I keep reading and hearing about how
wild horses are overpopulating and causing problems with grazing land. Then my
girlfriend corrected me and said there are not any "wild" horses left,
that all the ones running loose are domesticated horses and their offspring and
the only true wild horses are in the zoos. Is this true?
is an excerpt from our new book, Horse
Hoof Care, that will help answer your question.
is now common and generally acceptable to refer to feral horses as wild horses.
But biologically speaking, a wild horse is one that has not been domesticated
nor descended from domesticated horses. The last truly wild horses mysteriously
disappeared from North America along with saber-toothed cats, mammoths and most
other large mammals around the end of the last ice age, 9 to 13 thousand years
feral horse is a free roaming, untamed horse that has descended from domestic
horses. North American feral horses spread from horses brought to the continent
by Spanish conquistadors and others in the 1500s and later became known as mustangs.
They are now commonly referred to as wild horses."
horses which became feral horses were, and are, unwanted horses that were turned
loose or those that got loose from ranches or other facilities. The only "wild"
horses today the Przewalski horses, most of which live in zoos.