A Quick Look At Mustang Horse Information

By Marissa Velazquez

History books tell us that horses were first introduced to the Americas when they arrived with the Spanish Conquistadors and explorers. The beginning of mustang horse information comes from the log books kept by the leaders of these groups. The logs tell of the high number of horses that escaped or were released into the wild when the explorers returned home.

As they became more common on the free range Native American tribes quickly integrated them into their life style. They became the main source of transportation for hunting, fighting or simply moving camp to winter lodgings. They were also used for trading between tribes and individuals in the tribes.

The Native Americans soon began breeding their horses to accent the strong points of their stock. This selective breeding was common among the Comanche, Shoshoni and the Nez Perce. The Appaloosa was first bred by Nez Pence tribes and is the first distinctly American breed of horses.

With over two million wild horses and burros in the Americas by the turn of the nineteenth century the military viewed them as a natural resource to be used for war and troop movement. They rounded them up by the thousands for this purpose. Later in the century they would be slaughtered and used for their meat and for the pet food markets.

Some protection was allotted them in 1959 when the Wild Horse Annie Act was passed. This law prohibited the hunting of wild horses and burros from any motorized vehicle. In 1971 they received further protection with the passage of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. This law expressly protected certain herds from hunting and harassment from humans.

This new legislation also gave control of the horses and burros to the Bureau of Land Management. They were to protect the herds on public land from hunters and harassment. Any additional area needed for them is controlled by the U. S. Forestry Service. The largest herds of wild horses can be found in Nevada's high dessert regions. Other states that host a notable population of horses are Montana, Wyoming and Oregon.

Because fossils have been found that show the ancestors of horses lived in the Americas there is some discussion as to what they should be called. One group wants them designated as feral animals because the basis of their history comes from domesticated animals while others consider them as wild horses that have as much right to public lands as the cattle they are said to displace. If designated feral they could be in danger of attempted eradication by ranchers who want the land for cattle.

The management of numbers of these horses is tasked to the Bureau of Land Management. It is their job to find ways of controlling the number of animals in specific areas designated public range lands. They are also responsible for gathering and reporting mustang horse information to the government offices they work for. They have created an adoption program that has been very successful. Interested parties can adopt one for a nominal fee so long as they keep it for at least one year. Within this program over three hundred thousand horses and burros have been adopted to private parties.

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