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The Sulphur Springs Mustang
Sulphurs Chance owned by Erin Gray

Sulphur Springs Mustangs.

The North American continent was the birthplace of the horse. Equus Caballus grew strong and multiplied on the vast, rich prairies . But for reasons still unknown the horse disappeared from this continent around 10,000 years ago. When the Spanish Conquistadors arrived on the shores of the New World they did not come alone. They brought with them some of the finest horses the world had ever seen. The horse had returned.

The Sulphur Springs Mustang
Chief owned by Kathy Campbell

The Spanish raised their horses in a semi-wild state and it was these horses that gave birth to the vast herds of mustangs that roamed the American West.

The mustang of today has very little, if any, Spanish links as most are the results of domestic stock escaping or being turned loose.

But not the Sulphur herd.

High in the remote juniper covered valleys of Utah's Mountain Home Range a herd of Spanish horses has survived with little to no outside influence. They are believed to be one of the purest herds of Spanish horses left in America.

Research being conducted into these horses has so far confirmed that they are indeed of Spanish descent. Dr. Gus Cothran, director of the Equine Blood Typing Research Laboratory at the University of Kentucky wrote, after testing blood samples from the herd, " that the Sulphur Herd in general appears to have strong Spanish links."

The Sulphur Springs Mustang
Anhur Maximus " Max " owned by Cammie Seferovich

The Sulphur Springs Mustang
Rizada owned by Danna Miyamoto

German author Hardy Oelke has done extensive research into these horses. Proving, through Mitrochondrial Dna tests, the link between the Iberian Sorraia and the Sorraia Mustangs of North America.


The Old Spanish trail was an early trade route linking Los Angeles , California to Santa Fe , New Mexico. Blankets from New Mexico and fur from Utah was traded in California for Spanish horses and mules. The Old Spanish Trail became well know for the many horses that were stolen along its route. In 1840 the most daring horse stealing raid to ever occur took place. A Ute Indian chief and a one- legged mountain man raided the missions of southern California of their most prized horses. More than 3000 horses were stolen and driven north into Utah. It is from these horses and others brought to Utah both legally and illegally that the Sulphur herd is thought to have originated.

The Sulphur Springs Mustang
Rocky ( grullo color ) owned by Kathy Campbell


The Sulphur Springs Mustang
Rizada owned by Danna Miyamoto showing the zebra stripes on her legs
The Sulphur horses have retained many of the characteristics of the Iberian Sorraia, the primitive ancestor of the Iberian Saddle Horse. They are strikingly beautiful horses usually of dun, grullo( mouse gray ) and red dun coloration with dorsal stripes along their backs and strong zebra stripes on their legs.

These strong primitive markings have earned the herd the nickname " Utah's Zebra Horses". Compact in size ( around 14.2 hh ) these horses are extremely easy keepers. Very agile and possessing tremendous endurance they are proving themselves in the competitive arenas.

The Sulphur Springs Mustang
Anhur Maximus " Max " owned by Cammie Seferovich showing his dorsal stripe
The Sulphur Springs Mustang
Rizada owned by Danna Miyamoto showing the cobweb marks on her head

Generations of fending for themselves in some of the West's harshest conditions has created a horse with rock solid legs, a sound mind, and feet of steel. It is these traits along with the Sulphur's wonderful temperament that are winning the hearts of those that come into contact with this breed.

The Sulphur Springs Mustang
Anhur Maximus " Max " owned by Cammie Seferovich

This article and the accompanying photographs were kindly provided by Danna Miyamoto, owner of Sundance Sulphurs.

Please click here to learn more about the Sulphur Springs Mustang

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