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CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SPANISH MUSTANG

American Heritage Horses, also known as Spanish Mustangs, Colonial Spanish horses, Spanish Barbs and American Barbs, are the original American horse.  They are the descendants of the horses brought here by the Spanish Conquistadors.  They are the horses of Geronimo, Cochise, Sitting Bull and Chief Joseph and the same tough, loyal, intelligent and reliable cow ponies used by the cowboys of Dodge City, Tombstone and Deadwood.  They found the Aztec gold, ran the buffalo and drove cattle along the Chisholm trail.  Spanish Mustangs are the real thing.  They are truly America's Original Horse.  

Most of the Foundation Spanish Mustangs at our ranch are naturally gaited, possessing a naturally occurring lateral gait commonly known as the Indian Shuffle . We breed specifically for this trait in conjunction with all the other recognized Spanish Mustang characteristics. If you have never ridden a naturally gaited horse then you have yet to experience the amazingly smooth ride they give to you while covering ground at a much faster pace. Our Spanish Mustangs make excellent endurance competitors, trail partners and pleasure riding horses. They can go for long periods of time utilizing the gift of their natural gait.

In general the Spanish Mustang is a medium sized horse ranging from 13-2 to 15 hands with an average size of approximately 14-2 hands and a proportional weight of 700 to 1000 pounds. They are generally smooth muscled, having long, tapering muscles, not bunched or knotted muscling. They have short, strong backs, a sloped croup and low set tails. Coupling is smooth and the overall appearance is of a well balanced, smoothly built horse.

Chests are narrow but deep and the girth is deep, with well laid back shoulders and fairly sharp, pronounced withers. The front legs join the chest in an "A" shape when standing square rather than the "H" shape of other breeds. Necks are fairly well crested in mares and geldings and heavily crested in mature stallions.

The canon is short and has a larger circumference and rounder cross-section relative to other breeds of the same size and weight. Feet are small, round and extremely sound with thick walls, many having what is typically known as a "mule foot" which resists bruising due to the concave sole. Chestnuts are small or missing altogether, particularly on the rear legs. Ergots are small or absent.

They possess the classic Spanish type head with a straight or convex forehead and a convex or Roman nose which is in contrast to the straight forehead and nose of most breeds. The cranial area is wide with the face being narrow. The muzzle is narrow and fine with nostrils that are small and crescent shaped. A profile gives the appearance of the upper lip being longer than the lower one, but the teeth meet evenly. Ears are medium to short and notched at the top with some curved in towards each other.

They have a long stride and are well collected. They are remarkably hardy animals and tend to be less prone to injury, particularly of the legs and feet, than other breeds.

They have a very different mentality than "domesticated" horses. They are NOT push button horses and will not abide abuse, however they bond well with their owners and once bonded, become very attached to that person. Highly intelligent with an innate sense of self-preservation, they are not prone to put themselves into any situation which may be destructive or dangerous. They retain a great many of the instincts that allowed them to survive in the free roaming state.

Colors are extremely varied, the inheritance of the early Spanish horses who came in many colors and patterns, grullo, buckskin, overo and sabino paints and appaloosa, as well as the more common colors of bay, sorrel, black and white. Many have well defined dun factors including dorsal stripes, leg barring, ear rims, withers patches and stripes, face masking, frosting on manes and tails and forehead webbing.


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