14 Feb Quincentennial of the Return of the Horse to North America
Five hundred years ago, Conquistador Hernán Cortés first brought the horse to mainland North America to aide in his search for gold in the interior of Mexico. Cortés brought 16 horses with him on that journey and established the settlement of Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz (now known as Veracruz, Mexico). Cortés spread the Spanish influence throughout Mexico largely due to his company’s ability to rely on horses for quicker advancement and supply replenishment.
Over the next several decades, more settlers came from Spain through the islands to Mexico, using horses to explore and settle further north. Ranches were established to breed and care for the horses used for continued exploration of the continent. From these horses descended the true American Mustang that still roams the western United States. Today’s American Mustangs carry with them the historical lifeblood of our continent – the heartbeat of the West and the raw soul of continued exploration.