Equestrian Feature Q&Animal Wildlife

Q and Animal: Erica Veit, Executive Director of the Daufuskie Marsh Tacky Society

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Introduce yourself and tell us what your involvement is with animals.

My name is Erica Veit and I’m the Founder and Executive Director of the Daufuskie Marsh Tacky Society. I have been a horse sports enthusiast and advocate for equine welfare since I could hold a pencil or read a book growing up in Ft. Worth TX. I have been in the Lowcountry since 1999 when I moved to Savannah to attend SCAD and competed with their equestrian team.coverphoto

When did you start the Daufuskie Marsh Tacky Society?

We organized in September of 2015 and received our 501c3 charitable award status from the IRS in February of 2016.

What is it about the Marsh Tacky that sparks so much interest?

The horse is about so  much more than meets the eye. The history, heritage and legacy that the Marsh Tacky represents for South Carolina belongs to all of us and it should be celebrated by everyone.

What does the Society do?

Our mission is to promote and protect the critically endangered Marsh Tacky through breeding, training and sales plus educational and special events programming. We have established the foundation for our main goal of breeding, by selecting a stud colt and broodmare which may be expecting this year!

Why is the Marsh Tacky so unique to our area?

The Marsh Tacky was brought by Spanish conquistadores and settlers alike on ships in the 1500’s. They were left upon our barrier islands here in the Lowcountry where they thrived independently in relative isolation for hundreds of years. They were eventually domesticated, and thanks to their contributions to agricultural, development, transportation and wartime efforts the Marsh Tacky was designated our South Carolina State Heritage Horse in 2010 by Mark Sanford.IMG_3997

Are the Marsh Tacky on Daufuskie different from other populations nearby?

University studies have determined that the Marsh Tacky is genetically unique compared to other breeds of horses. They are prized for being smaller sized horses with cool, easy going temperaments that are easy to train in any discipline. They are also adapt to our hot, swampy climate. Some Marsh Tackies possess a unique, smooth, fifth gait which is called the Swamp Fox Trot.

Do they have a historical significance?

The Marsh Tacky was an integral part of South Carolina history, heritage and culture. They were the mount of choice for Francis Marion whom defeated British cavalry in the American Revolution. They were used to patrol against Nazi U-boats on Hilton Head by the Coast Guard Beach Pounders during WWII. After the Civil War, every Gullah family had a Marsh Tacky in their yard.

What can people do if they want to get involved?

We are currently seeking dedicated volunteers, student interns and staff positions. Furthermore we are seeking community partnerships and corporate sponsorships for upcoming events. Individual donors can find us on Guidestar.org. Please contact erica@daufuskiemarshtackysociety.org for details!

 

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