My Mustang Isn’t Who I Thought She Was

Have you ever used genetic testing to research your horse’s ancestry? Find out how a DNA test offered Alayne some surprise answers to questions about her BLM mustang’s ancestry.

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My Mustang Mare Isn
Stellar in lucky Pen 13 with the older mares. | Photo: Alayne Blickle

What a surprise!  My mustang isn’t who I thought she was.

Stellar is my mustang. I adopted her late last summer, or rather she adopted me.

I am a volunteer member of a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) District’s Resource Advisory Council, a committee that meets regularly to learn about issues and actions the BLM district is facing. As committee members, we do research and provide input.  Early last summer, as part of that committee, I toured a new BLM off-range holding facility for wild horses in Bruneau, Idaho. It’s a well thought-out, well-designed facility for holding horses too old for adoption or otherwise less likely to be adopted–nearly 3,000 of them. The intent is to hold them there until they can be sent to long-term holding facilities back East.The tour was quite interesting and as we were going along it was only natural for me to admire the horses, so many nice-looking ones with good conformation. That’s when I saw Stellar, in lucky Pen 13 which held all older mares. I was struck by her kind, calm eye and beautiful long mane all in dreadlocks. As I reached out to touch her, I realized she wasn’t frightened of me like most wild horses. I touched her face, tentatively at first, then her ears, neck, and shoulders. She stood next to the fence with her eyes half-closed, craving attention as I scratched her withers

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Written by:

Alayne Blickle, a lifelong equestrian and ranch riding competitor, is the creator/director of Horses for Clean Water, an award-winning, internationally acclaimed environmental education program for horse owners. Well-known for her enthusiastic, down-to-earth approach, Blickle is an educator and photojournalist who has worked with horse and livestock owners since 1990 teaching manure composting, pasture management, mud and dust control, water conservation, chemical use reduction, firewise, and wildlife enhancement. She teaches and travels North America and writes for horse publications. Blickle and her husband raise and train their mustangs and quarter horses at their eco-sensitive guest ranch, Sweet Pepper Ranch, in sunny Nampa, Idaho.

10 Responses

  1. That was amazing! Stella is a beautiful little mare. Driving would be the best for her, in my opinion, she looks like the type for it.

  2. re: My Mustang Isn’t Who I Thought She Was

    The test you ran is not really a breed test, but one showing most common characteristics.  While the man you spoke to talked about the results mentioned these breeds being imported into the US, he failed to mention that many, many US horses were i

  3. re: My Mustang Isn’t Who I Thought She Was

    Hi, I am also looking to adopt a BLM mustang in North Carolina in April at their adoption fair. Can you please tell us more about what to expect? What the training differences between them and a domesticated horse are. What type of feed to I need to ge

  4. re: My Mustang Isn’t Who I Thought She Was

    What a nice mare and an even nicer story!  Thank you for sharing this.  I hope you will continue to write about your journey with Stellar.

  5. re: My Mustang Isn’t Who I Thought She Was

    Not surprised by your findings as most feral horses are descendants of military and ranch work stock turned out for the off-season and never re-gathered when mechanization took over. Also, desperate horse owners have been known to turn out horses they

  6. re: My Mustang Isn’t Who I Thought She Was

    Spain is in Europe. There are horses native to the US. The  Conquistadors brought horses to the Americas and horses escaped.

    The only reason people speak Spanish on a large scale in Mexico and South America is because the Spanish dominated

  7. re: My Mustang Isn’t Who I Thought She Was

    I am not surprised that Stellar has some harness horse in her – they tend to be long-backed and Stellar certainly looks long-backed.  What a lucky mare she is to have found you.

  8. re: My Mustang Isn’t Who I Thought She Was

    I loved your story about how Stellar chose YOU. I would not be the least bit surprised if she is a medicine horse. There definitely is a loving kind of energy about her. I’m certain you are already aware of it!

  9. re: My Mustang Isn’t Who I Thought She Was

    I understand that you mean you were surprised her ancestors were mainly used for driving rather than performances with the flashy mane, but in reply to your last paragraph, Spain IS part of Europe.

    It is well believed that mustangs came from Sp

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