Posted by: Sunset Rentals | January 28, 2014

A History of Hilton Head’s Horse: The Marsh Tacky

Marsh Tacky Horse

Courtesy of the Carolina Marsh Tacky Association

Believed to have originated from Spain brought over to the Americas by Spanish explorers in the 1500’s, the Marsh Tacky horse has a 400+ year history in the Lowcountry. According to the Carolina Marsh Tacky Association, a group dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of the breed, at one point, nearly every resident of Hilton Head had a Marsh Tacky horse in their backyard. Today, only about 300 remain.

The Marsh Tacky horse is a smaller breed known for their gentle nature, as they once took children to school and families wherever they needed to go. They also worked in the field and during hunting and have a unique ability to get themselves out of swamps and bogs due to necessity. In 2010, the Marsh Tacky was declared the State Heritage Horse of South Carolina.

You can see these lovely creatures each year at the annual Marsh Tacky beach race at Daufuskie Island. This year’s event will be March 29 in the afternoon. Horses and their owners will race from Bloody Point to the South Beach Public Access.

There’s also a lovely children’s book about Marsh Tackys to share with your little ones. “The Beach Race Champion: A Marsh Tacky Tale” by Patricia Stafford tells the story of a determined and spirited horse named Molly. Order the book here.

You can also do your part to help support the continuation of this breed by volunteering, becoming a member of the association or buying your very own Marsh Tacky. Visit the Carolina Marsh Tacky Association website.

For more information about Hilton Head vacation homes, visit or call 800-276-8991.


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