America's Wild Mustangs

The Spirit of the Wild Land

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The History of the Mustang

25,000 years ago horse like creatures, genus Equus, roamed North America. At one point they immigrated to Eurasia. These ancestors of the actual wild mustangs, the north and South American Mustangs, are now extinct and have been for 8,000 to 10,000 years because of humans hunting the wild horses for meat and hides. The horses then went on to the Iberian Peninsula where their breeding happened between Iberia and Northern Africa due to Moors who brought over barb horses from North Africa. Horses came back to America in 1493 with Christopher Columbus, during Spanish colonization. The historical documentations say about 70 horses on the first colony in Dominican Republic and Haiti by 1503. Thus horses were brought to other countries and continents spreading them about until, in 1553, there were about 10,000 wild horses spread through Mexico, North America, and South America. At one point in history all horses were descendent from the mustangs. Later in history though their feral blood became distilled with outside blood.

 Mustangs Endangered?


In 1970 the mustang population had been ravaged by human consumption. Consumption was not only for meat for humans but it was also for pets as well. Their organized killing of the wild mustangs lead to laws to preserve them as an endangered species. To conserve the wild heritage of horses, Societies began to promote Mustang stock. The first mustang conservationists were the Spanish Mustang Registry in 1957. Not long after, in the 1960's, the American Mustang Association was founded, along with many other associations. Although now it isn’t necessary to consider them endangered. There are somewhere around 30,000 and 45,000 roaming the U.S.


BLM (Bureau of Land Management) Mustang Murders.

In 1977 BLM had announced that they were going to cut back the numbers of Mustangs and burros that could be living in one area. some of their attempts to round up horses were dangerous. such as helicopter round ups causing mass injuries and causing Pregnant mares to abort their foals. concerned horse lovers tried to persuade BLM to try new methods that were less stressful on the horses and safer as well, but BLM ignored their persuasions and continued their round ups. on further inspection of the BLM Mustang management it was found that the horses were corralled tightly packed with no room to run or play awaiting their murder or adoption. The stallions were taken from the mares and put in separate corrals. There they demolished each other with constant fighting. further inspection revealed that BLM had been shooting animals on the range as well as leading them to pits and trenches to be shot. Most of the mustangs shot were healthy horses. BLM also falsified adoption papers for the shot mustangs. Going to court on the matter the judge ordered that the corrals had to have feeding troughs installed, and that only the horses with veterinarian certificate could be killed by injection only. Through all of the troubles that the BLM had caused the horse population dropped dramatically, Thus them being on the Endangered species list.


The Herd Life of a Mustang

In the wild Mustangs have what is called a social life where they live in groups called Herds. A herd usually consists of all females and only one adult male. The one male horse, called a Stallion, keeps and protects the females and foals so they don’t get hurt. Stallions do not usually head herds until they are about 6 years old. Horses usually become sexually mature at 3 years. The mating Season ranges from April to July, where the mare holds the foal for about 11 Months. The number of Young a mare can produce at one time is Usually one but occasionally twins will occur. In the herds they Communicate with each other in soft whinnies, whickering loud, and snorting to warn of danger. They eat mainly Grass and foliage and usually live up to 20 years, but can live longer in captivity. During the spring the stallion will mate with more than one of the females. When the females give birth the stallion is very protective over the herd and often won’t let any other horse near. If the female gives birth to a male foal it usually ends up getting kicked out of the herd when it is about a year to prevent rivalry between the stallion and the baby.


Why there are Many Different looks of Wild Mustangs.


The Phrase “Wild Mustang” is more of a classification than it is a breed. This is because wild horses have been bred with so many of our own found and domesticated bred horses that a “Pure” bred mustang would never exist. The horses that Christopher Columbus, the Spanish, and others brought over would escape from captivity and live with the wild horses, breeding with them. These horses can range from tiny ponies to American Draft horses.


Mustangs Effect on the Earth

Mustangs have a big effect on the planet whether or not you know or care. Not only do people release horses into the west and other area’s when they cannot care for them, they also shoot them when they think they have become a nuisance. The mustangs are often herded by BLM (Bureau of Land Management) to control their numbers. From there they are sold, sometimes to slaughterhouses to have their meat sold abroad. Mustang demolish fields eating whatever grass they can find and tearing up the ground with their hooves. They have a smaller effect on the earth than the wild cats. The Ford company that creates the mustang sports cars, raised more than $200,000 to help save them from slaughterhouses.

Different Types of Mustangs

Although mustangs are a mixed breed of horse they do have different type of mustangs. They include The Kiger or Spanish Mustang, Florida Cracker, Sulphur Mustang, Pryor Mountain Mustang, and the Sorraia Mustangs.


Kiger Mustangs


Kiger mustangs are related to the breeds of horses that the Spanish Colonists and the Conquistadors brought over with them in the 1600‘s. They are considered the most pure of all the Wild mustangs that roam the earth. Kigers were isolated to the canyons in southeast Oregon where they had scarce food but weighed anywhere between 800 and 1,000 pounds. Although these horses are considered to be Wild they are often rounded up and sold to bidders where they are domesticated into riding horses. They are almost always dun colored with black mane, tails, legs, and nose, and often include “Zebra Stripes” on their legs. They range from 14 to 15 hands tall (one hand is about 4 inches) you may recognize a certain Kiger mustang that, today, has become increasingly popular through a Disney film. Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron was modeled after an actual Kiger Mustang named Spirit.  


Florida Cracker Mustangs


 The Florida Cracker was a cattle horse that a spanish man, Ponce de Leon, came over to Florida with in 1521. The horses began to escape and go wild, breeding with other horses when the Indians picked up on the horses and took care of them, Where they finally learned to ride them. These were the first Indian horses. they're usually roan or a solid color but can be any other color, about 13 to 15 hands.                                                     


Sulphur Mustangs

Sulphur mustangs are closely related to the Kiger mustangs. They are found in the mountain of the Needle mountain Range. Their heritage comes from the Utah Spanish horses. They have breed with many escaped horses but still hold their ancestors, the Spanish Barb, traits. They are usually of dun, buckskin, and grulla color, but can be other colors. Sulphurs have what is called a Dorsal stripe, which is a dark stripe that extends on their back from their mane to their tail. They measure at 14 hands to 14.3 hands. Sometimes Sulphurs have what is called a "triple dorsal stripe". Its just an illusion of their main dorsal stripe though.


Pryor Mountain Mustangs

Pryor mustangs were found breeding in the Pryor mountains. The mountains are so remote and unique that the habitat molded a heavier body type. The mountains cold frosty climate held the horses to have full, silky manes and tails, and thick curly, winter coats. The Pryor Mustangs Generally don’t get over 14 hands unless in captivity but can range from 13 to 15 hands tall.

Sorraia Mustangs

Sorraia mustangs are the rarest mustangs to find. They are descendent of the Sorraia horses from Portugal. They kept themselves mainly to the northern part of America. Sorraias are always a dun or grulla color with no acceptions for red or brown dun and always bear a dorsal stripe. Some Sorraia mustangs have black stripes on their shoulders called shoulder crosses, stripes on the legs, and cob webbing on the face or chest. The Sorraia mustangs were the horses that ran the pony express. At this time there are only about a hundred Sorraia mustangs in the world.

 Adopted Mustangs Branding


Mustangs that are adopted and domesticated can be recognized mainly by a brand that is put onto them when they are taken from the wild. The brand appears on the neck of the horse in white numbers. The branding is actually called a Freeze Mark and it isnt actual numbers it is a code.