Pryor Mountain Mustang

Located in the Pryor Mountains of Montana and Wyoming in the United States, The Pryor Mountains Mustang is a historically important breed of free-roaming horses.

These horses are known for their strength, beauty, and resilience.

Prized for their versatility, these horses are well-suited for everything from trail riding to endurance racing.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Pryor Mountain Mustang, or in finding one of your own, be sure to read on!

Pryor Mountain Mustang Breed Info

Here are some of the key things you need to know about the Pryor Mountain Mustang:

Height (size) 13.0 – 15.0 hands high
Colors They come in a wide variety of coat colors such as bay, black, dun, grulla, red roan, buckskin and palomino.
Country of Origin United States of America (Wyoming and Montana)
Common Uses Western disciplines, general riding, trail riding

Pryor Mountain Mustang Facts & Information (Breed Profile)

The Pryor Mountain Mustang is a genetically distinct substrain of Mustang, and it is one of the few horse types that is derived from the original Colonial Spanish horses as confirmed by DNA research.

There is evidence that wild horses were present in the Pryor Mountains as early as the beginning of the 1700s; however, it is possible that they had been there since the late 1600s.

In the latter half of the 1800s, the region was home to thousands of wild horses. 

In the early 1900s, a large number of the horses who were not branded were rounded up and removed from the range in order to make it possible for domesticated animals to graze there without any competition. 

By 1964, there were only around 200 horses remaining.

To the public’s dismay, the BLM declared in 1964 that the horses would be removed entirely. 

The debate persisted until 1968, when the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was legally prevented from removing all of the horses, and the location was designated as a Wild Horse Refuge.

Along the border between Montana and Wyoming, this protected Mustang range was the first of its kind to be established in 1968. 

It covers an area of 39,650 acres (160.5 km2) and serves as a refuge exclusively for Mustangs, however bighorn sheep, elk, and other animals coexist on the preserve with the horses.

A quarter of the refuge is located inside the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. 

The administration of the range is handled by a conglomeration of several federal agencies, with the Bureau of Land Management serving as the head agency.

Some wild horses reside in the range’s arid lowlands, and many may be spotted along Highway 37 in Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.

The horses roam from the dry lowlands to the green alpine meadows and drink from natural springs.

During the winter, when temperatures often drop to -20 or -30 degrees, the horses get the water they need by eating snow.

If lost, the herd genetics cannot be restored so the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center works collaboratively with the Bureau of Land Management to preserve and promote this genetically viable herd of wild horses in the Pryor Mountains.

Today, it is one of four recognized wild horse and burro ranges in the US.

The BLM’s management of the herd has included upgrades to the range to provide the horses more access to water, as well as several roundups that resulted in the removal and adoption of hundreds of horses to private persons.

Equine geneticist Dr. E. Gus Cothran, after analyzing the distinct genetic make-up of the Pryor Mountain Mustang herd, came to the conclusion in 1992 that the Pryor herd may be the most significant wild-horse herd remaining in the United States.

Dr. D. Phillip Sponenberg, equine veterinarian at Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, agreed, stating that these animals didn’t exist anywhere else.

Many visitors come every year to the public lands to enjoy observing these well-known wild horses.

If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating breed, keep reading!

Alternative Names



Intelligent, and once domesticated they are calm and gentle

Physical Characteristics

The head features a convex (Roman nose) or straight profile.

The eyes are set wide, the ears are hooked and the forehead is broad.

The shoulders are sloped, and withers are prominent.

The chest is medium to narrow in width, and the croup is usually sloped. 

The tail is set low.

The hooves are big and very hard. 

They are very sure-footed, strong and have incredible stamina.

Overall it is a compact, strong-boned, and very hardy breed.

It is typical for these horses to have long manes and tails, and their winter coats are thick, dense, and often curly.

The majority of the animals have just five lumbar vertebrae, which is an anatomical trait that is prevalent in primitive horses.

However, some of the animals have a fifth and sixth vertebrae that are fused together.

Some animals exhibit a natural ambling gait.


They come in a wide variety of coat colors such as bay, black, dun, grulla, red roan, buckskin and palomino.

Primitive patterns, such as dorsal stripes, transverse stripes across the withers, and horizontal “zebra” stripes on the back of the forelegs may be seen on the dun-colored horses.

Height (size)

13.0 – 15.0 hands high






700 – 800 lbs (320 – 360 kg)

Blood Type


Common Uses

Western disciplines, general riding, trail riding



Popular Traits

Feral horses, and some exhibit a natural ambling gait



Country of Origin

United States of America (Wyoming and Montana)


Spanish colonial horses