Citing health problems and a lack of race teams, the Daufuskie Island Marsh Tacky Beach Race scheduled for this month will be postponed until fall, according to a news release from the Carolina Marsh Tacky Association.
An "unprecedented series of health issues and schedule conflicts" reduced the field of horses in the March 29 race to just seven teams, about half the number the association wanted, the release said.
The release said the association is working with the Daufuskie community to reschedule the race in the fall.
Association secretary Jackie McFadden said in January that 15 horses were expected to race. Attempts Monday to reach McFadden for comment were unsuccessful.
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Marsh tackies, which are slightly smaller than standard horses, are descended from Spanish horses that were brought to the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia in the 1500s.
News of the postponement came about a month after it was announced that the race had lost its main sponsor for 2014. Melrose on the Beach, the Daufuskie Island resort that hosted the 2013 race, announced it would pull out of the 2014 edition because of ongoing renovations to the resort and the stables where the horses are kept.
The race was moved to a public-access beach between Melrose and Bloody Point Golf Club.
Until 2013, marsh tacky races were held on Hilton Head Island. They were moved to Daufuskie after two sponsors pulled out in 2012.
Daufuskie ferry operator Wick Scurry, who runs the ferries bringing people and horses to the island for the races, said he thought the weather would make October a good time to reschedule the race, but added that the Daufuskie community would be open to any time.
"We're willing to do it anytime they can do it," he said. "It's unfortunate that things lined up to where we had to postpone it. We certainly want to continue holding it."
Although the race has been postponed, festivities surrounding the March 29 event have not, Scurry said.
"The race is not going to happen, but we will still be having a party," he said. "We still have a band booked, so people should come out and enjoy Daufuskie."
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- Marsh Tacky race to go on without sponsor, Jan. 29, 2014
- Marsh tacky races deemed a success on Daufuskie, May 8, 2013
- Marsh tacky horse races moving from Hilton Head to Daufuskie, Jan. 9, 2013