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22 March 2019   
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Descended from the sixteenth century conquistadors horses, the Mustang either escaped or was turned loose and subsequently bred and travelled into North America via Mexico. These wild horses increased in numbers and spread through many states, by the late eighteenth to early nineteenth century it was estimated that there were about two million grazing the plains. Initially the First Nations tribes killed the horses for food but as they recognised their value as a means of travel they learnt how to handle and ride them. The Mustang became their favoured mounts, probably because of the horses ability to survive in a scrub type habitat as they had become extremely hardy and capable of living on meagre rations.

The first settlers used them to cross with their imported horses and they were used as the foundation stock of several breeds. The numbers of these feral herds were greatly reduced with the spread of Western civilisation. Many were killed others were rounded up and used as cow ponies; these were later replaced by a more quality class of animal. They suffered more losses when they were used as remounts during the Boer War and In the twentieth century even more were slaughtered for meat and pet food and the breed numbers went further into decline.

Finally in 1971 an act was passed to protect the wild horses in the U.S. and there are some states where they still live and roam free and it is now unlikely that they will become extinct. The Mustang has many different ancestors, the original Spanish stock became diluted by the different types of stray horses that were lost or abandoned by the settlers and joined the feral herds. The height is between 13.2 and 15 h.h. It may be any colour. It is often a sturdy build but there are many variations. The limbs are strong and the feet are hard. It is quite a good riding horse with great endurance for long distance riding.

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