About Mustang Horses
rnrnMustang horses are descendants of Spanish, or Iberian,rnhorses that were brought to the Americas by Spanish explorers in the 16thrncentury. The name was derived from the Spanish word mustengo, which meansrn"ownerless beast" or "stray horse." These horses bred withrnother breeds of horses, including quarter horses and draft horses, to creaternthe breed we know today.
rnrnMustang herds vary greatly on how much they can be traced tornthe original Iberian horses. Some contain a greater genetic mixture of ranchrnstock, while others are relatively unchanged from the original Iberian stock.
rnIn 1971, the United States Congress recognized thatrn"wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historicrnand pioneer spirit of the West, which continue to contribute to the diversityrnof life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the Americanrnpeople." The free-roaming mustang population is managed and protected byrnthe Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Controversy surrounds the sharing of landrnand resources by the free-ranging mustangs with the livestock of the ranchingrnindustry, and also with the methods with which the federal government managesrnthe wild population numbers. A policy of rounding up excess population andrnoffering these horses for adoption to private owners has been inadequate tornaddress questions of population control, and many animals now live in temporaryrnholding areas, kept in captivity but not adopted to permanent homes. rnrn