Mustang horses are descendants of escaped, domestic Spanish horses that were brought to the Americas by Spanish explorers in the 16th century. The name is derived from the Spanish words “mestengo” and “mostrenco” — meaning “wild or masterless cattle,” according to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

Mustangs are not technically wild horses because they came from a domesticated population, and so the mustangs living in the wild are considered feral, according to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). They can be found roaming free across the western United States but are also kept by humans in captivity and ridden like other horses. Mustangs have muscular bodies and hard hooves, which makes them suitable for scouting and trail riding, according to Horse Canada, a government-run equine website.