Utah Field Guide: Wild horses

Living symbols of the American west, wild horses can still be found roaming on BLM rangelands in 10 western states. The BLM estimates there are around thirty thousand wild horses and burros in the US, with just over three thousand inhabiting Utah.

Early spanish explorers brought tame horses when they came looking for riches in the unexplored regions of the New World. Many of these horses escaped to live in the wild and came to be called “mustangs.”

By the mid 1800’s there were millions of wild mustangs roaming free in the United States. They developed into strong small horses capable of living on their own.

Wild horses and burros have virtually no natural predators and their herd sizes can double about every four years. As a result, the BLM must remove thousands of animals from the range each year to control herd sizes.

In 1971 a federal law was passed that banned capturing, harming or killing free-roaming horses or burros on public land. The care and management of the wild horse herds was turned over to the BLM. For more information on wild horses or any other critter found in Utah. Check out our Utah Field Guide on our Outdoors page at KSLTV.com

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