Endangered Equine Breed Thrives At Crescent J Ranch

By  //  April 23, 2012

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Esperanza with her mother, Taffy.

KENANSVILLE, FLORIDA — It’s that time of year again on the Crescent J Ranch in Kenansville where Dr. Bill Broussard and his wife Margaret are welcoming new Santa Cruz babies into the world to ensure the viability of and sustain the rare Spanish-heritage equine breed, which just a few years ago faced extinction.

13 of the 25 existing horses in the Santa Cruz herd were purchased by the Broussards and transported from California to their ranch, which is part of the Allen Broussard Conservancy (ABC) at Forever Florida, in the summer of 2010.  Their trip was chronicled in a feature in the 2010 September issue of Space Coast Medicine.

Chiquita and mom, Chica, share almost identical palomino color and markings.

Esperanza, a filly sired by  Toblarone was born premature on March 8th to Taffy, but thanks to the great work of Dr. Jim Harvey and his staff at the Okeechobee Veterinary Hospital she is now doing well and thriving.

A second filly, also sired by Toblarone, was born on March 17th to Chica.  The foal, named Chiquita, is a beautiful spit and image of her mother.  Their palomino coloring is predominant in the Santa Cruz breed.

With the most recent addition to the herd, a yet unnamed cremello (white) stud colt sired by the palomino stud Paco and born to Alberta on April 2nd, the Forever Florida Santa Cruz herd is now up to 16 with two more babies expected to hit the ground this year.

Alberta and her yet unnamed stud colt.

One of the mares died from illness shortly after arriving in Florida, but the 8 mares, three foundation studs, Paco, Laredo and Toblarone plus a yearling stud called Apollo make up the largest existing herd of Santa Cruz horses in the world.  Under the watchful eyes of Bill and Margaret Broussard the recovery and stabilization of the breed is secure.

The Broussards and ABC, founded as a tribute to their son Allen, are legendary friends of endangered species and dedicated to the preservation and protection of the fragile eco-systems of Florida’s native wilderness. Focused on maintaining the historical unique ranching heritage of Florida, the Crescent J Ranch is also the home of the largest herd of Spanish Colonial horses, also known as “Cracker” horses, as well as a large herd of Spanish Colonial cattle.

Bill and Margaret Broussard, here with three members of their Santa Cruz herd, are committed to the preservation of the endangered equine breed. The palomino on the right is Paco, one of their foundation stallions.