger ships, the Tiger, was nearly destroyed. It is believed that in an attempt to lighten the ship the horses were either unloaded or thrown overboard and swam to shore. In a letter to Sir Francis Walsingham that same year, Grenville suggested that livestock survived on the island after the grounding of his ships.Pictures: