Mustang horse: characteristics and breeding

Mustang horse: characteristics and breeding

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The Mustang horse is one of the American breeds that have come down to us even if they are not yet widespread and always remain somewhat typical of Far West, fast and a bit wild, like in the movies.

The Horse as we will see is originally from North America but the word Mustang is the English version of a Spanish term, mesteño (or mestengo as they say in Mexico), which means "Not tamed". This must make us immediately understand what animal we are in front of, that is a horse of great resistance but a lover of freedom and independence, a fast horse and who travels great distances with graces, as if nothing had happened. If the term sounds familiar but you have never seen this horse, it may be because it is often used for excellent products or sports mascots.

Mustang horse: origins

To get to know this horse thoroughly and understand its character as well lover of autonomy but never bad or grumpy, it is absolutely necessary to go back to its origins even if it is not at all trivial. The first time we hear about Mustangs is in the sixteenth century when Spanish horses were brought to Mexico. There was an escape by some specimens that reached the northernmost regions and settled in North America reproducing mainly in the western part.

The breed, not yet official, remained so until in the nineteenth century it met other pioneer horses that enriched its genetic heritage. It is difficult to understand exactly the intersections of that period because it happened that the horses were freed from farmers in the colder season, to be able to go to pasture freely, and then they would recapture them somehow without looking too much at what specimens they were.

There were also assessments on the health of each horse, the weakest were killed and other animals imported from elsewhere were included in the herd. A series of improvements there were but it is not very clear which ones and how they happened.

Just to get an idea, there were about one million copies of Mustang horse which could be counted at the beginning of the twentieth century only in North America and were a real resource for their owners because they could be exchanged or even sold, since they were also appreciated in the military sector. Another purpose they could be destined for was food, they went to the slaughterhouse to be eaten. For one or the other reason, this handsome number dropped suddenly in the twentieth century when some estimates speak of 40-100,000 specimens, most of whom lived in Nevada, and then in Alberta and British Columbia. The breed has never recovered and is in fact protected throughout the territory of the United States where it is forbidden to cull or poison them, and the penalties for violations are severe.

There is a real program to control the population attributable to this breed, an ad hoc program implemented by Bureau of Land Management to manage competition with cattle. Some captured horses are offered for adoption and since 2005 those older than 10 years or difficult to adopt can be sold for slaughter and then sent for meat in Europe or Japan, where it is considered a delicacy and is sold at considerable prices.

Mustang horse: characteristics

The Mustang horse is a mesomorphic animal and can sport a coat of any color, there are no restrictions on that. The height at the garre is quite variable but in general it never drops below 135 cm even as it does not exceed 150, it cannot therefore be considered a high horse, indeed, but certainly its speed and endurance are appreciated.

In terms of weight we are around 500 kg as a maximum, therefore a robust and muscular horse. To confirm this we can note that its forms they are not particularly graceful and we are certainly not facing a long-limbed steed.

Among the particularities with which it is described there are certainly the slightly rough-shaped mountain head and the hooves that are very hard. Her ears are small but they appear very straight, the neck is short and muscular and connects the head with a body characterized by rounded shapes and a short and very resistant structure and massive. The bones are seen to be short and thick and the feet to be solid and stable.

With this type of physique the Mustang horse it is outlined to be a saddle animal not very distinguished and elegant but certainly handsome, frugal and very resistant.

Mustang horse: character

If we have noticed the type of life he led, it is easy to understand that this horse can only have a rustic and courageous character, he is a great lover of freedom and loves to be independent so in most cases it is really difficult to tame. and train.

Mustang horse: breeding

To see this horse we can visit it in the United States. It is found in some areas in particular where it is protected such as in the Wild Horse Sanctuary, the first reserve that handed down the tradition of the Native Americans and Mustangs, the Arapaho and Shoshone reserve, of 360 hectares, created by the Oldham family, owner of the Double D Ranch and the Bureau of Land Management. Here the horses are in the wild.

Another interesting place for those who want to see these horses is the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, near Hot Springs in South Dakota. It was created by Dayton Hyde in 1988 when he encountered a herd of mustangs locked in a government enclosure in Nevada and decided to do something for this breed. After negotiating with representatives of the Bureau of Land Management and Congress, he managed to get permission to create a real institute for the protection of American mustang horses, IRAM - the Institute of Range and American Mustang. He was also granted land of 3200 hectares of canyons, grasslands and rocks in the heart of the Black Hills for this noble purpose.

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