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American Mustang Horses

The American Mustang Horse is native to the United States of America.

It is also known as the American Feral or The Range Horse. This horse derives its name from a word of Spanish origin, ‘mesteño’, which means wild or stray. These horses were of Spanish origin and were introduced to the new world by the Spaniards.

These Spanish explorers took their horses along wherever they settled. The horses were let loose and would roam free hence Native Americans, with their brilliant skills of stealth and ambush, could easily steal them. These horses would soon come to be the best friend’s and prized possession of the Indians.

American Mustangs are very tough and hardy. They have strong bones and feet. The average height is 13 to16 hands but they are more commonly 15hh or below. Earlier, many of the Native American tribes bred these horses carefully in order to improve them to suit their purposes. However over the years these horses interbred with other horse breeds and hence have a variety of colors varying from solid chestnut to appaloosa patterns. There are also color variations among different herds, but the colors could vary from palomino, buckskin, dun, cremello, silver dapple, spotted, roan and pinto, to solid black, chestnut, and bay.

Other than running wild, these horses are adopted by the general populace and serve as excellent trail horses. It also not uncommon for them to be used in rodeos and as gaming horses. The great draught in California took a severe toll on the horses, as angry ranchers slaughtered up to 40,000 of them as revenge for destroying their pastures. In the early 1930’s they were even sold for animal consumption. Fortunately, since 1971 the Bureau of Land Management introduced measures to protect this national treasure, and they are no longer slaughtered.

Today, free-roaming horses are protected under United States law, but have disappeared from several states where there were mainly found. American mustangs are most found in North American states such as Alberta, British Columbia, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming and Oregon. The Bureau of Land Management says that 27,000 is a manageable number, however the feral Mustang population has currently exceeded 33,000. There are strict guidelines and techniques used to round up Mustangs. Most captured horses are offered for adoption to individuals or groups who are willing and able to provide humane and long-term care for these horses. They need to pay a certain adoption fee that ranges from $25 to $125.  In order to ensure that they are later not sold as horse meat, the adopted mustangs are still protected under the Act, and cannot be sold in the first year except when certain criteria are met.

  Submitted on March 23, 2010