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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: Spanish Mustang (SM)   [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The Spanish Mustang (also known as the 'Colonial Spanish Horse'), is a collective name for American horse breeds who are pure descendants of the Spanish horses which were brought to the Americas during the Spanish conquest. Despite being called 'Mustangs,' these horses are not related to the American Mustang, since unlike the American Mustang, which was developed only in the wild, the Spanish Mustang was developed both in the wild and in captivity. In addition, unlike the American Mustang which was mixed with various other horse breeds over the centuries, Spanish Mustangs were usually bred in isolation, and therefore maintained the purity of their Spanish bloodline for centuries.

Spanish horses were brought to South America and Mexico at the end of the 15th century by Christopher Columbus, and during the 16th century by the Spanish conquistadores. These horses were a collection of different breeds, the most notable of which are Andalusian, Spanish Barb, and Sorraia (a Portuguese breed ridden by the Spanish). These breeds were bred by the Spanish conquistadores to form the Colonial Spanish Horse, which, years later, will be called 'Spanish Mustang.'

Many of these Spanish horses escaped captivity and found their way to the plains and mountains in the western part of North America, where they lived as feral horses. Others were given as gifts to Native American tribes, or sold to private people, who kept them in captivity and carefully bred them, to a point where new strains and breeds were created. Spanish Mustangs have also influenced many North-American horse breeds, and were popular among the American settlers before the American Quarter Horse became more prominent.

The Spanish Mustangs who lived as feral and semi-feral horses roamed in various habitats in the western part of North America. Each habitat shaped the horses a bit differently, and over the centuries several feral, semi-feral, and ranch strains of Spanish Mustangs were developed. Among these strains are the Baca Chica, Cerbat, Choctaw, Kiger, Pryor Mountain, Santa Cruz Island, Sorraia Mustang, Sulphur Springs, and Wilbur-Cruce, all of which can be found in Horse Isle. However, all strains of the Spanish Mustang share some traits, namely their high intelligence, impressive endurance, and overall conformation, which remained similar to the conformation of their Spanish ancestors.

Starting from the 20th century, it became a common practice to capture and sell Mustang horses, including Spanish Mustangs. This practice was gradually banned between the 1950s and the 1970s, but the damage had already been done. From a common breed who thrived in the prairies and mountains of North America, the feral Spanish Mustang was pushed to the brink of extinction. In 1957, the Spanish Mustang Registry was established in order to preserve the existence and purity of the breed, both in the wild and in captivity. Furthermore, several additional projects for preserving specific strains of the Spanish Mustang were launched. Today, all of the Spanish Mustang strains are considered rare or threatened.

Even though Spanish Mustangs might vary in their appearance, they all have the following traits: a straight to convex profile, a short back, prominent withers, and a thick mane and tail.

Spanish Mustangs are usually dun in colors, but they also come in other colors and patterns except for pearl, dominant black, mushroom, pangare, and manchado. Spanish Mustangs stand between 12.3 and 15.2hh.


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