THE SPANISH MUSTANG
By Gilbert H. Jones….
sent to Vance Myler of Rainbow Ranch and then on to me…Carolyn Miller.
The Spanish Mustang is not the wild horse of today, but the mustang breed that evolved from horses brought to the new world by the Spanish Conquistadores in the 1500’s and 1600’s. These horses of the Conquistadores consisted mainly of Spanish, Ginete, Arabian, Villano, Berber and Barb blood known as Andalusian.
Now, the true Spanish Mustang is almost extinct due to slaughter, cross-breeding and castration. By 1890 practically all-pure mustang stallions were eliminated. At this time the Buffalo was slaughtered almost to extinction and cattlemen stocked the Western range with cattle. They also brought in blooded eastern stallions to cross with the native mustang mares. The resulting offspring, although a larger horse, never had the natural herding instinct and cow-sense the pure mustang had. The mustang inherited this through hundreds of years of selection for maneuverability and stamina and the American Indian in his quest for Buffalo. The mustang is very sensible when broken correctly. Mustangs are very hard to jerk down on the end of a rope: if down, they spring up on their feet immediately.
The Spanish Mustang’s basically sensible disposition, smooth way of traveling, and size make him an ideal horse for all members of the family. He is intelligent and learns extremely fast. Their known characteristics are agility, alertness and hardiness.
The Spanish Mustang stood from 13.3 to 15 hands and weighs 750 to 1000 pounds. With modern feeding methods and good care, today’s mustangs are reverting back to their ancient size of 14 and a half to 15 hands and weighing around 1000 pounds. The Spanish Mustang is a very attractive, smooth bodied horse. There are two different types. One is thicker bodied and slightly leggy like their Barb ancestors. The other is blockier like the Spanish Ginete. There are three types of head profiles..straight, slightly dished which shows their Arabian heritage, or convex, which shows the Sorraia Horse of Spain influence. The ears are medium length, thin and slim with a small base, turned in at the tips. The forehead is of medium width and the eyes are large and bright, showing intelligence, with much white scleras around the iris and with some of the purest having glass eyes and tri-colored eyes, some have heavy bone protruding over the eyes. The muzzle is refined and small with mouth being shallow, with thin firm lips, which oddly take a 4 and half inch wide bit. Some of the purest will have a mustache. The neck is moderate in length with a well-defined throatlatch, the former being somewhat medium to narrow. The ribs are well sprung and the shoulder is sloping, withers are not too pronounced; the back is short throughout but never wide. The croup is short with a slightly low tail set, the hips are well rounded but not too wide, the barrel is slightly tapered, the legs are strong and of medium bone. The tendons are strong and well separated from the bone. Some of the purest have no chestnuts but when they are present they are small and nonprotruding; with ergots being small and often indistinguishable; the fetlock hair is sparse or lacking; the pasterns are medium in length and springy for easy riding. The hooves are small, usually taking 00 or 0 shoes; many of the purest mustang hooves are of harder texture than domestic horses and many never need to be shod.
Spanish Mustang Color
The Spanish Mustang runs the gamut of coloration along with all typical solid colors. He runs in all the various shades of Duns, Buckskins, Grullas, Claybanks, Isabellas, and Palominos. The Grullos are mouse colored and can be light or dark with dorsal; line-backed, black tipped ears, stripe on the neck, and the Grullo always has a black mane and tail, however, some Duns and Buckskins have a white overlay mane over their black mane; where Grullas might have an additional brown overlay over their mane. The Duns, Grullas and Coyote Duns have the distinctive zebra-striped legs with the primitive markings. The Buckskin always has a solid buckskin colored body with black legs extending (sometimes slightly) above the knees and hocks with a black mane and tail with dark-rimmed ears. Some may have line-backed (or dorsal stripe). No breed of horse has as many colors as the Spanish Mustang breed and indicators are these colors come from the Villano of Spain.
Pinto, Calico, Sabino and Shadow Paints
The Spanish Mustangs also come in the following colors of Pintos (with both tobiano and overo with solid and mixed manes and tails) The Overo and Tobiano Paints are inclined to have one-half inch bluish or roanish edges appearing on the outer edging of their dark paint spots; also, a “Calico” spotted paint, which is in a combination that can’t be specifically classified in any category. The “Sabino” paint which has the appearance of having had paint splashed al over the body; the “Shadow” paint, in which the color appears like a shadow on the body, the pattern with splotches of paint coloration fading, lightening and darkening into very irregular edging.
Medicine Hats and War Bonnets
Mustangs are found in two color phases one of the Medicine Hats which have a light colored body with dark ears and a shield on the chest and the other War Bonnets which have a distinct bonnet to their eyes and a shield on their chest; both were highly prized by the Indians as Buffalo and War Horses. Some Mustang pintos have as many as seven colors on the same animal. A very few have bloody shoulder markings of which some spots appear to sweat blood. Roan hairs at the base of the tail and throughout the body are a very true mustang characteristic; with the mane and tail being solid or mixed color.
The Appaloosa Spanish Mustang comes in two color phases, one being the Leopard Appaloosa in which spots are spread all over the entire body; and the blanket-hipped (with spots over the hips and loin). The Appaloosa have striped or laminated hooves, mottled skins, white sclera around the eyes; part colored skin about the nostrils and reproductive organs; usually a sparse mane and tail. Although, many have heavy manes and tails, they come in all base colors with a mixture of white hairs giving either a roan or mottled appearance. The mane and tail of an Appaloosa is often of a mixture of brown and white or black and white hairs. In some the spots may appear to have a lifted or raised effect with a roanish ring around the spot.
The years and years of ancient Spanish horse history cannot be covered in anything but a book. To trace the breed briefly, the horse brought to America after 1493 by the Conquistadors were called Andalusian of which two strains existed: Spanish Ginete bred at Cordova, which was developed from the Kuhaylai-Jinah-At-Tayr Arabian and Barb (this was probably the horse the Chicksaw and Choctaw horse evolved from.
Ferdinand L. Brislawn had the most colorful band of Medicine Hats and War Bonnets in the U.S.A. “Monty”, the famous mustang caught in the Book Cliff Mountains of Utah in 1927, sired Monty Holbrook’s famous strain of Mustangs. Holbrook spent his entire lifetime as a horse-trader by profession, catching wild horses, and probably knew the pure mustang better than any living man. Abb and Hoots Crisp, who are Choctaw Indians, living in Kosoma, Oklahoma had an uncle that in the beginning purchased a mare and stallion about 70 years ago and they have bred what are probably the purest Choctaw ponies today. The stallion and mare were Spanish bay roan color and the roans have been cropping out ever since with some Appaloosas; Mr. Jewel G. Whitmire, a Cherokee Indian from the “Going Snake district” of the Indian Territory, now known as Oklahoma, who has the purest Cherokee Indian Ponies in existence today. His ancestors specialized in raising gaited and hard-use endurance ponies and have been raising the same strain of Appaloosa, paints, and all the other colors for 146 years on the Whitemire Plantation that was allotted to his family. They were one of the first Cherokee families arriving in I.T. now Oklahoma, coming with the TRAIL OF TEARS from Etoka, Georgia, where they had been one of the largest landholders among the Cherokees, bringing with them a lot of slaves.
The stallion, Chief Kiamichi, known as “Rooster”, carries on the Locke Indian strain of Choctaw Ponies. These strains of horses have a lot of endurance and are one of SSMA’s most sought after bloodlines having been bred in Pushmataha County since the TRAIL OF TEARS to I.T., now Oklahoma.
Gilbert H. Jones of Oklahoma (his stock was acquired during a time when mustangs still existed in Texas, New Mexico, and the Indian Territory, now Oklahoma).
To register any horse with SSMA, it must be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the horse carries the blood of the stock in the above-mentioned breeders. IN order to bring new blood into SSMA and to prevent to much in-breeding, there may be a few horses registered that are not proven to be descendents from these blood lines. The requirements for registering a horse not out of the foundation bloodlines will be:
1. Proven geographical origin of the horse
2. Integrity of the owner or breeder
3. History of the horse and owner as verified by other people from the same area. In all probability, Old Mexico will be the main source of any acceptable outside blood.
The aforementioned article and guidelines for registration came through Gilbert Jones and his correspondence with Vance Myler of Van Lo’s Rainbow Ranch as passed on to me for archiving and education. Mr. Jones address at this time was noted at the end of this article as:
Gilbert H. Jones, SSMA Chairman
P.O. Box 148
Finley, Oklahoma 74543