A Beautiful Cruel CountryEva-book


by Eva Antonia Wilbur-Cruce. 1987, University of Arizona Press, Tucson, Arizona.

A Beautiful Cruel Country – Book Jacket From the book’s inside flap: “Arizona’s Arivaca Valley lies only a short distance from the Mexican border and is a rugged land in which to put down stakes. When Arizona Territory was America’s last frontier, this area was homesteaded by Anglo and Mexican settlers alike, who often displaced the Indian population that had lived there for centuries. This frontier way of life, which prevailed as recently as the beginning of the twentieth century, is now recollected in vivid detail by an octogenarian who spent her girlhood in this beautiful, cruel country.”

Eva Antonia Wilbur inherited a unique affinity for the land. She was the granddaughter of a Harvard-educated physician who came to the Territory in the 1860s. Eva was the firstborn child of a Mexican mother and Anglo father. They instilled in her an appreciation for both cultures. Little Toña learned firsthand the responsibilities of

Eva Wilbur-Cruce at the Wilbur-Cruce Ranch in 1920

Eva Wilbur-Cruce at the Wilbur-Cruce Ranch in 1920

ranching, an education usually reserved for boys. Eva also experienced the racial hostility that occurred during those final years before the  Papago Indians were confined to a reservation.

Begun as a reminiscence to tell younger family members about their ‘rawhide tough and lonely’ life at the turn of the century, Mrs. Wilbur-Cruce’s book is rich with imagery and dialogue that brings the Arivaca area to life. Her story is built around the annual cycle of ranch life—its spring and fall round-ups, planting and harvesting—and features a cavalcade of border characters, anecdotes about folk medicine, and recollections of events that were most meaningful in a young girl’s life. Her account constitutes a valuable primary source from a region about which nothing similar has been previously published, while the richness of her story creates a work of literature that will appeal to readers of all ages.More information






Arizona’s Spanish Barbs


Resources - Silke Schneider Arizona Spanish Barb horses

by Silke Schneider 2007, Outskirts Press, USA. Arizona’s Spanish Barbs
A Living Legend of the American Southwest- “In the late 1600s Jesuit missionary and explorer Father Eusebio Kino established a herd of Spanish horses along with cattle and other livestock at Mission Dolores, Mexico, to supply the expanding settlements of the Pimeria Alta region.

According to family history, Dr. Wilbur, an early homesteader near the town of Arivaca, Arizona, purchased a group of these mission horses in the 1870s. These became the foundation stock of the Wilbur-Cruce rancher strain of the Spanish Barb breed.

Dr. Wilbur’s granddaughter, Eva Antonia Wilbur-Cruce, preserved this isolated herd through much adversity until she sold her family ranch in 1989 to The Nature Conservancy, as an interim holder, to be included in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge.

Fortunately the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy became involved. Blood typing and visual inspection supported the oral history and resulted in the rescue of the herd. Today Eva’s ‘rock horses,’ as she fondly called them – noting their ability to negotiate very difficult, rocky, mountainous country with skill and ease – are preserved in several Western states. In 2005 the Wilbur-Cruce horses were formally accepted as the sixth foundation strain of the Spanish Barb. Today the Wilbur-Cruce Spanish Barbs are highly prized for their extraordinary hardiness, sure footedness and strong bond with ‘their’ people.”More information




Riding Behind the Pardre

By Richard Collins, is about borderland immigration and drug trafficking are heated issues for most people living in the Southwest. But for Arizona rancher-author Richard Collins, who operates a 13,000 acre ranch near the Mexican border, they are a daily occuRiding-behind-the-padrerrence. Wanting to hear firsthand from those living and working in the middle of the action, Collins embarks on a horseback journey along the Arizona-Sonoran borderlands in Riding Behind the Padre: Horseback Views from Both Sides of the Border.
In this true story, Collins joins up with a congenial group of Mexican riders retracing the pathways of Eusebio Francisco Kino, the pioneering Jesuit priest who explored the same borderlands three hundred years prior. The riders include a cross-section of Mexico’s growing middle class, bonded by faith in the Catholic Church, love of family and their country, and dedicated to the cause of Kino’s sainthood. They are also troubled by America’s failed war on drugs and its outdated immigration policies, and they often wonder if the United States is their ally or adversary.

Through their perspectives and insights, the reader comes away with a better understanding of borderland complexities and a difficult but workable road map for the future.

With a passion for landscape, horses, and history, this modern-day cowboy adventure unfolds in the Sonoran Desert where the dangers are fewer than advertised, beauty far outweighs ugliness, and most people are still friendly and caring.



Managing Breeds for a Secure Future


by D Phillip Sponenberg, DVM, PhD, Donald E. Bixby, DVM, The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, 2007, Pittsboro, North Carolina.

From the Back Cover “Managing Breed for a Secure Future” tackles the challenges of maintaining genetic diversity in species and breeds of livestock and poultry. It is both a theoretical exposition and a practical user’s guide. Strategies that secure standardized breeds and land races are outlined and developed.”




The Official Horse Breeds Standards Guide


Resources Horsebreed-guide

by Fran Lynghaug 2009, Voyageur Press Minneapolis, MN. A complete guide to the standards of all North American Equine Breed Associations.

The book is a reference to the many equine breeds found in North America. It lists more than 118 equine breeds and includes Horses of the Range: Breeds of North American’s Wild Regions.

With a information 19 strains of Spanish type horses including the Spanish Barbs, Cerbats, and the Colonial Spanish Horse. The book includes breed histories, conformation ideals, characteristics, temperaments, colors, and variations.






Radio Interview with Silke Schneider on Spanish Mustang Radio 11/2014






2013, Arizona Historical Cases Video from the State of Arizona Supreme Court website. This video features photos from Robert Zimmerman, Ava Wilbur-Cruce’s grand nephew. The video on Ava Wilbur-Cruce is the third story in the video and begins at 19 minutes 19 seconds. The narrator paints Eva as a horse rustler which may refer to her arrest for taking revenge for the killing of her horses by killing cattle. SBHA doesn’t agree with all the information in this video but any publicity about the horses can help.


Video on Ava Wilbur-Cruce




All the Pretty Horses and The Vaqueras Brava, by Raechel Running
Report on The Conservation Breeder’s Handbook, by Jane Dobrott
North American Colonial Spanish Horse Update, by D. Phillip Sponenberg, DVM, PhD
Wikipedia article on the Barb Horse
Wikipedia article on the Colonial Spanish Horse






Livestock Breeds Conservancy
Heritage Breeds Southwest
Rare Breeds International
Return to Freedom
FastWinn Photography
Kentucky Horse Park
Amerind Foundation
Horse of the Americas