The Narragansett Pacer is an extinct horse breed. The original horses from which this breed was developed were reportedly imported from Andalusia by Governor Robinson, and the breed itself is primarily associated with the state of Rhode Island in the 17th century. Some believe the Narragansett Pacer was produced from Irish Hobbies and Scottish Galloway pony, others believe from the Spanish Jennet. There is evidence of the breed as early as 1676. After the Revolutionary War, the breed became extinct. Prior to that time the breed contributed to the development of several other breeds.
The breed was principally known for two traits, they had a pacing gait that was easy to sit. They were hardy, sure-footed, powerful, yet docile and easy to handle. Their coloration was usually chestnut, with liberal splashings of white markings. They were often raced by the colonists, breeders choosing bloodlines for speed, and one source reported that one of these horses paced a mile in under two minutes, a feat not formally recorded for many years to come.
The breed was generally quite small, between 13.2- 14.2 hands high, and were apparently not especially flashy-looking horses, which may have reduced their popularity, led to their use primarily for crossbreeding to put the gait but not appearance into other horses, which may have led to the extinction of the breed.
The Narragansett Pacer has influenced many modern breeds, especially the gaited breeds, including the Standardbred, the Tennessee Walking Horse, and even 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 may have contributed to the Paso Fino breed. The Narragansett Pacer is also thought to have possibly influenced the Canadian Pacer, which, in turn, has influenced many of the above breeds and developed into the modern day Canadian Horse.
- It is believed that Paul Revere rode a Narragansett Pacer to warn the colonists of the British invasion.
- ↑ J. Russell Manning, Manning's Horse Book, Edgewood Publishing Company, 1882, p. 87f
- "Return to the New World: Colonial Horses: The Narragansett Pacer - the First Truly American Breed of Horse"