EX­PAN­SION OF COLO­NIAL SPAN­ISH HORSES FROM SANTA FE, AND MIX­ING WITH FRENCH AND ENGLISH HORSES

EQUUS - - Conformation Insights -

There were once herds of Mus­tangs on the western plains so nu­mer­ous as to be be­yond count. Stephen Austin’s 1829 maps of eastern Té­jas bear the no­ta­tion “im­mense herds of wild horses.” As the first three maps show, the Mus­tang pop­u­la­tion ex­plo­sion came from Santa Fe, a Span­ish-Mex­i­can colony in what is now New Mex­ico. As the maps show, pur­ple zones of mix­ing de­vel­oped east of the Mis­sis­sippi but the ge­o­graphic scale was much smaller. By 1790, French ex­plo­ration west­ward from Mon­treal and south­ward down the Mis­sis­sippi, and Amer­i­can ex­pe­di­tions head­ing north­west­ward to the head­wa­ters of the Mis­souri cre­ated the ini­tial Plains Cayuse pop­u­la­tion ( pur­ple zone north of St. Louis and west of the Mis­sis­sippi). By 1870, Amer­i­can im­mi­gra­tion to Span­ish-Mex­i­can Té­jas and Cal­i­for­nia had shifted the pur­ple zone west­ward and south­ward. De­spite the fact that Plains Cayuses once mounted many In­dian tribes and most cow­boys and va­que­ros, the type is rarely seen to­day.

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