Wild Horses of Abaco Preserve
The preserve covers 4,000 acres of “The best pine forest" in The Abacos, and was set up as a preserve for the Spanish Colonial Wild Horses of Abaco, now the focus of an international effort to return them to viable numbers. Many other projects are also planned or in operation.
Known as the ”Abaco Spanish Colonials” they were formerly considered just a herd of wild horses that galloped through the pine forest on Abaco after being abandoned by an early logging industry. However, in August 2002, their identity was confirmed through three separate DNA analyses, photos and video records and they were established as a separate strain of the Spanish Colonial Horses brought over at the time of Columbus' explorations. It is believed that Abaco once was the curator of possibly the purest strain of these horses in existence today. They were brought from Cuba to Abaco In the late 1800’s.
In the 60’s’s, there was a mighty herd of 200 strong, but the Abaco’s’ journey to extinction began in the late 1960's when the herd was reduced to only three. By 1992, they had reproduced and increased to 35, yet today they are extinct. The last mare, Nunki, died in July, 2015, and plans are now in place to restore the herd via cloning.
Visiting this natural environment is a rare, unique experience, and is by guided tour only. The area has been untouched since the 1940's and you can see pines that are over 100 years old. It is miles from civilization, with vistas ranging from dense forest to open fields, and has been described as "magical" by many visitors. It offers a nursery area for hundreds of species of wild plants used by locals for "bush medicine," insects, butterflies (the rare Atala Hairstreak, for one) birds and other wildlife that have been driven out of many areas by over burning and development. The role of fire in the forest ecosystem can be closely observed here. There are also unique geological formations here, like high petrified dunes overlooking valleys, plus marshes large and small, the largest fresh water lens in Abaco, a two-mile marsh (visible from Google Earth), and a tidal Blue Hole with fresh water floating on top of salt water. Nearby is a working farm.
Access to the Wild Horse habitat is off the beaten path in Treasure Cay by prior arrangement with the curator, Mimi Rehor. Visitors must be able to walk; there is limited wheelchair access along the old logging roads. Tours can be tailored to your capabilities.
Pet Friendly Notes
Leashed dogs are permitted, as long as they do not disturb or endanger the wildlife.
You can exercise with rigorous hiking along flat roads or over natural terrain, while bird/butterfly watching and learning about the local flora; have a picnic or swim in the beautiful blue hole or just totally unwind. You'll be surrounded by the peace and quiet of miles of undisturbed forest, except for gentle bird song, the wind in the pines, and the fresh breeze tickling your face.
Personal, private guided tours are available year round, with reservations; the best times are from October to June.
Individuals - $35 per person / toddlers are free. Group Rates - students $5.00 each / adults $10.00 each