Who would steal a marsh tacky?
They’re friendly, lovable little horses — a gift from the South Carolina Lowcountry’s mysterious past.
Perhaps that was to their own detriment as they apparently walked off with a stranger who broke a lock on a gate, cut a hot wire on a fence and hauled off the two marsh tackies without a trace in a rainstorm Sunday night.
Owner Jackie McFadden said the horses are missing and presumed stolen from a farm in Rembert, near Camden in Kershaw County, where they had served as ambassadors for the breed all day. Children were given free rides as the Carolina Marsh Tacky Association promotes the breed that dates to Colonial explorers and is the official South Carolina state heritage horse.
“I hope they’re OK. I hope they’re not hurt,” said McFadden, who fell in love with marsh tackies as a little girl and is now secretary of the association. “I’m extremely worried about them.”
Yago, a dark bay gelding, and “Little Miss” River, a bay mare, are natives of Ridgeland.
McFadden bought them in 2012 from breeder D.P. Lowther, who is credited with helping save the historically feral breed that now has a registry and a healthy future.
The 6-year-old horses are microchipped and are registered on the website of Stolen Horse International, aka NetPosse.com.
“Yago is very easy going, but he doesn’t like to be separated from River,” McFadden said. “He gets very distressed and runs and calls for her if he can’t see her.”
She gave River the name “Little Miss” because that’s what a former state legislator called McFadden when he hung up on her as she lobbied for the state heritage horse designation.
“She’s very curious about everything,” McFadden said. “When being ridden on trails, River is always distracted. She examines everything and pauses to look down every pathway. If there is water, she will go in and splash in it by pounding it with her hooves. Horse and rider will be soaked.”
She kept the horses on a farm owned by Janson Cox, where they were sometimes ridden by cadets from The Citadel’s Living History Club. Yago is named for the horse of a Citadel Rangers leader in the Civil War.
McFadden said flyers about the missing horses can be printed from the NetPosse website and posted at veterinarian offices or horse events. Anyone with any information can contact the Carolina Marsh Tacky Association. She hopes publicity will help bring them home.
“I don’t know why anyone would take them,” she said.