4th Annual Marsh Tacky Horse Races!

This past weekend was what I consider the IDEAL way to live in the Lowcountry.  After a winter of somewhat chilly weather, this past week brought temps into the mid-70’s, blue sky,and amazing sunshine.

Sunday on Hilton Head Island marked the 4th running of the Marsh Tacky Horse Races.  If you don’t know about the Marsh Tacky’s, here a quick history….after the Civil War, Hilton Head Island was made up primarily of  the Gullah (descendants from slaves) who had come to the Island for various reasons – one being the town of Mitchelville.  The Native Islanders lived and worked on their land and at the end of farming season each year they would have horse races on the beach – to celebrate the harvest.  The horses (called Marsh Tackys) are indigenous to the area – descendants from those that were left here by the Spanish in the 1600’s.  Marsh Tackys are the official South Carolina State Heritage Horse and are named for their ability to navigate and farm through the marshes of the Lowcountry.

The Marsh Tacky races are usually during the last weekend in February – to mark the ending of “Gullah Celebration” – which is a month-long celebration of all things Gullah.   The first races were held four years ago on Mitchelville Beach, with just a few hundred guests…..but as the event grew, so did the viewers, and it was eventually moved to Coligny Beach with ample room for horses, spectators and amenities.   This year, due to the tides, the races had to occur in March, which is a super busy month on HHI – so thousands upon thousands of people came to watch the Marsh Tackys run!

On Sunday, Joe and I strapped Gray in his bike trailer, cut through Palmetto Dunes and hit the beach on our bikes – riding up to Coligny to catch the races.  It was the first “beach day” of the year for us, and considering that last year Gray sat in his stroller at the beach – wow what a change.  Let’s just say, we were unprepared.  We pulled up to the races and met up with our friends, the Hookers, who have Emma (3) and Owen (4) and the Greens who have Hayden (4).  Well, Gray saw them running around in the tidal pools  with all the other kids and he beelined it to get in on the action.

Here is a pic of him fully clothed (and of course Mama didn’t bring a change) in the tidal pool.

Here are the marsh tacky’s – you can see them off in the distance – thats how many people were there!

Here’s a pic of Gray and Dad – after his run through the tidal pools, we stripped him down!

We didn’t know what to do with Gray, his clothes were soaked and he was covered in salt water and sand, so we decided to take him up to the Coligny fountain to see if he wanted to run around in the water spurts to clean off.  Ya’all, this absolutely made our (his) day.  He was SO enthralled with the water spurts, at first a little hesitant and then totally into it.  And yes, he was just in his diaper.  Don’t judge me please re: the diaper – I couldn’t believe it myself – but he was soooo happy.

Check out this video of him in the water….a few people actually came up to us and said “he is a joy to watch” and “we loved watching him”….it was so much fun!

What a great day to live on Hilton Head Island!  Thank you so much to Coastal Discovery Museum & Gullah Celebration as well as the the ATAX committee and Town of Hilton Head for making this event happen!

With Love From The Lowcountry,

Heather

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