South Carolina's heritage horse played a vital role throughout the state's history.

The Marsh Tacky acquired the names "Marsh" for running wild in marshlands and "Tacky" for being cheap and commonly used. Francis Marion and his troops rode them as they fought against the British in the Revolutionary War, and Confederate troops used them during the Civil War.

Rep. Chip Limehouse said the Marsh Tacky was a platform for farmers and hunters. "The horse is basically the Mustang of South Carolina," he said.

South Carolina legislators passed a bill last week that designates the horse as being the official State Heritage Horse.

"It's wonderful news for South Carolina, because this shows the world how much we love the horse," said Limehouse, R-Charleston. Having experience with them as a young boy, Limehouse has been pushing for this legislation for years. "They had a big impact on the Lowcountry."

Despite its legacy, the Marsh Tacky almost went extinct as times became more modernized.

"People didn't need horses as much as the bridges started to be built," said Jackie McFadden, a board member of the Carolina Marsh Tacky Association. Currently there are only 300 horses, but McFadden is happy legislators gave it a formal designation. "It's unique to our state, for no other state has such horses," McFadden said.

The Marsh Tacky was not the only animal to receive praise. An amendment was approved that designated the mule as the official State Heritage Work Animal. "The mule's not a sexy animal, but it was a work beast for it was the tractor and bulldozer of this state and country throughout history," said Rep. Kenneth Kennedy, D-Greeleyville.