Were There Ever Herds of Wild Horses in America?

Since the American Indians were known to be good horsemen, many people think that they had been riding horses for many centuries before Europeans arrived in the New World. Actually, the Indians never saw a horse before the Spaniards arrived in the 1500s!

In very ancient times, some horses from Asia crossed to North America, but these horses were extinct by the time Europeans arrived in America.

The Spanish-explorers who set up towns and missions in the American Southwest brought horses with them, and sold or gave some of these horses to the Indians.

The Indians soon learned how to ride and breed horses. So, by the time settlers from the East began to cross America in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Indians were already good horsemen.

But there were never great herds ‘of wild horses in this country. A traveler crossing America around 1700 reported that he didn’t see a single wild horse. These wild horses that were discovered in later years probably came from horses that had escaped from the Indians and bred in the wilds.

There are still 72 million horses in the United States!