Pretty Boy, Foxy and son
Cracker horses on Crescent J
Cremello, Chestnut and Palomino
CRESCENT J HERD
The largest herd of registered Cracker horses in Florida (and in the world) is also on the Crescent J. They are being bred to bring back some almost-lost Iberian genetic characteristics such as the Spanish Gennet pace, an easy-riding, fast, single-foot walk and other characteristics of the breed that developed in Florida during the four centuries they ran feral in Florida, such as intelligence, endurance, hardiness and resistance to parasites. On the Crescent J, young Cracker horses are trained to be good cattle-working or trail horses. Some taken to horse shows bring back blue ribbons.
An even more endangered livestock breed is another Spanish Colonial Horse that was introduced by the Spanish to a large island off the Coast of California, Santa Cruz. In the two centuries that they were on that predator-free island, they lost all fear of predators, including people, whom other horses view as predators. As a result, they are very friendly and curious, especially with children. This makes them ideal for children participating in our camping programs. They are also different in color than the Cracker horses, which are mostly black, gray and shades of brown. The Santa Cruz horses are palomino, chestnut and cremello (white with blue eyes).
In 1979, Dr. Broussard learned about a system of managed grazing that could increase the herd carrying capacity of available pasture by about 50%. This is accomplished by dividing the pastures into grazing cells and rotating the cattle through the cells every day or two. The size of the cells is determined by head count. He divided all the pastures on the Crescent J with solar-powered electric fences in order to implement this advanced system of managed grazing.
The cattle quickly learned the routine and are always ready to move immediately into each new cell in its turn. They eat everything in the cell instead of wandering around a large pasture, picking out their favorite grasses. When they leave that cell, all the grasses begin to recover at the same time. When the cattle are rotated back into that cell a month or so later, all the grasses are fresh, instead of some being old and dry. This not only makes better use of all species of grass in the cells, but also spreads the manure around the entire area, as the cattle don’t just go in the afternoon to their favorite spots to lie down, chew their cuds and when they get up, drop their manure where it becomes a source of polluted water that could drain into canals or creeks and eventually into some source of drinking water.