The pure mustang traces directly back to the Spanish horse, being the offspring of horses escaped from domestication. The horses brought from Spain during the Conquest of Mexico, 1519-22, formed the foundation stock for this hardy, vicious, wiry, unreliable, smoky-dun, yellow-clay, mouse-white or pink-roan, piebald, everlasting, bucking mustang. The forces of nature might have made a more erratic horse and one of tougher material, but never did. Happily, the same conditions which produced the horse produced a man able to tame and ride him. No other horse could have withstood the uses to which he was put, and no other man but the plains-man could have put a horse to such uses and abuses. The early civilization and conditions, and the climate, produced men who were not content unless something as exciting as lassoing a Texas steer, fighting wild Indians or riding the wilder mustang were a daily pastime. The mustang has been a most helpful little brute, and has played an important part in the substitution of sleek grade Herfords and Short-horns for the bull-headed bison and the treacherous coyote. Juicy, marbleized steaks have been substituted for the dry, leathery, tough bison meat; and farms and homes, corn and cattle, and "God's country" have taken the place of the wigwam, the Indian, the coyote and the desert. Without him, the wild hordes of the rocky fortresses, and the illimitable windy plains now burning hot, now bleak and cold as Iceland, would not have been settled and civilized for many long years. But for the pony, communication could not have been had between the west and the east in the pioneer days. The pony overland express was as useful and as necessary in its day as are the transcontinental railways in our times.

Gaited broncho. American bred.

Fig. 28. Gaited broncho. American-bred. Permission of Breeders' Gazette.