Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Wild Prairie Ponies of Central Louisiana, 1937

(Above) B&W Photo: A small Creole pony stands beside a full-size Quarter Horse on the southwest Louisiana prairie. The Creole pony is especially hardy and well adapted to work in the marshes with its flat hooves.
From the Federal Writers Project article The Prairie Ponies of Allen And Evangeline Parishes, 1937:

"Roaming over the timber-less expanses of parts of Allen and Evangeline Parishes are thousands of wild ponies.  With their long manes and tails and rough, fuzzy coats, these little horses present a striking picture.  Of practically no value to the human race they have been allowed to wander the wilds of unclaimed lands for at least the past hundred years.  At the present time it is estimated that there are perhaps at least five thousand of them in this particular section

(Above) B&W Photo: A Louisiana farmer plowing his fields for planting, aided by a Cotton Mule named Patty and a Creole Pony named Dick.

Originally the so-called 'prairie pony' was the little 'Creole pony' used by the early French in Louisiana.  The Creole pony became crossed with the little ponies of the Texas plains to become that little wild animal of the waste lands in the prairie section of the State.  In appearance these ponies are in rather dull colors except for the flashing eyes and tossing heads.  All colors are represented, even the spotted or mixture of the solid colors to form the 'paint pony.'  The hardiness of the breed has allowed them to sustain themselves throughout the generations on native grasses by foraging the prairies."