Native Horse Breeds of America

The Colonial Spanish Mustang

In 2010, the Colonial Spanish Mustang was designated North Carolina's Official State horse. A few of the American states have 'State horses' including Missouri (Missouri Fox Trotter), Vermont and Massachusetts (Morgan), Tennessee (Tennessee Walking Horse), Idaho (Appaloosa), and Kentucky and Maryland (Thoroughbred). North Dakota nominated the Nokota breed as its 'Honorary State Equine'.

The 'real' Spanish Mustang is directly descended from the original horses brought to the Americas by the Spanish conquistadors. They should not be confused with feral horses which are vastly different in both appearance and ancestry.

Spanish MustangCredit:

The first horses to appear in the Americas were those brought by Columbus on his second voyage. Over time, many of these prized horses were traded northwards. Some became lost or were stolen. Soon hundreds of thousands of feral horses were roaming over the west.

These Spanish horses were tough, hardy and beautiful. Their progeny today are tough, hardy and beautiful. Natural selection culled any that were not suited, or could not adapt, to the conditions. The stamina, intelligence and endurance of these horses is renowned. Thousands of Spanish mustangs were used for ranch work and as US Army cavalry mounts. Today they have an enviable reputation in all manner of equestrian disciplines, particularly in endurance riding.

Spanish Mustang MareCredit:

The Spanish Mustang is of medium size ranging from 13.2hh to 15hh. The general appearance is of a well-balanced, smoothly built horse. They are solid and sturdy with good feet and limbs. The back is short and the rump rounded. The tail is low set. They are deep through the girth, the shoulder is well-sloped and the withers fairly pronounced.

The head is typically Spanish with a straight or concave forehead and convex nose. The ears are medium to short and often notched or curved inwards. All sexes have nicely crested necks, the stallions especially are heavily crested. The chests are deep but rather narrow with the legs connecting to the chest in an 'A' shape.

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The Spanish mustang rarely possesses chestnuts or ergots. If present, they are small. The feet have thick walls and are often referred to as 'mule feet' as the sole is concave and resists bruising. The cannons are short with a circumference larger than is found in breeds of similar size and substance.

The mustang is very hardy and seldom has any problems with the feet and legs. The stride is long and many are gaited in one way or the other, being able to amble, single foot or display a running walk. Some have a lateral gait although usually without the extreme knee action.

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The colouring includes all the 'old' colours and patterns such as dun, grulla, overo, sabino and appaloosa. They have a high intelligence and a highly developed sense of self-preservation. They usually manage to avoid destructive or dangerous situations. They will not abide abuse but become quite strongly bonded to a competent owner who respects the uniqueness of the breed.

The Spanish Mustang Registry Inc was founded in 1957 and is the oldest Mustang Registry for the breed.