The precursors to modern mustangs arrived with the Spanish as they colonized the New World in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. The Spanish sent missionaries and exploration parties throughout modern day Mexico and the United States – and horses transported them. Inevitably some escaped, were stolen by Native Americans, and were left behind to breed for later use. The horses quickly adapted to the landscape and through natural selection became a mirror image of the harsh environment they lived in. Their feet grew hard as rocks, they developed a thick winter coat to brave the elements, and their bodies became compact, sturdy, and tough.
An estimated two million wild horses roamed the Great Plains and American West in 1900. Less than 37,000 remain in the wild today, mainly on land administered by the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM conducts roundups to maintain the mustang populations. The horses are rounded up and shipped to holding facilities around the country. 43,000 horses are in these holding facilities, exceeding the amount in the wild. Many spend the rest of their lives in the holding pens, waiting for adopters. Many people think the mustangs are too small, too ugly, or too difficult to train. We’re using mustangs because they are tough, rarely go lame, have a good sense of self-preservation, and keep their weight.
We are using eight mustangs that we adopted from a BLM Holding facility in Hutchinson, KS. These horses received 30 days of training by Lanny Leach and Jerry Jones through the Mustang Heritage Foundation's Trainer Incentive Program (TIP). The TIP program is designed for professional trainers to prepare a totally wild horse for someone with less experience. We are using five more mustangs that have been packing in the mountains for years and are proven reliable stock. All of these horses were born and raised in the wild.
8283 horses and burros rounded up in 2012 (7269 horses and 1014 burros)
2598 animals taken into private care in 2012
230,000 horses adopted by BLM since 1971.
For more information on mustang adoptions and the Trainer Incentive Program visit the websites below: