Chahta Isuba Ranch is currently the home of some beautiful wild horses. The Rickman Spanish Mustangs have been under the stewardship of Bryant and Darlene Rickman for decades, preserving the herd's unique DNA. Dr. Phil Sponenberg DVM, PhD, (Professor Pathology/Genetics, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine) identified the genetic importance of these particular horses and has been working with the Rickmans on a breeding plan to ensure this genetic diversity is not lost. What sets these horses apart from other Colonial Spanish Mustangs are their distinct DNA strains. The Rickman's herd include Choctaw and Cherokee Horses, which are two unique strains and the Gilbert Jones line.The Choctaw and Cherokee Horses are generally known for their gentle nature and mild temperaments while the Gilbert Jones line are proven long-distance endurance horses. Like other Colonial Spanish Horses, they are intelligent, hardy, surefooted and very people orientated. The genetics of the Gilbert Jones strain is unique in that it has a number of now extinct strains that were included in its development. Primarily founded on Choctaw breeding, the Jones strain includes Cherokee, Kiowa, Chickasaw, Comanche, and Huasteca horses from the herd that produced "Hidalgo" among others. If you have never heard of Hidalgo, you are missing out on a great story! Gilbert Jones, the founder of the Jones line and the Southwest Spanish Mustang Association, passed away in the year 2000. His herd, which ran free in the Kiamichi Mountains was then passed down to Bryant and Darlene Rickman. In 2007, he was notified that his Blackjack Mountain grazing leases were being cancelled. In fact, eight other leases were also being cancelled on the timber lands in Pushmataha County. In a changing world, several large timber companies chose this course of action in order to concentrate on intensive forestry management. This created a desperate, almost hopeless situation of removing the wild horses and finding land to relocate them. In spite of law suits, family situations and illness, the Rickmans never gave up. Since they are some of the best people you will ever come across, they have amassed a great deal of friends who have also given up their time and money to help. The Rickman herd is currently dispersed on several properties creating an 80 mile round trip for Bryant Rickman to feed and care for them. Chahta Isuba Ranch, which translates to Choctaw Horse Ranch, is one of the places. Our family fell in love with the horses and even though we are descended from Choctaws, the name of our ranch was all about these horses. We believe the horses are magic, they helped connect us to our past and realize our future. In the year 2014, the State of Oklahoma recognized these horses as the official Heritage Horse of Oklahoma. We are proud to help protect these historical treasures!