Spanish Mustangs in the Great American West


Hard Bound Edition of John S. Hockensmith’s illustrated history of the Spanish American Mustang

9 1/2 x 12 1/4 inches

Click here to see sample pages in this book. (PDF)

Visit Hockensmith’s (Spanish) American Mustang collection of prints and canvases.


Horses are an integral part of the American experience, so tied with the development of the nation and its psyche that it is impossible to imagine our history —or our lives today— without them. Before the arrival of the early Spanish explorers, horses had been missing from the North American continent for millennia due to a phenomenon that still eludes explanation. In this magical alchemy of the past with the present, celebrated equine photographer John S. Hockensmith analyzes how the return of horses with the conquistadors forever changed both the native cultures and the subsequent development of the country that would become the most powerful in the world.

Stunning photographs of modern horses that display the distinctive traits of their Spanish, Arab, and Barb forebears enliven the pages with vivid color. Captured visually in the rugged Rocky Mountains and the rolling grassy plains of the West as well as the remote reaches of Oklahoma’s hills, these horses are our shared legacy. From the tender private moments between mares and foals to the aggressive determination of clashing stallions, Hockensmith throws open a breathtaking window on the vista of these horses’ lives as well as the sweeping panoramas that they inhabit. The sagas of conquistadors, Indians, mountain men explorers, and cowboys all were carried on the backs of these horses’ ancestors who did as much to shape the story of America as any group of humans. A wealth of maps and relics spanning several centuries, including renderings of horses on rock canyon walls by natives who saw them as mystical beings, adds further embroidery to this rich tapestry of the Mustang heritage.

With an ongoing emotional debate about the future of America’s wild horses, many of which trace their ancestry back to the Spanish steeds and early Mustangs, this work will stand as a significant marker on the mutual path traveled by horse and human.

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