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The Fate of America's Wild Horse
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The Fate of America's Wild Horse

When one pictures the West, images of open plains, bison roaming, and cowboys herding cattle may come to mind. All of these things are attributes of the West, but one main figure may stand out above the rest - the wild Mustang. 

The Mustang, considered by some to not be its own breed, is one of America's feral horses. The other would be the Chincoteague Ponies of the east coast. The name Mustang originated from the Spanish word mesteno which means "feral beast" or "owner-less". The horse was introduced to America's during the late 1500's when Spanish Conquistador's were exploring Central America. The Mustang perhaps escaped or were let loose by natives and became a part of the New World. 

Though typically a small, stock type horse of size ranging from 13-15 hands, the Mustang has over the years interbred with several different horses that were brought over from Europe such as drafts breeds or the Bashkir Curly. Thus making the breed unique by offering so many different traits, sizes, and colors.  

During 1971, after a campaign held in the 1950s led by Velma B. Johnston (also known as "Wild Horse Annie"), Congress passed a bill titled the "Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act" to protect and manage wild horses. This act was supposed to ban the use of any motor vehicle (of land or air) to round up wild horses. However, today the Mustang's very existence is being threatened once again. 

Mustangs are being rounded up off of public lands and placed in holding facilities or being killed all for the sake of making room for cattle grazing on public lands. As of right now, there are far more cattle than wild horses grazing on public lands. 

The Mustang is a living symbol of America's history and is worthy of protection. May their legacy continue to unfold.

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  1. jst4horses
    A nice article, brings attention to a subject we horse loving people need to address, and ALL Americans need to address. Craig Downer, a retired Bureau of Land Management Mustang expert for many years, has a book out, the Wild Horse Conspiracy, if we all buy it, I have to buy a new one, lent it and never got it back......we can help him get his new sanctuary wild space for free roaming wild horses established. There are several across the nation. Some are run by VERY old people who need support and love and of course a Board and money to keep going after these courageous people pass. As you will see, reading Craig Downer's book, the reality is, there were horses that truly are American wild horses. Over the ages the stories of how they got abandoned or thrown out horses added is amazing. I studied this long long ago, and was part of a group that in the sixties and early seventies worked HARD and raised a lot of money to get the Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burro ACT passed, it is in Craig Downer's book. The PEOPLE of America wanted them to have their own lands, and lives............they have been encroached on and stolen. They need help and support. They are being sold for meat by creeps who buy them for often just ten dollars from meat sales, shove them into horrible trucks, in two layers, the top ones excreting and urinating on the lower level, no food, no water, and if they arrive dead, they are just sent to dog food or rendering plants. Even two Kentucky Derby winners have been sold to Japan, and ended up being sushi in expensive restaurants for horrible people who think that is a "hoot" to eat tiny slivers of horses that won acclaim and money for trainers, breeders and owners. WE have to fix this horror. For the real mustangs, there are only a FEW ranches that have them where they run free and are kept by the males being gelded to keep the numbers down. Return to Freedom is one that uses science to restore whole herds.
    1. Lucy Watson
      Lucy Watson
      I have actually heard of Return to Freedom before. How does someone get involved with something like that? To support them? But I have dreamed of adopting a wild horse since I was a kid. I remember as a teenager that I would write letters to government officials to stop the round-ups. But they continue. It's sad.

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