Cruisers give back, Take Your Passion Cruising

Lydia Fell falls in love with the wild horses of Abaco

Lydia Fell If you’re not an animal lover, you may as well skip this particular log entry.  Just go ahead and exit the site, or move on to the next post, because what I’m about to talk about will only deeply affect those who have large hearts for God’s creatures.

Here’s a story for you

Back in the fall of 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue and
happened upon Cuba, which he claimed for Spain.

Among the many things he brought ashore were his Spanish horses, beautiful creatures bred for their hardiness, endurance and courageous spirit, and with them, Columbus established two horse farms on the island.

Fast forward 400 years.

Abaco wild horse At the turn of the 20th century, the pine forest on the island of Abaco in the Bahamas, was being clear-cut, and logged.

Not having any modern machinery in those days, nor work animals on the island, horses were brought in from Cuba to drag the logs out of the forest.

Many years later when tractors became available, the horses, now obsolete, were abandoned and turned loose in the forest to fend for themselves, simply castoffs.

Bred to survive harsh conditions, they made the sun scorched island and the regenerating forest their home, and they thrived despite all odds.

Today, DNA samples prove that the wild horses of Abaco, which are now recognized by the Horses of Americas Registry as Abaco Barbs, are direct, undiluted descendants of the Spanish horses introduced to Cuba by Christopher Columbus in 1492, and brought to Abaco in the late 1800s.  There are no similar horses in Cuba today.

 only 6 Abaco wild horses remain from a herd of about 200 As of this date, only 6 horses remain from a herd of about 200, on the verge of extinction for the second time in recent years.

These beautiful creatures have become endangered by the environmental changes brought about by man; the road which cut through their forest, the relentless clear-cutting of same, the unspeakable atrocities perpetrated by men who hunted and slaughtered them, the fires which destroyed their natural grazing source, the poisonous weeds that grew up in the aftermath of bulldozing.

Against all odds, these 6 remaining Abaco Barbs, known to be the most endangered breed of horse on our planet, continue to fight courageously for their survival.

That, effectively, is the end of the story.

Most people really don’t care. The Bahamian government doesn’t seem to much care, either.

But there’s one woman here in Marsh Harbour, who lives on her boat, and who devotes her life to preventing the extinction of the Abaco Barbs.

Skip and Lydia on Flying Pig in Marsh HarbourSkip and I met with her, to see how we could help, how we could give back, how we can make a difference.

We’ll start by volunteering our time in the Buck-a-Book bookstore, where, not surprisingly, books cost a buck, and all the money generated goes to the non-profit fund for the horses.  And the fund needs money badly.

Now, if I were to ask you whether you thought you could afford to spend $10 a month on eating out, you’d tell me not to be ridiculous.

Of course you can’t eat out for $10/month.  You can’t even buy lunch for two at McDonalds for $10.  I’m not even sure that you can buy a 6-pack of Bud Lite for $10 (you definitely can’t in the Abacos), and I know for an absolute fact that $10 won’t get you more than two boxes of Cornflakes anymore.  I’ve thought about this a lot – Skip and I are on a tight budget out here – and I’ve concluded that in today’s economy, you can’t really do very much at all for $10/month.

Abaco wild horse But you could make an enormous difference for the Abaco Barbs for $10/month.

If we all did it – if everyone of us who gets this log did it, (which doesn’t include the non-members who simply log in and read from the site), we’d have generated $6750 in one month.  In ONE month!!

(Lydia originally posted this entry in the log that she sends out to friends and family. When she is counting readers and members, she is referring to readers of her log/newsletter.)

That amount of money would go a long way towards catching up the wages for the two loyal men who stand watch over the 5 miles of fence around the horses (constantly weeding around it and repairing it, among other things), who haven’t had a paycheck since July, but are still working, such is their devotion.

I don’t know how you feel about your raison d’etre, but I believe that if I see an opportunity to make a positive difference in this world, I’m obliged to take it.   I mean, really – if you are reading this log, I can safely say that we all agree with that, right?

Abaco barb So, for $10 every month, I am going to be a part of preserving the oldest, and most endangered breed of horse on this earth.

I’m going to help repair the damage that mankind caused these creatures; I’m going to help stave off their extinction for at least another month.  I’m doing it for the horses, and I’m doing it for my grandchildren and your grandchildren, and all their grandchildren, and for the beautiful planet we live on.

I think that most of us could scratch up $10 each month from the change under the seats of our cars and our sofas, not to mention what gets left in our pockets in the laundry hamper.  Would you help me?

Please take the time to look at the site –

Please click the donation button.  I already have.

Love, Lydia

S/V Flying Pig
Morgan 46 #2

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