Aug 24 2016

October Beach Race Features Rare Horse Breed

By Doug Reynolds for The Island Connection

Photos by Jackie McFadden

Spectators can see their favorite competitors thunder down the Kiawah beach.

Spectators can see their favorite competitors thunder down the Kiawah beach.

Come celebrate a unique aspect of our state’s heritage and enjoy a party on the pool deck, all while supporting the work of the Kiawah Cares Foundation (KCF) on the Sea Islands, at the 2016 Kiawah Cup.

The event, which is a partnership between the KCF and the Carolina Marsh Tacky Association (CMTA), takes place on Saturday, Oct. 29, from noon to 4:30 p.m. and features a thrilling marsh tacky horse race down Kiawah’s beach.

Unique to South Carolina, the marsh tacky is a rare colonial Spanish horse breed with only 360 known to be in existence.

Unique to South Carolina, the marsh tacky is a rare colonial Spanish horse breed with only 360 known to be in existence.

Horse races on Kiawah’s beach are an important part of the area’s history, and are a thrilling, one-of-a-kind experience,” said KCF Board Chair Jimmy Bailey. “We’re excited to bring this unique event to Kiawah. In addition to supporting KCF’s work on Johns and Wadmalaw islands, the event will showcase the rare and endangered marsh tacky breed, the official state heritage horse.”

“Horse races on Kiawah’s beach are an important part of the area’s history, and are a thrilling, one-of-a-kind experience.” Kiawah Cares Foundation Board Chair Jimmy Bailey

“Horse races on Kiawah’s beach are an important part of the area’s history, and are a thrilling, one-of-a-kind experience.” Kiawah Cares Foundation Board Chair Jimmy Bailey

South Carolina designated the marsh tacky (Equus caballus) as the official state heritage horse in 2010. The marsh tacky is a rare colonial Spanish horse breed unique to South Carolina. These tough horses have played a pivotal role in the development and defense of the state, and were an integral part of life in early Lowcountry communities. They were once plentiful here, but these horses are now endangered with only 360 documented marsh tackies in existence. The CMTA works to preserve and promote this breed of horse throughout the state.

The Oct 29 event begins at noon with the pre-race VIP Horsin’ Around Cocktail Hour (limit 120 VIP ticket holders only) in the Sandcastle Community Center ballroom, overlooking the race field. At 1:15 p.m. opening ceremonies featuring the flag run and rider introductions will usher in the start of the race. Spectators can cheer on their favorite horse and rider as they take off in a flash down Kiawah’s pristine beach, racing towards victory.

After the race, select ticket holders will enjoy poolside fare by Gourmet Bay Catering and cocktails by Mix Charleston at the Heritage Reception. The always popular East Coast Party Band will have guests on their feet. Local personality Tom Crawford will host an exciting live auction for chances to bid on a variety of exclusive items, as well as a Paddles Up segment to sponsor local school children.

Tickets are now on sale, and four different ticket options allow you to tailor your entertainment experience. To purchase tickets, or for other information including details on sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, visit kiawahcup.org. Be sure to “Like” the Kiawah Cup (facebook.com/kiawahcup) for updates as the race draws near.

The Kiawah Cup is KCF’s primary fundraiser during the year, supporting programs for Sea Island seniors, students and the underprivileged, with a feature focus on education and the involvement of Communities In Schools in our five public schools.

We wanted to host an exciting event for our guests,” said Bailey, “while doing something that would benefit the greater community. This event will both entertain and positively impact our Sea Island neighbors.”

For more information on the CMTA and their work, visit marshtacky.info.

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