Mustang questions, - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-11-2012, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Mustang questions,

My understanding is Mustang is simply a feral horse, and basically can be a mixture of anything, yet I frequently see discussions of Mustangs as if they are a specific breed. Has time and natural selection in the wild created specific traits that they are now more or less a breed standard ?
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-12-2012, 04:01 AM
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I've also always been confused by this. Same paint horses (are they a breed or color). I will be curious to hear others responses.

I have noticed that BLM and various California and Oregon herds have very similar traits to the typical mustang description. I have only seen few and far between actual wild horses outside of an auction.
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post #3 of 6 Old 12-12-2012, 06:05 AM
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The mustang characterization is the same as that of brumbies, which I have been very interesting in. It is my understanding that these horses have developed from such an eclectic mix of breeds that they do become a type of their own, and can't be labelled as any other breed. Therefore, they have become known as mustangs and brumbies.

It both is and it isn't a breed. It is in that all equines fall into a subcategory called a breed, and a niche has been created to fit these horses. It isn't a breed as there is no standard for them, unlike other breeds. I'm unsure about mustangs, but I know that brumbies can look as different to one another as a rottweiler to a greyhound. Some of the brumbies have noticeable feathering and are short backed and almost ridiculously stocky, whilst other resemble Welsh's and Arabians. They also come in basically every colour possible, and it's impossible to narrow it down.

Some people say that mustang/brumby is a term for a horse that came from the wild, but they have become a registered breed here in Australia and their offspring are all known as purebred brumbies, even though the parents themselves are just a result of uncontrolled crossbreeding.
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post #4 of 6 Old 12-12-2012, 08:07 PM
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A true mustang is a horse that is born in the wild, usually with at least one wild parent. If it goes back a couple of generations in the wild it will tend to show feral characteristics. It could have any type of horse in it's genetics, so there is no breed standard except that it be a wild born feral horse. It is generally acknowledged that the origins of the American mustang comes from the spanish Iberian horses specificly the Andalusian, and the Arabian as well as the Barb horses that were brought over by the Spaniards in their explorations. Many of these wild herds have had a lot of other stray horses including draft horses that have intermingled and kind of made a true "mustang" standard difficult to put in place. Thus, a mustang is a wild horse period.

That said, there are now some specific breeds of mustangs that do have certain standards, by type or conformation. Typically, a breed organization will define their particular type of mustang by these standards and you have to have them to register as such. Some orgs are fairly "loose" in their standards some not. Some of these include Spanish Mustang Registry, founded in 1957, followed by the American Indian Horse Registry, the Spanish Barb Breeders Association, and the Southwest Spanish Mustang Association. There are also a couple of registries that are very specific about what they allow in-most of which I can't remember at the moment. The two I can remember are the Cracker horses in Florida and the Kiger mustang. There are currently a couple of Kiger registries. The original Kiger registry only allows horses that were either from or descended from two areas near the Kiger range in Oregon. The Steens Mountain area and the Riddle area. These two particular herds are thought to be one of only a couple places in the country where the herds were so isolated that their bloodlines were never contaminated by other breeds or strays. This has been borne out by genetic testing. They do have certain standards for type, build, conformation, and must be able to prove that they have the Dun factor. So they are mustangs, even Colonial Spanish Mustangs, BUT not all mustangs or Colonial Spanish Mustangs could be a Kiger.
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post #5 of 6 Old 12-12-2012, 08:13 PM
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The animated movie "Spirit" was obviously a fiction story. The model for the horse in the movie was based on the personality, movement, and general demeanor of a real horse named Donner. He was the son of the foundation stallion Steen's Kiger and was originally owned by Rick Middleton in Oregon. Rick sold him to Dreamworks and Donner is now on a preserve to live out his life. Rick is also the keeper and owner of Steen's Mountain Kiger registry.
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post #6 of 6 Old 12-13-2012, 12:09 AM
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IMO, the answer is no. You can go to different areas within any state and see distinctly different traits in mustangs. There is inbreeding in many areas, just like line breeding, and they will have very similar physical traits in a given area. Mustangers freshened the blood often, so that was a lot of "localized" freshening of the blood. Whatever unique traits that it is claimed they possess, thay are not "standard" and cannot be consistantly reproduced from 2 randomly selected mustangs taken from 2 separate areas - and their lineage has not been recorded - hence, cannot be considered a breed.

There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it.
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