The Narragansett Pacer is a relatively unknown horse breed, although it was once quite famous. It was created in the state of Rhode Island in the 17th century, and has unknown ancestry. Some people believe the Narragansett Pacer was produced from Irish Hobbies and Scottish Galloways, others believe from the Spanish Jennet. There is evidence of the breed as early as 1676. After the Revolutionary War, the breed became extinct.
The breed was usually chestnut, with liberal splashings of white markings. They had a smooth gait, which was extremely easy to ride, although it is unknown which particular gait they performed, described as “pacing” (which could mean fox trot, running walk, stepping pace, or rack). They were often raced by the colonists, breeders choosing bloodlines for speed, and one man reported that one of these horses paced a mile in under two minutes. This was a feat not to be accomplished for many years to come. The breed was generally quite small, between 13.2- 14.2 hh, and were apparently not especially good-looking horses, which may have helped to promote their extinction. They were known for their hardiness and sure-footed nature.
The Narragansett Pacer has influenced many modern breeds, especially the gaited breeds, including the Standardbred, the Tennessee Walking Horse, the Morgan and the American Saddlebred. They were exported to the West Indies and Caribbean Islands, where they were bred with the Spanish stock, and created the Paso breeds of today. The Narragansett Pacer is also thought to have possibly influenced the Canadian Pacer, who, in turn, has influenced many of the above breeds and developed into the modern day Canadian Horse.
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