Did you know horses were found in America millions of years ago? Early horse was about the size of a dog. But horses disappeared from America about 10,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age.
Spanish explorers re-introduced horses to the Americas in the 16th century. Later, other horses and burros were turned loose or escaped from the cavalry, farms, ranches and miners. At the end of the 19th century, about 2 million wild horses and burros roamed the west.
Mustangs and burros have become Legends in Endurance. Their home is the rugged and harsh American west – which provides the food, water, cover and habitat they need to live.
The average mustang weighs 800-1,000 pounds, eats 20-25 pounds of food and drinks 10 gallons of water daily.Nevada is home to most of the nation’s wild horses – estimate was 26,160 horses in year 1988. Many herds have grown significantly since then.
Most of these horses are located on public lands administered by the BLM’s Battle Mountain, Winnemucca, Las Vegas and Carson City Districts.
According to Jay Kirkpatrick, director of the Science and Conservation Center in Billings, Montana, ancestors of modern horses started evolving in North America about four million years ago. The most recent ancestor to exist on the continent, Equus lambei, went extinct about 12,000 years ago. Kirkpatrick goes on to say DNA analysis shows that this extinct species is the genetic equivalent of the modern horse that was reintroduced into North America in the 1500s by Spanish explorers, and that modern horses, E. caballus, could have evolved nowhere else but North America. Kirkpatrick’s findings point to wild horses deserving consideration as indigenous, not feral—as common belief for more than a century suggests.