Herds of mustangs have become a symbol of the American West, but because of their ancestry they are not considered a separate species from the domestic horse.


Wild horses lived in North America around 11,000 years ago. European explorers reintroduced horses to this continent about 600 years ago. Over time some escaped, and formed independent herds. Mustangs are therefore feral horses, that have reverted from a domesticated state back to living in the wild. By 1900, there were an estimated two million mustang horses in North America, which were often caught and sold, but today there only around 33,000.


Distribution: Most mustang horses today inhabit the state of Nevada, with others roaming in Montana, Wyoming and Oregon. Some also occur in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada.

Weight: Typically 317 - 362 kg (700 - 800 lb), but depends on the individual’s ancestry.

Length: Variable; may be around 2.1 m (6.9 ft), with a tail of 60 cm (24 in); 122 - 173 cm (48 - 68 in) tall.

Maturity: 2 years.

Gestation Period: 11 - 12 months.

Breeding: 1; weaning occurs at about 8 months.

Food: Grazes on grasses and other plants, also eating bark and leaves.

Lifespan: Up to 20 years.


The mane extends down the neck from the back of the head, over the


This is a variable feature in mustangs, being influenced by their origins.

Viewing angle

The positioning of the horse’s eyes means that it has very good visibility, alerting it to danger.


The outer wall is worn down by the horse running over the ground.


The long tail is used to keep flies off the body.