Rare horses born after Hurricane Matthew's chaos

Rare horses born after Hurricane Matthew's chaos

DAUFUSKIE ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - When Hurricane Matthew ravaged Daufuskie Island just over a year ago, the 100 people who stayed behind on the island to ride out the storm were not alone.

More than a dozen rare, March Tacky horses were also left behind, corralled on the highest ground on the island while their owners prayed they would survive the storm.

Daufuskie is a native habitat for the Marsh Tacky and one of the only places left in the Lowcountry where the horses exist in that habitat. Four hundred years ago, Spanish explorers and conquerors brought the Marsh Tacky to the new world tied into the lower holds of massive Spanish Galleons. Those horses later became the animals that built, plowed and delivered warriors to the battlefields of South Carolina and Georgia through the Revolutionary War.

Then they were turned loose, running wild for hundreds of years across the marshes and swamplands of the Lowcountry.

Today there are fewer than 400 of the horses left on the planet. The Marsh Tacky is even extinct in its native Spain.  But, here on Daufuskie Island, the effort to breed and rebuild the Marsh Tacky population is slowly starting up again with limited success.

Then came Hurricane Matthew.

While the horses were corralled through the storm, a single, 18-month-old stud named Lucero took full advantage of his time alone with a couple of much older mares. Matthew's miracles arrived a year later in the form of a filly and a colt. They are the first to be born on the island in half a century.

"Matthew's Miracle" is their story. You can watch live on WTOC or WTOC.com at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018.

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