The Mustang is often called “The Symbol of the American West.” Mustangs are known for their rugged athleticism and qualities of endurance.
The height of the average American Mustang is typically between 14 – 15 hands.
Mustangs that have been removed from the wild require experienced handlers, but a gentled Mustang can make a willing partner and a great family horse.
Members of this breed often excel in the following disciplines:
- Rodeo / Ranch
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” (ownerless or stray horses). It is from this Spanish word that the word “Mustang” is derrived.
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 was hoped they would take to capturing wild horses instead). 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.
US Breed Association
North American Mustang Association and Registry
P. O. Box 850906
Mesquite, TX 75185-0906
Bureau of Land Management’s National Wild Horse and Burro Program
P. O. Box 12000