YOUR
HORSE

A mustang is the free-roaming horse of the North American west that first descended from horses brought to the Americas by the Spanish. Mustangs are often referred to as wild horses, but there is debate over terminology. Because they are descended from once-domesticated horses, they can be classified as feral horses.

In 1971, the United States Congress recognized that “wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West, which continue to contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people.” In the 21st century, mustang herds vary in the degree to which they can be traced to original Iberian horses. Some contain a greater genetic mixture of ranch stock and more recent breed releases, while others are relatively unchanged from the original Iberian stock, most strongly represented in the most isolated populations.

As Americans it is our responsibility to help maintain, manage and protect our national rangeland to ensure that there is balance and stability in the use of our national resources to support the livelihood of mustangs.

67,000

On-Range
10 Western States

46,000

Off-Range
Corrals & Pastures

235,000

Animals placed into private care

Pre-history
The Equids

North America was the original home of the horse species. Horses evolved here, and equine species thrived here for over 57 million years. The plant and animal communities of North American ecology evolved with horses playing an integral role.


1500s to 1800s
Arrive in America

Horses were essential for transportation during the European exploration, colonization, and ultimate conquest of American continent. Equids came over with European Explorers, escaped and spread northwest across the North American continent. The habitat gradually shrank as settlement increased.


1800s
Westward Expansion

Horses did not come to the Great Basin areas until homesteaders, ranchers, and prospectors began settling there in the middle to late 1800’s. They brought with them draft, carriage and saddle horses, including many horses of Spanish ancestry purchased from Mexican breeding farms.


1900s
Mustanging

During the 20th Century, the keeping of house pets became more and more prevalent. House pets needed food, and the dog food industry, which began in the 1930’s, found a ready source of meat in America’s wild horses. In the post-war years, there was a growing movement of people who were concerned about the cruelty involved in the pet food industry’s capturing and butchering of wild horses, as well as concern that they might be eliminated forever.


1959
Wild Horse Annie Act

In 1959, Congress passed the “Wild Horse Annie Act” (PL 86-234) to provide for the humane treatment of wild horses on federal lands. Velma Johnston, aka “Wild Horse Annie” is the iconic figure associated with the movement, but in no way acted alone. Hundreds, even thousands of citizens across the country were active in wild horse advocacy, some of them just as influential as Annie.


1971
WILD FREE-ROAMING HORSES AND BURROS ACT

The National Adopt-A-Horse and Burro Program initiated by the BLM. Congress amends the 1971 Act to allow gathers by helicopters.The horses and burros available for adoption come from overpopulated Herd Management Areas where vegetation and water could become scarce if too many animals, including wildlife and livestock, use the area.


1988
FIRST SHORT-TERM & LONG-TERM PASTURES

Off the range, there are nearly 32,000 removed wild horses and burros that are fed and cared for at short-term and long-term holding facilities. Currently, animals placed in long-term holding live out the rest of their lives there, which can be from 10 to 25 years depending on the age at which they enter long-term holding.


2001
MUSTANGE HERITAGE FOUNDATION ESTABLISHED

The Mustang Heritage Foundation was estabilished to facilitate successful adoptions for America’s excess mustangs. Since 2007 the Mustang Heritage Foundation has placed nearly 6,000 BLM held mustang into private care through training and gentling programs.


2009
CARING FOR AMERICA’S WILD HORSES

In October 2009, the Secretary of the Interior announced a national initiative to create a cost-efficient and sustainable Wild Horse and Burro Program. Over time, The goal of the initiativeis to reduce the number of unadopted wild horses and burros in short-term corrals or long-term pastures, reduce the costs to the American taxpayer for their care and conserve, protect, and manage the iconic animals in the West for future generations to enjoy.

QUICK
FACTS

100 years ago, mustangs freely-roamed the North American terrain. Mustangs live in large herds. The herd, or band, typically consists of mares, foals, yearlings guarded by a stallion.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Family: Equidae
Genus: Equus
Species: Caballus

14-15
Hands

800
Pounds

30
Years

5-20
Pounds

Medium-sized
horse

Weigh about 800 pounds

Live up to 30 years

Eat about 5 to 20 pounds of food each day

MUSTANG
ADOPTION &
PURCHASE
LOCATIONS

Because of Federal protection and a lack of natural predators, mustangs can double in population size about every four years. When mustangs are gathered off the range they are brought to a off-range corral where they are cared for and given proper medical attention to keep them healthy and ready them for adoption or purchase.

IN 14 STATES. 15 OFF-RANGE CORRALS AND 28 OFF RANGE PASTURES.

15 OFF-RANGE CORRALS

ARIZONA
Florence WHB ORC – Correctional Center
Training and Holding Facility
Florence, AZ

CALIFORNIA
Litchfield WHB ORC
Litchfield, CA

Ridgecrest Regional WHB ORC
Ridgecrest, CA

COLORADO
Cañon City WHB ORC – Correctional Center
Cañon City, CO

IDAHO
Boise Wild Horse ORC
Boise, ID

KANSAS
Hutchinson WHB ORC – Correctional Center
Hutchinson, KS

NEBRASKA
Elm Creek ORC
Elm Creek, NE

NEVADA
Northern Nevada WHB ORC – Correctional Center
Carson City, NV

National Adoption Center at Palomino Valley
Sparks, NV

OKLAHOMA
Pauls Valley WHF ORC
Pauls Valley, OK

OREGON
Oregon Wild Horse ORC
Burns, OR

UTAH
Delta WHB ORC
Delta, UT

WYOMING
Mantle Adoption & Training Center
Wheatland, WY

Rock Springs WHB ORC
Rock Springs, WY

Riverton Honor Farm ORC – Correctional Center
Riverton, WY

LEARN MORE >>

*WHB = Wild Horse & Burro
*ORC = Off Range Corral

Additionally, it is a chance to care for, and then own, a part of America’s heritage. The BLM has placed more than 230,000 wild horses and burros into private care since 1971. Many of those animals have become excellent pleasure, show, or work horses.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HOW YOU COULD ADOPT OR OWN A MUSTANG >>