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Wild Horses by State 2024

Wild Horses by State 2024

Does the United States Have Any Wild Horses?

Hundreds of years ago, there were a lot of animals that used to roam the plains of the United States. Lots of people are familiar with wild buffaloes, but there were actually a lot of wild horses in the United States as well. Now, since the arrival of European settlers and the buildup of modern civilization, there aren't nearly as many wild horses scattered throughout the United States. At the same time, there are some wild horses left. In general, wild horses are called Mustangs, but they are also referred to as feral horses. Even though there are not a lot of wild horses left in the United States, there are still some areas where you can see wild horses.

What Is the Definition of a Wild Horse?

According to the United States government, wild horses are horses that are free-roaming, unclaimed, and unbranded. Furthermore, these are horses that are generally found on public land, not private land. It is the responsibility of the Bureau of Land Management to protect and manage these wild horses, along with other public resources found on that land. The vast majority of wild horses found in the United States today are animals that descend from European explorers who arrived on the continent hundreds of years ago. These horses come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

Where Can Wild Horses Be Found in the United States?

There are approximately 10 states that have wild horses. The states with the most wild horses include California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Arizona. Many of these horses live in areas that are known as herd management areas. When compared to horses that have been domesticated, wild horses are known for their intelligence, strength, endurance, and sure-footedness. There are also opportunities for someone to adopt and domesticate a wild horse, but it is important for people to reach out to government authorities first. If people simply show up on land and start trying to catch wild horses, they could find themselves in trouble. Furthermore, wild horses can be dangerous, particularly for people who have never interacted with them in the past.

Are Wild Horses Going Extinct?

There are lots of different types of horses. In general, horses are not considered an endangered species, but some species are at a greater risk than others. In total, wild horses are becoming less common. That is because many horses are being caught and domesticated, and the available public land for them to roam is shrinking. At the same time, the horses that are caught and domesticated are not necessarily killed. Therefore, wild horses are becoming more and more unusual, but horses as a species are not going extinct. It remains to be seen what will be done with this public land in the future. If public land continues to shrink, then wild horses will not have as many resources to work with, which means that there might not be as many of them moving forward.


Much of the state of Nevada is wide open with a desert-like climate. This means that you can find wild animals everywhere throughout the states, but it can be difficult to pinpoint migrating herds at any given time given the sheer volume of space throughout the 17 counties. The most reliable place to view wild horses is in the Virginia range, which is located between Reno and Virginia City. The range is home to 2000 wild mustangs that come in all shapes and sizes.

The large mustangs fueled the Free-Roaming Wild Horses and Burros Act of 1971 as a result of the protest made by Velma Johnston. The horses were previously captured, hunted, or disturbed to take them as trophies, sell them, or put them to work. Currently, the horses have been left to roam free and multiply as it is illegal to disturb them in their natural state of being. The trail east of Reno on the Virginia range is the most probable place to see the Mustangs, and many tours offer their services to take you to the best spots.


Arizona, similarly to Nevada, has vast open spaces of desert-like climate - and horses can usually be found everywhere throughout the state. One key difference is that Arizona was home to the famous Salt River horses, which were almost hunted, captured, or chased away to extinction. Advocates have banded together in an outcry to protect and preserve the wild horses, and they have been preserved in Tonto National Forest. Although it is a rare sighting, travelers can sometimes find Salt River horses grazing on eelgrass on the banks of the Salt River, including Blue Point, Pebble Beach, and Coon Bluff.

Other States With Wild Horses

Other states that have wild horse populations are located in the same geographic area. The western part of the United States provides the correct climate for wild horse herds. Wild horses can be found in California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.

Wild Horses by State 2024

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Wild Horses by State 2024