Mustangs 4 Us
Prehistory of the Horse
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WHB History
Mustang Heritage
Adopt a Mustang!
(Wild Horse, not the Car!)
Wild Horse & Burro Watching
Gentling and Training
Mustang Mules
Wild Horse & Burro Herd Areas
Mustang * Horse Colors
Helpful Videos
"Free to Good Home"
"Working With Wild Horses" Book
Cool Stuff to Buy
Our "Wild " Herd
How to Read a Brand


BLM Mare #

This is a non-commercial, independent website, owned and written by Nancy Kerson, for the benefit of actual and potential adopters of BLM Mustangs and Burros and similar animals.

Mustang T-Shirt


Sizes & Style

Working With Wild Horses, Second Edition
Working With Wild Horses
Second Edition 
Printed Book $23
$7.50 Download

Now available on iTunes!

This website is owned and created
by Nancy Kerson, a private
citizen - I am not the BLM or anyother branch of  government!

Information about BLM adoptions
is offered as a service, to help
mustangs find homes and to
promote public appreciation of
wild horses and burros.

For information about the BLM
Wild Horse & Burro Program,
please call (866) 4MUSTANGS
or Click HERE

Please direct adoption questions
to the BLM, not to me.

And I sure as heck am not a
Mustang car dealership!

I have NO horses or burros for
sale and am not interested in
buying or listing or otherwise
promoting your sale animals!

This website:
Copyright 2001, 2002, 2003,
2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008,
2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
All Rights Reserved.
I am happy to share, but please
give me a credit when you
"borrow" things off my website!


Kitty Lauman:
From Wild to Willing:
Using the Bamboo Pole to Gentle Mustangs
More from Lauman Training available now!

2-DVD set: almost 3 hours of instruction!

$39.95 plus $5 shipping/handling = $44.95 total

BUY 2 DVD Set:

Can't Order Online?
No Problem!
Just email us and we'll tell you
how to mail order

Lesley Neuman:
The First Touch
Gentling Your Mustang

Lesley works with 3 wild horses at a BLM adoption, and very clearly explains what is happening, what she is doing, & what she sees in each horse as it progresses. Study this video and you can learn "pressure and release" gentling techniques to gentle your own new mustang!


Help for Burro adopters!
Crystal Ward
Donkey Training

All the basics of gentling, handling, and training. A MUST for new burro adopters! Good for domestic donkeys, too!




Beginning: Menu  Pre-History  Domestication  Return to America  Return to the Wild   Mid-1800's to 1970   The Creation of the BLM Wild Horse & Burro Program   Wild Horses & Burros in the 21st Century

Alternative Histories   Our Mustang Heritage



North America was the original home of the horse species. Horses evolved here, and equine species thrived here for over 57 million years. The plant and animal communities of North American ecology evolved with horses playing an integral role. About 8,000 - 10,000 years ago, for reasons not yet fully understood (meteors, climate change, pandemic, and human hunting pressures are among the possibilities), horses are believed* to have become extinct in the land of their origin. Luckily by that time they had migrated to Asia, where they spread into Europe and North Africa.

(* see "Alternative Histories")

Photos from Beringea interpretive Center

illustration from  

For more, see these:
Yukon Beringea Interpretive Center
Yukon Beringea Center Research on The Yukon Horse

Dr. Deb Bennett's Horse Evolution article
(very technical)

Ancient horse bones are turning up many places. Here is a story from the Las Vegas area

Links to source articles and more information:


  • CLICK HERE for the Oxford Journal's article about genetic research into horse origins
  • CLICK HERE for the Oxford Journal's article exploring horse genetics
  • CLICK HERE to read a "Science Daily" article about prehistoric domestication of the horse


During the Pleistocene Era, there were more than 50 species of equids in the Americas.
Now there are, worldwide, only 7
(or 8, depending on how you classify Przewalski's. Some consider it a separate species, others say it is a subspecies of equus caballus)

Przewalski's Horse or Takhi
Some hold Przewalski's to be a separate species from the domestic horse (Equus Caballus), the last remnant of the wild horse Equus ferus, others hold it is a subspecies of Equus caballus.

Although the Przewalski's horse has 66 chromosomes, compared to 64 in a domestic horse, the Przewalski's horse and the domestic horse are the only equids that cross-breed and produce fertile offspring, possessing 65 chromosomes.[3]

"The Przewalski horse can be crossed successfully with the domestic horse, producing offspring with 65 chromosomes. Unlike the offspring of a domestic horse and an animal such as a donkey or zebra, the offspring of a Przewalski/domestic horse is not sterile and can be crossed back to either species. If the offspring is crossed back to a domestic horse, the resulting animal will have 64 chromosomes and very few Przewalski characteristics." - WIKIPEDIA

Modern Horse
Equus Caballus

Tibetan Kiang

Asiatic wild ass/Onager

African Wild Ass   


Nubian Wild Ass - as a Wild animal
The progenitor of all modern donkeys, including the Burro of the western states and Mexico. It was first domesticated about 6000 years ago. The Nubian Wild Ass is most likely extinct in the wild since the 1950's. However, the IUCN Red List [1] still mentions it as critically endangered.
 - Wikipedia

photo: John Kok, via Wikipedia
         Grevy's zebra

 photo: Moongateclimber, via Wikipedia
Mountain zebra

 Plains (aka "Burchell's) Zebra
Zebras are horse- or donkey-like animals with stripes. They are social animals who live in small harems or large herds. Zebras were the second modern equid to diverge from the earliest proto-horses, after the asses, around 4 million years ago. They are close enough genetically to horses and donkeys to interbreed, although the offspring, like horse-donkey offspring, are sterile. (Horse-Zebra crosses are called Zorses and Donkey-Zebra crosses are called Zonkeys or Zedonks)

The three existing zebra species differ in appearance primarily in ear shape and striping patterns. To each other, they differ in more fundamental ways: Although their territories overlap, they do not interbreed in the wild. In captivity, Plains Zebras have been successfully crossed with Mountain zebras. Attempts to breed Grevy's zebras to Mountain Zebras results in a high rate of miscarriage. (much of this is drawn from Wikipedia)

Although it is currently popular to own a zebra, zebras resist domestication, are extremely strong, have a far more powerful sense of self-preservation than other equines, require very expensive fencing and handling equipment, and generally make unreliable exotic pets, at best a pretty pasture ornament who is somewhat handle-able.  Although a few trainers occasionally manage to train an individual zebra to a basic level of performance (catching, haltering, leading, perhaps doing a few tricks or allowing a person to ride them briefly), zebras have so far never been truly domesticated.

There is an old African saying, "If Zebras could be trained, no one (in Africa) would be walking..."
But if you want to try, here are a few people who are currently working with zebras:
Spots 'n' Stripes Ranch

The Zebra Guru
Mustang Camp Zebra Training

International Zebra - Zorse - Zonkey Association

One of the more exciting rising stars in both the horse and zebra world is Obbie Schlom, who took both firswt and second places at the 2012 Norco Extreme Mustang Makeover, and was the youngest competitor ever to be invited to Road To The Horse. Here's a video where Obbie talks about the differences between training a horse, a mule, a zebra, and a bull calf: VIDEO


During the millions of years that Mother Nature has experimented with Equine designs, many species have come and gone. Here are two of the more recent departures:

The Tarpan is the original Euro-Asian wild horse pictured in cave paintings. It originally ranged over western and eastern Europe into central Russia. Cave drawings of Tarpan horses can be found in France and Spain, and artifacts showing this breed can be found in Southern Russia where this horse was domesticated by Scythian nomads in about 3000 B.C. According to cave paintings, their most common colors were bay dun, grullo, and spotted.

Wild Tarpans died out during the late 1800's. The last Tarpan horse died an a Ukranian game preserve at Askania Nova in 1876.

photo from Wikipedia
This is the only known photo of a live Tarpan, ''Equus ferus ferus''. This Tarpan stallion was caught in 1866 and purchased by the zoo of Moscow. Some dispute if it was a true Tarpan, due to the length of the mane.

It is now thought that the domesticated horse, named Equus caballus by Linnaeus in 1758, is descended from the Tarpan;

Many taxonomists consider the trapan and modern horse to belong to the same species.

- Wikipedia

Tarpan Links:

Quagga mare in London Zoo in 1870
The Quagga was native to desert areas of the African continent until it was exterminated in the wild in the 1870s. The last captive Quaggas died in Europe in the 1880s.

The quagga was the first extinct creature to have its DNA studied. Recent genetic research at the Smithsonian Institution has demonstrated that the Quagga was in fact not a separate species at all, but diverged from the extremely variable Plains Zebra, Equus burchelli, between 120,000 and 290,000 years ago, and suggests that it should be named Equus burchelli quagga. - Wikipedia

photo by Alethe - Wikipedia

There are several people or groups who have worked to restore the Tarpan by selectively "breeding back" to Tarpan type, using horses such as the Konik and the Przewalksi's Horse.

Here's an interesting article about Tarpans by Hardy Oelke

Click for Modern attempts to re-create the Tarpan

copyright 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015  Nancy Kerson, all rights reserved - I'm happy to share, just need to be asked and have credit given where due.

Disclaimer: Horses are inherently dangerous. Use the information contained within this website at your own risk.