How Much is a Mustang Horse: Comprehensive Price Guide

Are you wondering “How much is a Mustang horse?” Look no further! In this comprehensive price guide, we’ll break down the costs associated with buying and owning a Mustang horse, so you can make an informed decision. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned equestrian, this guide is a must-read.

Mustang Horse Overview

Real American wild mustang horse

The Mustang is a feral horse breed that belongs to the Equidae family and the Equus genus. These wild horses are known for their hardy and stocky bodies, which make them an ideal choice for trail riding and ranch work. The American Mustang is descended from Spanish horses brought to North America during European colonization.

History and Origin

The history of the Mustang dates back hundreds of years, when Spanish explorers and settlers introduced their horses to the American continents. Over time, these horses escaped or were released into the wild and began to breed with other feral horses. The Mustang we know today is the result of generations of horse breeds intermingling, ultimately forming the distinct characteristics associated with the name.

As a result of this mixing of bloodlines, Mustang horses can vary considerably in size and appearance. Generally, they stand between 14 to 15 hands tall, which is equivalent to 56 to 60 inches (140 to 150 centimeters). They typically have strong, muscular bodies, narrow yet well-defined chests, short backs, and rounded hindquarters. Well-adapted to the arid conditions of the western United States, Mustangs are known for their endurance and resilience.

Over the years, the Mustang population has waxed and waned – at times the breed faced the brink of extinction. However, through conservation efforts and careful management, the current wild population has stabilized, ensuring the continuation of this iconic American horse.

In conclusion, the Mustang is a unique breed of horse whose roots can be traced back to the European introduction of Spanish horses into North America. Their hardy nature makes them a popular choice for working animals, but their background as a feral variety also carries with it the romantic notion of freedom and untamed spirit. A symbol of the American West, the Mustang embodies the essence of adaptability and perseverance.

Physical Characteristics

American wild mustang horses playing

The Mustang horse exhibits a diverse range of physical characteristics due to the varied ancestry of its domestic breeds. In this section, we will explore the size and height, color and patterns, and conformation of these magnificent horses.

Size and Height

Mustangs can differ significantly in size and height, with some appearing smaller and stockier, while others may have a more dainty appearance. Typically, they stand between 14 and 15 hands tall, which is equivalent to 56 to 60 inches (140 to 150 cm) [source]. The size of a Mustang can be influenced by various factors such as their lineage and the availability of forage in their habitat.

Color and Patterns

Mustang horses display a wide variety of coat colors and patterns. Some common colors include black, bay, dun, palomino, gray, and chestnut, with some Mustangs even exhibiting spotted patterns [source]. The diversity in color and patterns can be attributed to the mixed ancestry of these horses, making each Mustang unique.


The Mustang’s conformation, or body shape and structure, can vary greatly due to their diverse pedigree. Generally, these horses have well-proportioned bodies, neither too lanky nor overly stout [source]. Their weight typically ranges from 800 pounds up to 1000 pounds [source]. This broad spectrum of physical traits not only contributes to their resilience in the wild but also makes them versatile and adaptable for various equestrian activities.

Breeds and Types

When talking about Mustang horses, it is essential to examine the different breeds and types that populate the American landscape. These horses, which are descendants of the Spanish equines brought to the Americas in the 1500s, have developed into various strains that adapted to their specific environments. They are not considered wild horses but rather feral, as they are descended from once-domesticated animals.

Kiger Mustang

The Kiger Mustang is a breed that is known for its stunning appearance and strong athleticism. With a distinct coloration, often presenting as a dun or grullo, these horses have unique primitive markings such as zebra stripes on the legs and a dorsal stripe down the back. Originating from southeastern Oregon, Kiger Mustangs are renowned for their endurance and adaptability to a wide range of environments.

Spanish Mustang

The Spanish Mustang is another breed with strong ties to its Iberian ancestors. With a compact and sturdy body, these horses are highly versatile and have been used for various tasks such as working cattle and endurance riding. The Spanish Mustangs stand between 13.2 and 15 hands high and exhibit a wide range of colors, including rare shades like silver and pearl.

Colonial Spanish Mustang

The Colonial Spanish Mustang is a subgroup of the Spanish Mustang, known for its refined appearance and smooth gaits. Typically found on the East Coast of the United States, these horses played an essential role in the early settlements of the Americas. They are often smaller than the other mustang types, but they are still highly prized for their agility and spirit.

Cerbat Mustang

The Cerbat Mustang hails from the Cerbat Mountains of northwestern Arizona. Known for their strong build and resilience, these horses have an adaptable nature and are capable of surviving in harsh desert conditions. Cerbat Mustangs typically have a refined head, compact body, and a sleek, shiny coat. They are used for various activities, such as trail riding, ranch work, and even competitive events.

Pryor Mountain Mustang

Found in the Pryor Mountains of Montana and Wyoming, the Pryor Mountain Mustang is known for its distinct dun and grullo colorations, similar to the Kiger Mustang. These horses are well adapted to rocky terrain and have a loyal and gentle temperament, making them highly sought-after by horse enthusiasts. Their unique gait, called the Indian Shuffle, distinguishes them from other Mustang horse breeds.

Chincoteague Pony

The Chincoteague Pony is a breed native to the barrier islands of Virginia and Maryland. These horses are smaller than other mustang types, often standing around 12 to 13 hands high. Despite their petite size, they make hardy, pack and riding animals. Chincoteague Ponies exhibit a variety of colors, with pinto patterns being the most common. They are famous for their annual swim from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island, a tradition that has captivated visitors for decades.

Behavior and Temperament

American wild mustang horses on the mountain side

When considering the behavior and temperament of a Mustang horse, it is important to understand that these horses exhibit a wide range of traits. Mustangs, known for their durability and strong survival instincts, often display excellent adaptability and a spirited, yet manageable demeanor.

Many Mustangs, once trained, prove to be trustworthy trail companions due to their innate hardiness and intelligence. They are often appreciated for their ability to handle difficult terrain and maintain a calm disposition under challenging circumstances. Additionally, Mustangs typically show a high level of trainability, which adds to their appeal as trail and pleasure riding partners.

Their docility, an important factor for potential owners, may vary depending on the individual horse’s background and training history. While some Mustangs might initially appear reactive or spooky, with proper guidance and care, they often develop into reliable and level-headed companions. Their trainable nature enhances their suitability for various equestrian disciplines, including dressage, trail competitions, and jumping.

In summary, the behavior and temperament of a Mustang horse can greatly influence their suitability as a riding partner or competitor. With adequate training and understanding of their unique characteristics, these versatile horses can become exceptional companions, offering a perfect combination of resilience, adaptability, and trainability.

Living Environment and Care

Portrait of three mustang horses in sunset

The Mustang horse, a symbol of the American West, has adapted to thrive in the Western United States’ diverse and rugged landscapes. To maintain their health and well-being, proper living environment and care are crucial for these resilient animals.

Feeding and Diet

Mustangs are opportunistic feeders that primarily graze on shrubs and grasses found in their natural habitat. When in captivity, it is essential to provide them with an appropriate diet. Plan on offering Mustangs 2-2.5% of their body weight per day in harvested hay. (source) Also, ensure that they have access to plenty of fresh water to keep them hydrated.

Be aware that if a Mustang is turned loose in a well-planted pasture, the horse is likely to gorge on the available vegetation. Therefore, it is essential to manage the grazing time and pasture to prevent overeating and maintain a balanced diet for the horse.

Vaccinations and Health Issues

Just like any other horse breed, Mustangs require regular vaccinations to protect them against various diseases. Vaccination schedules include shots for equine encephalitis, tetanus, rabies, and equine herpesvirus, among others. Consult with a veterinarian to develop a vaccination plan tailored to your horse’s needs and local endemic diseases.

Additionally, Mustangs should undergo routine deworming and dental care. Proper dental care involves checking for sharp edges, uneven wear, and any other dental issues that may interfere with their ability to properly chew and process food.

Farrier and Hoof Care

Regular farrier visits are essential for maintaining a Mustang’s hoof health. Hooves should be trimmed and checked for any signs of injury, infection, or abnormal growth. A professional farrier will ensure that the horse’s hooves are properly taken care of to prevent lameness and other hoof-related issues.(source)

Boarding and Facilities

Mustangs require a comfortable living environment to thrive. When providing boarding and facilities for these horses, prioritize their social nature and ensure they have ample space to interact with other horses.

Choose a facility that focuses on the specific needs of Mustang horses, such as ample pasture space for grazing, clean stalls, and secure fencing. A well-maintained facility will provide a safe and comfortable environment for the Mustangs and help prevent potential health issues.

Training and Activities

Dark Brown American Wild Mustang Horse Running

Mustang horses are versatile and adaptable animals, suitable for various equestrian activities. Training a Mustang requires patience, time, and consistency. With proper training, they can excel in natural horsemanship training, dressage and showing, and trail riding. Let’s explore each of these activities in more detail.

Natural Horsemanship Training

Natural horsemanship training focuses on building a strong bond between the horse and its trainer. It relies on understanding and working with the horse’s natural instincts, rather than forcing them into submission. This gentle approach is particularly suitable for Mustangs, as they are intelligent and sensitive animals that develop strong connections with their human counterparts. Consistent handling is essential during this process, as Mustangs can revert to their feral nature if not worked with regularly.

Dressage and Showing

Although not commonly associated with dressage and showing, Mustangs can develop the skills needed to succeed in these disciplines. With their natural athleticism and smooth gaits, they can become graceful performers in the dressage arena. However, their success in showing largely depends on the quality of their training and the dedication of their trainers. Trainers must invest at least an hour a day to help these horses reach their potential in these areas.

Trail Riding

Mustangs are renowned for their stamina and endurance, making them fantastic trail-riding companions. Their sure-footedness and agility enable them to navigate diverse terrains with ease. These attributes, combined with their low-maintenance nature, make them a popular choice for recreational and competitive trail riders alike. Additionally, their robustness and long lifespan (up to 40 years in the wild) mean they can be loyal trail partners for many years to come.

Apart from natural horsemanship training, dressage, and trail riding, Mustangs can also excel in other activities like ranch work. Their compact size, strength, and natural cattle sense allow them to perform tasks like herding and cutting when given proper training.

Adoption and Ownership

When considering the adoption and ownership of a Mustang horse, there are various factors to take into account, including cost, age restrictions, and available programs that assist potential horse adopters. There are several organizations and initiatives that support adopting Mustang horses.

Bureau of Land Management Programs

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plays a significant role in facilitating Mustang adoptions. Mustangs typically cost between $125 and $5,000 on average, with lower-priced animals found through BLM adoptions; trained horses start at $125, while untrained ones can be as low as $25. The BLM also offers an Adoption Incentive Program, which provides qualified adopters with up to $1,000 up to 60 days after the title date. This incentive is available for all untrained animals eligible for adoption, including animals at BLM facilities, off-site events, and the Online Corral. A $125 adoption fee applies.

Mustang Heritage Foundation Initiatives

Another organization dedicated to supporting Mustang adoption is the Mustang Heritage Foundation. Their mission involves promoting the adoption of wild Mustangs through a variety of initiatives and programs. These initiatives focus on showcasing the potential of Mustangs and connecting them with suitable adopters while emphasizing the importance of proper nutrition, veterinary, dental, and farrier care. In some cases, the Mustang Heritage Foundation may also provide financial assistance to qualified adopters.

Adoption Process

To qualify for adopting a Mustang, individuals interested in adoption must be 18 years old or above and have no record of animal abuse or violation of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Before starting the adoption process, it is essential for prospective horse owners to conduct proper research and comprehend the distinct obligations and requirements that come with owning a wild Mustang, which are different from those of domestic horses.

Typically, the adoption process includes submitting an application, attending adoption events or visiting BLM offices, and providing proper facilities for the horse’s care. Adopters should be prepared to invest time, patience, and resources in training and acclimating their adopted Mustang to its new environment. Additionally, adopters must provide proper care and demonstrate responsible animal ownership for a predetermined period before obtaining full ownership and receiving any incentive payments.

Costs and Expenses

American Wild Mustangs venutring outdoors

When looking to acquire a Mustang horse, it’s important to understand the various costs and expenses associated with ownership. This section will outline the initial adoption or purchase price, ongoing maintenance costs, and equipment and supplies needed for proper care.

Initial Adoption or Purchase Price

The average cost of a Mustang horse ranges from $125 to $5,000. Factors such as age, training, and gender can influence the cost. Mustang horses are often adopted from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), with prices starting at $125 for trained horses and $25 for untrained ones. Mustangs with a strong show record can cost between $3,000 and $15,000, and unique color combinations can also affect the price.

Horses can be adopted or purchased through various channels, such as online auctions or in-person events. The BLM occasionally holds events to adopt out Mustangs, providing potential owners with the opportunity to bid on and acquire a horse.

Ongoing Maintenance Costs

Once you have acquired a Mustang horse, there are several ongoing expenses to consider. Feeding costs, including feed, hay, and supplements, can average around $1,200 per year. Keeping the horse in a stable barn can range from $400 to $1,000 monthly, depending on the location and services provided.

Hoof care is a crucial aspect of Mustang horse maintenance, costing approximately $700 per year or $58 per month. Deworming and other healthcare expenses can add up to $150-$200 annually. Regular veterinarian check-ups and vaccinations will also contribute to the yearly maintenance costs.

Equipment and Supplies

In addition to adoption and maintenance costs, new Mustang horse owners should also budget for equipment and supplies. Items such as halters, lead ropes, grooming tools, and tack are necessary for proper care and training. The cost of these items can vary, but investing in quality gear can ensure a longer lifespan and better performance.

Protective gear like fly masks, boots, and blankets may also be required, depending on the environment and activities you plan to engage in with your horse. Additionally, purchasing a suitable trailer for transportation can be a significant expense, but is vital for attending events or relocating your Mustang horse.


In summary, the cost of a Mustang horse can range from as low as $25 for an untrained animal at lottery draw events to as high as $5,000 for those with specific training and desirable traits. The adoption cost from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) starts at $125 for trained horses and $25 for untrained ones(source).

Besides the initial purchasing price, potential owners should also consider various ongoing expenses. Keeping a Mustang in a stable barn can cost between $400 and $1,000 per month, while medical costs, including check-ups and vaccinations, could add an additional $200 annually(source). Furthermore, waste management fees may be as much as $250 a year, and annual farrier expenses often total around $700(source).

Ultimately, owning a Mustang horse involves several financial aspects beyond the animal’s initial price. It’s essential to research thoroughly and consider all necessary factors before making a decision. These beautiful and versatile creatures can provide an incredible equine experience, but their long-lasting care should not be taken lightly. It is crucial for potential Mustang horse owners to be well-prepared and knowledgeable about the responsibilities involved.