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Mustang- Hidalgo and Frank Hopkins

Updated on December 18, 2011

Mustang Mystery

I just watched the movie Hidalgo,(a title of spanish nobility) for about the tenth time today. For those of you who are not familar with the movie. Its about the winning endurance rider Frank Hopkins and his Mustang stallion, Hidalgo, In 1889 he was offered a chance to race in a 3000 mile race in Arabia. The kicker is that Frank Hopkins rode mustangs and the race in Arabia was of course, Arabians, horses that were bred for the harsh desert terrain. Frank accepted, and took his Hidalgo to Arabia for this unbelievably difficult competition. Against all odds Frank and Hidalgo won. In the movie it is very close at the end of the race with three horses fight for the finish line, Hidalgo being one of them. I love this movie and the fact it was based on a true story even made it better. I decided to do some reading on Frank Hopkins and try to find out the real story. Because, you know the movies, they have to add a lot of drama.

What I found was even better than the movie. Not only did Frank Hopkins win the race, he passed the finish line 33 hours before the second horse. Out of one-hundred horses total in the race only five horses technically finished the race. I also found that Frank not only had Hidalgo, but owned and trained many mustangs as well as taking two others besides Hidalgo to Arabia. When he left the U.S. he wasn't sure which one he was going to ride in the race. He definitely made the right choice.

I think the whole story is amazing. It made such a impression on me that I started reading everything I could on the Mustang horse. The history of the Mustang is spectacular. They are protected now being a living symbol of America's frontier past. The BLM "U.S. Bureau of Land Management" are suppose to be the caretakers of the Mustang herds. After this it gets real confusing. The numbers of herds, horses, and in fact all the information doesn't seem to be clear. There are groups that claim that the BLM is not on the up and up. Although the past history of the Mustang seems to be solid, today's Mustang seems to be a bit of a mystery. There are different types from different areas. Even though they are all from a Spanish descendants, each one is a little different from the other one due to the mixture of different breeds in different areas. At least, this is how I understand it.

Nokota Mustang
Nokota Mustang

Nokota Mustangs

The Nokota Mustang only lives on the Nokota Horse Conservancy in North Dakota, where they require full-time care of the breed to make sure it doesn't become extinct. These horses are the last of the Northern Plain Mustang and use to roam the Little Missouri badlands.

Pryor Mountain Mustang
Pryor Mountain Mustang

Pryor Mountain Mustangs

These horses live on the Wild Horse range in the Big Horn Mountains. This is the very first area of land fenced specifically for wild horses. The Pryor Mountain Mustangs roam free on 44,000 acres of land.

Kiger Mustang
Kiger Mustang

Kiger Mustangs

These Mustangs are found in the Steen Mountain in Southeastern Oregon. The charactrisics of the Kiger is the closest to the orginal Spanish Mustang.


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