Narragansett Pacer 
Narragansett Pacer

    The Narragansett Pacer was the first North American horse breed.  It first appeared in the area of  Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island prior to 1676. Some believe it was produced from Irish Hobbies and Scottish Galloways, others believe from the Spanish Jennet.
   They were hardy, sure of foot, and easy moving horses. At the time of the American Revolution, the Narragansett Pacer was considered the aristocrat of North American horses. It was the horse that carried Paul Revere on his famous ride and was the favorite mount of George Washington. 
   Narragansett mares were crossed with Thoroughbreds, which the colonists began importing from England in the early 1700s. It led to a new breed. Called the American Horse, it was a recognized breed by 1780.  It had the size and beauty of the Thoroughbred, but retained the ability to learn the easy riding gaits. They were also exported to the West Indies where they were bred with Spanish stock to form many of today's Paso breeds. By 1800, the original Narragansett had been bred out of existence.
     It had laid the foundation for the pacing horse in America, and it's influence would carry on where ever pacing horses existed.  The little horse had served its people well. 
     Since the Narragansett Pacer made significant contributions to the Walking Horse breed, its characteristics are worthy of attention.  By modern standards, the Narragansett Pacer would be classed as a scrub.  It was small: the average height of the Rhode Island horses in 1769 was 14:1 hands, which was a step up from the 1750 average of 13:2.  They were judged even at their time to be "not very handsome, but good", plain in their form and low in their carriage.  They were fleet, hardy and docile, surefooted, but not beautiful, and it is reasonable to suppose that the lack of style and beauty was one of the leading causes of its becoming extinct. 

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