Can Wild Horses Be Domesticated? Here’s What You Need To Know!

Have you ever wondered if wild horses can be tamed? In short, the answer is yes, wild horses can be tamed with the right training. In this article, we’ll define what a wild horse is, discuss where wild horses live in the United States, and how to train and adopt wild horses.


What is a Wild Horse?

What exactly do we mean when we talk about wild horses? A truly “wild” horse is one that has not been tamed. The only horse breed in the world that meets these criteria is the Przewalski horse, which can be found in Mongolia, also known as the Mongolian wild horse. These horses were once common throughout Asia and Europe, but over time they migrated eastward due to a combination of environmental changes and loss of their natural habitat. They were nearly extinct but were successfully reintroduced into the wild. Despite human intervention in zoos and nature reserves that prevented this animal from becoming extinct, this species was never successfully tamed.

Other “wild” horse species around the world are actually wild members of the domesticated horse species. Some of the most well-known domesticated wild horse breeds that roam freely in the wild are the mustang, which can be found in the western United States, and the brumbi, which is commonly found in the Northern Territory of Australia. In this article, we will refer specifically to “wild” wild domestic horses in the United States.

wild horses

Can You Catch a Wild Horse?

Wild mustang horses can be found in the Western states of Utah, California, Wyoming, New Mexico, North Dakota, Montana, Arizona, Oregon, Idaho, and Nevada. More than half of all Mustangs in the United States live in Nevada. If you are an experienced horse owner who is interested in capturing and domesticating wild mustangs, you should know that these animals are protected by the Land Agency. Under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, Congress referred to wild horses and burros as “living symbols of the historical and pioneering spirit of the West.” This action protects wild horses from being branded, harassed, killed, or captured.

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Adopting a Mustang

While you can’t catch wild mustangs yourself, there are adoption programs you can take advantage of. Since mustangs do not have many natural predators, they can cause problems if the population is not controlled. The Bureau of Land Management has a program in which a certain number of horses are removed from the wild each year to maintain their population in the wild. BLM holds several hundred adoption events each year to find homes for these excess horses. Many of these animals live in cages for years before they are caged.

To adopt a mustang, you must meet certain requirements. First, you need to state that you will be able to provide a good home for your horse. You must be at least 18 years of age, have no history of conviction for inhumane treatment of animals, and plan to keep your horse in the United States for one year until entitlement. Your horse shelter must provide at least 400 square feet of space per horse and must be at least 6 feet tall. The BLM website provides additional guidance for your horse facility depending on the location and climate of its future home.

If you meet the requirements above, you can start the adoption process by filling out a physical or online application and submitting it to the nearest Land Bureau office in your area.

wild horses

Taming Wild Horses

If you adopt a wild horse, you will most likely get a chance to tame it and train it yourself. The time it takes to tame a wild horse depends on how experienced you are. Experienced trainers will be able to ride wild horses after 4-6 weeks of training, whereas a beginner should spend several months training their horse.

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No matter your level of experience, all wild horses will go through the same basic stages of training. The four stages are green break, break, well break, and dead break. A horse that does not receive any training is called an unbroken horse. Below, we have explained some of the key differences between each stage.

1. broken green

A broken green horse, also called a mute, has just started its training. It will learn the basics, such as carrying a rider and learning basic cues for walking, stopping, and turning.

2. Bankrupt

A broken horse has experience with its rider and knows many different foot and voice commands. A novice shouldn’t ride a broken horse, but someone with a lot of experience might be able to handle it. Even though they are learning, broken horses still need practice and should not be ridden in public.

3. Well Broken

A horse with a broken bone is more used to its riders and may even be ridden by those with less experience. While a green or broken horse will be more unpredictable, you can trust that a broken horse will listen to your commands. You’ll find bankrupt horses on par with domesticated horses in terms of their level of training.

4. Dead Bankrupt

A broken dead horse has reached the highest level of training of any horse, including domesticated horses. Some horses may never reach this level of training. A dead broken horse is very safe and patient and not easily frightened, meaning that anyone can ride it.


Final Thoughts

Wild horses can be tamed, but training these animals is not a job for just anyone. First of all, you may have to go through the Bureau of Land Management adoption process to get your hands on a wild Mustang in the United States. Once you’ve bought your horse, you’ll need to be patient as your horse will get used to riding, carrying a rider, and learning leg and vocal commands. Since you will be spending so much time with your horse, you can expect to develop a bond that you may not have with other horses. As a result, the process of taming wild horses can be a very rewarding experience if you have the time and patience to dedicate to the task.

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