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Protect Mustangs America's Wild Horses, Wild Horse Roundups, History of Wild Horses in America, Horses

Updated on September 9, 2012

History of the Wild Horses

A long time ago, all horses were wild animals that ran free in large herds along vast grasslands all over the world. In the United States they were prairie animals with bison and elk. The early form of horses migrated over land bridges to other parts of the world such as Spain and Portugal and they developed into the horses we know today called equine. The early form of horse called "Dawn" horses all died when the climate changed in North America. As a matter of fact, horses had vanished from the Western Hemisphere many thousands of years before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492. There wasn't any horses roaming the plains of the west until the early explorers brought tame horses with them when they came over looking for riches in unexplored territory of this country. In search of gold in the New World in the early 1500's, the Conquistadors, Spanish soldiers, brought strong work horses that carried them throught the jungles and deserts. Spanish settlers raised the horses on cattle and sheep ranches in New Mexico. Horses began escaping into the wild and became known as "Mustangs", Spanish for stray or free running animal.

Wild Mustangs

Wild Mustangs
Wild Mustangs | Source

Wild Horse Management

By 1900 North America had approximately 2 million free-roaming horses. Since then the Mustang's population has been reduced drastically.

They were captured and sold for human consumption and for pet food. This led to the first federal wild free-roaming horse protection law in 1959 called "Wild Horse Annie Act". This act prohibited the use of motor vehicles for hunting wild horses and burros. In 1971 protection of the mustangs was increased by the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act. Today the authority that oversees the protection and management of Mustang herds on public lands is the Bureau of Land Management, a/k/a BLM. The BLM's task is to protect, manage, and control wild horses and burros in accordance with the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act and to ensure that healthy herds thrive on healthy range lands and as multiple-use mission under the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act. This act governs the way in which the public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management are managed.

As the number of animals began to grow, the program began to shift to population control. And that has triggered an outcry from wild-horse advocates, which really began to resonate in 2010.

Supposedly today there are only approximately 29,000 free-roaming horses and 3,500 burros left in the wild.

Cruel BLM round ups of WILD HORSES

The public has been outraged at the handling of the wild horses by the BLM. They feel they are managing wild horses and burros to extinction, and their cruel round-ups have been inhumane and costly.

In response to the public outcry over the wild horse roundups, Congress slashed $2 million from the BLM budget. The director of the BLM announced shortly thereafter, that they were going to reduce the number of mustangs removed from the range and try to make better efforts in their handling of the horses. The BLM plans on reducing roundup numbers from about 10,000 a year to 7,600 a year.

Why can't we just let nature take it's course and let the wild horses roam free? I understand the argument of over population etc. but there has to be a better way.

Congressional Appeal to Halt the Roundups

Beautiful Wild Horse

Wild Horse
Wild Horse | Source

National Geographic Video on Wild Horses


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Well said cludelady2. I agree that Wild Horses should be allowed to roam free.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      5 years ago from Wales

      Oh what a great read and here's to so many more to come.


    • Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

      Barbara Anne Helberg 

      6 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

      @clydelady2...Thanks for sharing this important information about our wild horse population and the BLM's changed policies. All of America's animals need help!

    • clydelady2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Ann 

      7 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thank you for your comments. Mustangs are beautiful and they deserve their freedom.

    • Golfgal profile image


      7 years ago from McKinney, Texas

      I love mustangs. They are a symbol of total freedom. Their protection is a moral imperative. Cudos.

    • Cogerson profile image


      7 years ago from Virginia

      Wow your stat on the amount of horse left since 1900 is shocking....not a good rate for their futures..voted on this hub on an important subject


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