In early American history, next to every human footprint was a horse’s hoof print. Horses were necessary for the survival of many early day settlers and horses owned the land as much as humans did. These horses were American feral horses, more commonly known as Mustangs. “The name Mustang comes from the Spanish word mesteño or monstenco meaning wild or stray” (2). They have become the symbol of Western America as they have roamed the plains freely. Unfortunately, Mustangs are given a lot of grief and are typically said to be unsafe or unsound, but they are known for their speed and grace, as well as incredible intelligence, and are truly spectacular animals.
Mustang horses originated in Spain and were brought to America by the Spanish settlers. Along with the American Indians, the Mustang population was forced west with new civilization. This migration eventually led to the Mustangs joining the western horse herds that already resided in that area of the country. This relocation allowed Mustangs to mix with many other breeds over the years, changing the dynamics of the breed. Typically, Mustangs are 13 to 15 hands, with strong legs and hooves. “These developed over years of roaming harsh, rocky terrain in the western portion of the United States” (1).These characteristics are still true to the breed today. After the migrating Mustang herds joined the western horse herds, the lands became overpopulated with feral horses, which caused concerns to the farming lands. “The arid lands of the west could not support a large population of grazing animals and on some ranches it became the policy to shoot Mustangs” (2). Mustangs became unwanted and underappreciated and were seen as useless burdens. To this day, this magnificent breed of horses is belittled.“Mustangs are often called a wild horse. However, this term is incorrect because they are genetically descended from domesticated Spanish horses. A more accurate term is feral horse” (3).Although these horses have been broke for years by humans, the negative stigma often causes a struggle with finding them homes after they are removed from their wild habitats.
The American Feral Horses are an iconic symbol of Western America. They hold a large place in the history of the United States. “Approximately 100 years ago, about 2 million Mustangs roamed the North American terrain. Today, there are about 30,000 horses” (3). Their population continues to decrease, even with the help of many protection organizations. This horse breed, Mustangs, represent freedom, one of the foundations of The United States and that is something to appreciate.
I want to run with the wild horses.
This is a short essay I wrote for my Equine Care Class and I thought I would share it since Mustangs are one of my favorite horse breeds. Below, I have listed the websites where I gathered my information.