Mustang breed information
Mustang horse general information
COLORThe coat color is the full range of colors found in horses.
SIZEThe average size of this American breed is between 13.2 - 15 hh
WEIGHTThe weight of a mustang horse varies greatly, due to exact species, habitat and life style, however, the weight is normally in the order of 700 to 800 lb (320 - 365 kg).
LIFE EXPECTANCYWild mustangs can live anywhere from 15 to 20 years of age. If domesticated their life span can be very similar to other, domestic horses (around 25 - 30 years).
ORIGINThe Mustang is a descendent of Spanish horses brought to the Americas first by the Spanish in the early 1500s. As such, their ancestry traces back to Barb and Arabian horses brought to Spain by the Moors. The Mustang is found throughout the Western United States. The term "Mustang" is derived from the Spanish word mestena which means horses of uncertain ownership.
USESBesides running wild, these horses can be adopted out to the public and make excellent trail horses. They are also sometimes used as rodeo and gaming horses.
INFLUENCEAndalusian, Arabian, Barb, Turk
TEMPRERAMENTMustangs that have been removed from the wild require experienced handlers, but a gentled Mustang can make a willing partner and a great family horse.
The Mustang is often called "The Symbol of the American West." Mustangs are known for their rugged athleticism and qualities of endurance.
Most Mustangs are of the light horse or warmblood type. Horses of draft conformation are kept on separate ranges. While the Spanish blood has been diluted, many of the horses still exhibit Spanish characteristics. There has been a firmly held belief for several decades that there were no pure Spanish-type horse remaining on the ranges of the wild horse. But in recent years a few small herds have been found in very isolated areas which have been found through blood testing to be strongly related to Spanish breeding. Among these are the Kiger and Cerat Mustangs.
Wild horses can be separated into groups according to their age and gender. From birth to one year, both male and females are foals. In their second year, males are called a colt and a female becomes a filly. Colts and fillies are also called yearlings. Colts mature in four to seven years to become a young stud or bachelor. A female remains a filly until she is four years old or has been bred. Fillies who are bred or reach the age of four become mares. Mares with foals are usually three, more often four or more years old. When a bachelor heads his own band, he is then called a stallion.
The horses that first roamed the North American continent were wiped out nearly 10,000 years ago, probably due to overhunting. The horse was absent from the continent until the Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortes reintroduced them. During the Spanish campaigns in the New World, horses escaped or were lost and became "mestenos".
The growing population of wild horses was deliberately encouraged for nearly two centuries, when it was common practice for the Spanish government to ship horses to the New World for release into the wild. This practice was meant to deter the local native tribes from stealing horses from the Spanish settlements. It is believed that more than 10,000 horses were released into the Rio Grande region during this time. These Spanish-bred horses soon spread across the west, and interbred with various other feral breeds. By 1900, there were more than two million wild horses in the United States. By 1970, fewer than 17,000 remained. Ranchers had killed most of them in the interests of protecting grazing lands for their cattle.
The Wild Horse and Burro act of 1971 changed this practice, and the American Mustang came under the control of the Bureau of Land Management. Today, there are nearly 41,000 Mustangs on public lands.
Mustang fun facts
Spanish horses, the ancestors of the Mustang, thrived in the arid environment of the American West since it so clearly represented that of Spain and North Africa. The Spanish horses which escaped from captivity multiplied rapidly. The number of escaped horses was quite large. As early as 1596, for instance, the Spanish Governor of Santa Fe reported 300 horses and mules, one-fifth of the stock, had strayed while grazing. A century later, in 1690, General Alonzo De Leon lost 126 horses in East Texas. In 1691, a Spanish expedition lost another 135 horses. By the 1800s, one observer reported seeing 20,000 Mustangs grazing in the San Joaquin Valley of California.