Arizona Wild Horse
Although free-roaming Mustangs are called “wild” horses, they descend from feral domesticated horses,[a] originally the Colonial Spanish horse that arrived in the Americas in the early 1500s. THis is where the Arizona Wild Horses originate from.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the English word mustang was likely borrowed from two essentially synonymous Spanish words, mestengo (or mesteño) and mostrenco. English lexicographer John Minsheu glossed both words together as ‘strayer’ in his dictionary of 1599. Both words referred to livestock defined as ‘wild, having no master’.[b] Mostrenco was used since the 13th century, while mestengo is attested from the late 15th.
Mesteño referred originally to beasts of uncertain ownership distributed by the powerful transhumant merino sheep ranchers’ guild in medieval Spain, called the Mesta (Honrado Concejo de la Mesta, ‘Honorable Council of the Mesta’). The name of the Mesta derived ultimately from the Latin: mixta, lit. ‘mixed’, referring to the common ownership of the guild’s animals by multiple parties. The OED states that the origin of mostrenco is “obscure” but notes the Portuguese: mostrengo is attested from the 15th century. In Spanish, mustangs are named mesteños. By 1936, the English ‘mustang’ had been loaned back into Spanish as mustango.
Arizona Wild Horse – “Mustangers” (Spanish: mesteñeros) were cowboys (vaqueros) who caught, broke, and drove free-ranging horses to market in the Spanish and later American territories of what is now northern Mexico, Texas, New Mexico, and California. They caught the horses that roamed the Great Plains, the San Joaquin Valley of California, and later the Great Basin, from the 18th century to the early 20th century.
See more photos of the Arizona Wild Horses here.