Acquired: Horse's previous owner
Posted Feb 27, 2014
Mustangs are a beautiful symbol of American history and I firmly believe they should always be protected and the wild herds kept as "wild" and free as possible. Personally, my experience with my mustang wasn't as romantic as the idea of owning a mustang sounds, but I learned so much with mine and still think they are great horses that should be judged on an individual basis.
I bought my mustang when I was 16, and even being an experienced rider at that time, I still struggled a lot with owning a horse. My mustang was not wild and never had been, but she had at least 1 formerly wild parent--maybe both. Her owner had spoiled her quite a bit and had waited till she was older to start her, and even then the horse was allowed to be lazy and bossy/aggressive when she wanted to be. She was very docile when I went to visit her and try her out, but after settling in at the new barn and getting on a new low-fat diet to take off the weight, she began to perk up.
Mustangs are very intelligent. This makes training awesome and also a nightmare at times. Thanks to a fabulous trainer, I was able to employ natural horsemanship techniques and work in a gentle, herd-related way that my mustang understood. Even so, we were just not well matched personality wise and both had tempers that set each other off and easily frustrated each other instead of calming one another down. As stated earlier, mustangs are very smart and will continue in "bad" behavior if they know it's pushing the limits, to see how far they can push you--like any smart animal, or even human for that matter. Even though she was very stubborn, I could tell my horse (usually) picked up most training techniques very quickly. Mustangs are great all-around horses and if she hadn't been so spooky I think she would have made a great trail horse--as a spanish style mustang (she looked very much like an Andalusian and I also got asked a lot if she was a warmblood) she stood out in a crowd and would have made an excellent show horse as well. She picked up dressage quickly despite having been trained western originally, and really seemed to enjoy jumping--they are a smart breed and jumping was one thing that occupied her really well.
One great thing about mustangs is that they are the easiest of keepers--I went all-out on the natural horsemanship front with my horse and she grew a thick enough coat to be kept outdoors (with a run in shelter) year round, even in an Iowa (midwestern area, extremely cold and snowy) winter. She had wonderful hooves as well and only required a trim now and then so they didn't get too long, but no shoes or special anything. They are great and easy to feed as well, not picky (they forage really well) and process things excellently and don't usually have special dietary/supplement needs. Highly recommended in terms of a hardy, easy horse.
Still, not a good first horse, in my opinion, but they are beautiful and intelligent creatures--I would be hesitant about owning a mustang again but I would still definitely consider it right along with any warmblood or quarter horse because they really are so individual and usually have so many strains of other breeds in them that you never really know what you're going to get, except a horse that can do anything and go anywhere.