Mustangs, rugged free-roaming feral horses of the rich grasslands of the North American West, are thought to have descended from horses brought to the Americas by the Spanish. The first Mustangs were possibly brought to Mexico and Florida and were of Andalusian, Arabian and Barb ancestry. Some of these horses escaped or were stolen by Native Americans, and they spread rapidly through Western North America.
Native Americans quickly adopted these horses as a primary means of transportation, improving success in battles, trade and bison hunts. During the 1800’s horses from explorers, traders and settlers escaped or were purposely released and joined with the gene pool of the sturdy Spanish-descended herds.
The English word “mustang” is derived from the Mexican Spanish word “mestengo”, meaning “stray livestock animal”.
Mustangs were recognized by the United States Congress in the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West, which contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people.”
Some Mustangs contain a genetic mixture of ranch stock, however, many remain true to their original Iberian stock.
The beauty of the Mustang is the beauty of their spirit…wild and true to the land. Their survival in the extreme heat of the summer and the ravages of winters is a testament to their strength and hardiness and only adds to our admiration of this majestic and noble breed.
The Mustang population is managed and protected by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).