I've always been interested in extinct breeds of horses. Their jobs, why they were bred, their origins and why they became extinct. I keep finding these breeds and thought maybe some of you might be interested in learning, or sharing your opinion or knowledge of them.
Again, due to the TWH threads we've been having, I got curious and looked up the TWH origins. The Narragansett Pacer popped up. I researched that, and its extinct.
The Narragansett Pacer is of unknown origins and is said to be the United State's "first" original breed of horse. It was created in the state of Rhode Island and there is evidence stating that it dated clear back to 1676. Not old by other country's standards, but definitely old for America! The breed predates America's Thoroughbred imports.
It was commonly described as short (14.1 hands), sorrel and homely looking. Its unknown whether the breed paced or ambled, since both terms were used to basically describe a soft gaited horse, but there is evidence that it did, infact, amble. It had a clean head, a long neck, crooked hocks and traveled with a high tail.
When citizens of Rhode Island began to pan out, this horse was eagerly sought after because it could travel extremely fast over long distances, and the gait was easy to ride. It eventually became prized as a racing horse and the race to improve the breed for this purpose began. It could pace 1 mile in just over 2 minutes, and 3 miles in 7.
The Narragansett Pacer became extinct when Rhode Island transformed from a settlement and into a booming, prosperous state. Bridle paths were opened up for motor vehicles, weeding out the use for a smooth, fast horse. Another thoerized cause for extinction was the fact that they just weren't very pretty. It existed for about 200 years before it randomly became extinct.
The Narragansett Pacer contributed to many of the gaited horses we have in the United States today, including the TWH, ASB and Standardbreds. It was said to be the breed of horse who carried Paul Revere in his famous ride, and was also a favorite mount of George Washington.