Native American Breeds: Spanish Mustang

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Spanish Mustang

The Spanish Mustang is the original Native American breed. It descends from the horses of the Conquistadors and Native Americans, and developed on the plains of the American West, growing stronger and thriftier through natural selection. The breed differs from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Mustang in that it shows little ranch or draft horse influence. Bob Brislawn from Oshoto, Wyo., is credited with bringing the Spanish Mustang back from near extinction in 1957. He gathered horses on Indian reservations and worked with the BLM to find the best Spanish Mustangs, bringing them to his 3,000-acre Cayuse Ranch. Brislawn’s son, Emmet, now runs the ranch, where Spanish Mustangs are still raised and sold.

The breed possesses Spanish features, with a compact and muscular build, rounded hindquarters and a low-set tail. The neck is arched and set high out of the withers, and the profile is straight or concave. Many Spanish Mustangs are gaited, which is a common Spanish horse attribute. The breed possesses tremendous stamina and hardiness. There is a wide range of colors, including pinto, buckskin, roan and black. They are sought after as ranch, endurance and trail horses. They stand 13.2 to 15 hands.

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This article originally appeared in the June 2011 issue of Horse Illustrated. Click here to subscribe!

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