Don’t you love mustang horses? They look so beautiful, running wild and free. They are one of the many equine breeds that roam the lands of North America. Originally, the mustang breed was a native of Spain. They were brought here when the Spaniards colonized America.
Did you know Mustang horses aren’t really wild? They are known as “feral horses,” which means they are domesticated but run freely in the wild. When the Spaniards left America, many of them were left in North American lands to thrive and breed in the wild.
Like all other horse breeds, mustang horses come in lots of different colors such as coyote duns, blue and red roans, flea-bitten grays, shiny blacks, rusty browns, sorrel and many more. They have also been crossed with other breeds such as the East Friesian, Thoroughbreds and more.
Mustang horses are medium in size, usually about 13 to 15 hands high. They have short backs and smooth muscles. They have a powerful build and a good personality. Compared to other breeds of horses, they are fast and are known for their endurance.
In the past, many mustang horses roamed freely in the wild. But cattle-owners saw them as competition for grazing space so they were rounded up, captured and killed. Back in those days, they were not protected by the law so many cattle-owners did as they pleased with them. It was horrible. Many were shot and brought to the slaughter house for dog food.
During those hard times, these beautiful animals found their champion in a woman named Velma Bronn Johnston. Growing up, she spent most of her time with horses. Her passion and love for these gentle giants is what led her to fight for their safety and their right to live.
Velma Bronn Johnston is better known today as “Wild Horse Annie.” In 1950, she saw a truck dripping with blood and full of horses. She followed it and realized they were being brought to the slaughterhouse.
After seeing this, she began a campaign to save wild horses from maltreatment and death. She investigated further and enlisted the help of ranchers, politicians and businessmen, as well as schools to make her research public.
Her efforts first paid off when her campaign encouraged Nevada State Senator James Slattery to pass a bill that made mustang roundups on private property by plane and cars illegal. But Wild Horse Annie didn’t stop there. She continued her campaign to achieve better protection for the mustangs.
In 1971, her campaign finally achieved its goal. The 92nd United States Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act which forbade the disturbance, capture, injury and transfer of wild horses and burros even when populations are too large.
Although the 1971 act has been amended twice to address concerns of overpopulation, the mustangs and other wild horses are now free to roam and live safely – thanks to Wild Horse Annie and her animal rights campaign.
The fight to save these gorgeous horses is not over!
There are still wild horse round ups going on, and some horses have died from them. The Wild Horse Preservation Campaign is helping to save mustang horses. This is really important so be sure to visit their website and get involved!