Mustangs are a fairly recognizable breed of horses, we have known them since childhood from books about the American prairies. This horse has a rather complex character and is almost impossible to train. At the same time, the strength, grace, incredible speed of this horse very much draw attention to it. The characteristics of this breed are rather blurred due to their mixed origin. But they are all equally hardy, tough and strong.
Mustang horses belong to the wild variety and their fate is rather difficult. It is believed that they occurred on the North American mainland, although many millennia ago all the horses on it disappeared as a species, that is, they became extinct. In the 18th century, after the conquest of America by the Spanish conquistadors, imported horses reappeared there. The aborigines did not want to use animals other than for food, which they did with the mustangs that came to them. Only the example of the Spaniards convinced the Indian population to pay attention to the useful qualities of horses - as a means of transportation, in battles and hunting for animals.
The Indians rode quite differently from the Spaniards, they did not need a saddle, they used a loop instead of bits, which they did not even pull, preferring to control the horse with their voice. Of course, horses have spread very quickly after that throughout the continent. Mustangs were often left to fend for themselves after injury, lameness, fatigue, used as consumables, and they eventually fought off people.
It didn't take too long for the prairie to fill the herds of wild mustangs. They developed rapidly, their number grew, since there were simply no predators there.
As a result, by the middle of the 19th century, free horses rode on the prairie in the amount of about two million individuals. Their ancestors have Andalusian, Arabian roots, however, constant crossing, including with not too purebred representatives, has changed the mustangs over time. Moreover, a free life on the prairie did not require a spectacular exterior, but endurance, speed, strength, and the strongest health were vital.
Characteristics and features of temperament
The exterior, that is, the appearance of the mustangs, is characterized as follows :
- not too tall - up to a maximum of 1 m 53 cm, the lowest representatives have 1 m 34 cm at the withers;
- the weight of an adult horse varies from 400 to almost 600 kg;
- horses look quite impressive due to the elongated tail and mane;
- their body is enlarged;
- the legs are lean, not too muscular.
They are able to develop absolutely incredible speed. Their endurance is perfectly confirmed by the fact that they are able to do without food and water, running up to 140 km without stopping. They live up to a maximum of 30 years.
Advantages of the breed:
- extraordinary endurance;
- strong body;
- excellent speed;
- not too demanding and cost minimal maintenance;
- excellent immunity.
Difficulties in breeding:
- freedom of movement and the ability to feel danger makes them not too trusting;
- it is a rather aggressive species;
- the energy of a mustang requires a special approach; only a very skillful and patient rider can handle such a horse;
- can be hostile to a person, especially if they do not recognize him as the master.
Conquering a mustang is a very difficult task, but if he chooses a person as the owner, he will submit to him and become a devotee. There is no other way to win the horse's sympathy. In addition to his master, he will not contact other people and will not allow them to come to him.
There are several varieties of wild mustangs. One of the most mysterious and unusual is the so-called white mustang. White horses have given rise to so many mythological stories and legends that it is time to write separate books about them. They were called ghosts and spirits of the prairie. For a long time it was believed that a horse of this suit is invulnerable, very smart, develops incredible speed and even immortal.
The Indians did not touch them, considering them to be representatives of higher powers, and treated them with respect.
Before the conquest of America by Columbus, there were an incredible number of these horses, but now their population has practically disappeared, having reduced to a few units. This is a very spectacular horse, graceful and graceful, with a straight fit, a beautiful head, neat ears, strong limbs, balanced body proportions. Their endurance is incredible and allows them to survive in the most difficult conditions. They are low - up to 120 cm, the color can be different.
Russian mustangs live only in the Rostov region, on an island called Vodny. A wild herd has been living there for many years. The history of its appearance there has several versions:
- after the filming of a movie with the participation of horses, several individuals could remain there, which fought off the total mass and subsequently began to breed;
- horses could escape from a stud farm that once existed there, which was transported to another place, and began their population;
- the genus began from the Don pure breed horses, which were not used for breeding.
This isolated herd is incredibly interesting for specialists, since it has no contact with other animals and reproduces only within its own herd. At the same time, no degeneration is observed, judging by their exterior.
- the size;
- excellent build, harmonious and beautiful;
- individuals of different colors: red, black, brown.
Since predators dangerous for horses do not live there, there is nevertheless fierce competition between stallions, who divide the herd into different herds and take the females away.
The way of life of wild animals is quite peculiar in all spheres: their behavioral characteristics and habitat are amazing. In any herd there is a leader - the most important person, a six-year-old horse, the most powerful and intelligent. Before reaching this age, it is impossible to become a leader, because the ability to drive and lead a herd is vital. It is the leader who is responsible for the foals, young individuals and several mares. In addition, the leader is responsible for protecting the flock from predatory animals, choosing a suitable area for habitation.
If there is a battle with a predator, the main mare takes the herd to a safe place, and the leader decides the issue with the enemy.
Often, the herds unite into one, despite the enmity that existed between them. Danger, the attack of predatory animals, can unite the herds. This union, as a rule, is short-lived, after the danger has passed, everything returns to normal. Wild-type horses are nomadic, herbivorous, and the basis of their diet turns green underfoot. P on the opinion of experts, the wild mustangs - absolute vegetarians. Horses are hardy enough, but a long lack of food and drink becomes a problem for them. Mustangs communicate well with each other, whinnying.
As for breeding, their mating season is in the spring-summer, since this is the most suitable time for the appearance of foals. There are frequent cases of battles for a mare between stallions, which does not happen in domestic animals. Females carry babies for almost a year - 11 months, and when the due date comes, the female leaves the herd and gives birth to a foal in a safe zone. Occasionally, two foals may appear at once . After several days after birth, the female raises the foal, helps him to start walking, to get stronger. After he becomes able not to break away from the herd, they come to him together.
The mare feeds the foal up to 8 months of age, until he finally gets stronger and grows up. As soon as he turns 3 years old, he will be driven out of the herd by the leader to prevent possible competition, and the mother can choose to leave with the child or stay. Today, wild mustangs are rare and are generally protected by law.
How do they differ from domestic horses?
Their main difference is the size of the horse and the weight - the mustang is much larger and heavier than domestic horses. Since in the wild there is a constant mixing of different genes, their color is diverse and can be either very light or dark chocolate. Often there are individuals with spots, piebald, unusual colors. The wild mustang nevertheless retains many of the traits of domestic representatives. However, due to movement, migration and mutation, they began to acquire characteristic features. They have genes for heavy trucks, ponies, Frisians, Spanish, Arab species. In the wild, exceptionally strong, strong horses survived, this is how natural selection worked.
They were forced to flee from predatory animals, human persecution.
All this could not but affect the characteristics of the mustang: it is more hardy, faster, more powerful than its domestic relatives. In addition, they need minimal care, they go longer without food and drink. The health of wild horses is much stronger than domestic ones, they have excellent hardened immunity, which protects them from diseases and infections. At the same time, the domestic horse is distinguished by a more friendly disposition, human-oriented, submissive . They study well, are trained, unlike wild wild horses, which have a freedom-loving disposition and rebelliousness.
Taming a mustang is not easy, and not everyone is capable of it. The horse will submit only if he wants to, and to the one he chooses. People with mustangs, very respected in their midst, is considered "aerobatics".
The unusual name of this breed comes from the word that translates as "an animal that has run wild." Then “mustang” began to be called horses that strayed from a man, a herd. Later, wild horses were also called this way, and it is in this interpretation that the name has come down to modern times. Mustang is a synonym for wildness, uncontrollability, wildness in a horse.
Unusually, the mustangs were originally domesticated, but again ran wild due to the prevailing circumstances and formed a new wild population.
Once upon a time, there were several million mustangs on the American mainland. Gradually, their number began to decline, as people ate horses and used their skins in everyday life. Thus, the population was reduced to 20,000 individuals.
In modern US law, mustangs are protected by the state. One of the coins in America has a mustang drawing on it. It's a Nevada 25 cents.
For more information on mustang horses, see the following video.