Meet the Carter Reservoir Mustangs

A Rich Heritage

DNA testing has scientifically proven that the Carter herd carries the unique genetics linking them to the Spanish horses of the Iberian Peninsula in 16th century Europe.

100% of the Carter horses that were tested were confirmed to be of this genetically ancient Spanish-Iberian ancestry, directly tracing back 500 years to those horses brought to North America on the sailing vessels of the early Spanish explorers.


Many of the Carters have dun coloration, a hallmark of their Spanish forebears from the Iberian Peninsula. Soft reds and browns with primitive markings of striping, bands, cob webbing, face masks and shoulder capes. These primitive characteristics are both extremely eye-catching close-up, and – counterintuitively – allow them to melt into the background of their home range so easily they can be difficult to spot from a distance.

Intelligence and Trainability

Widely esteemed trainer, Ray Berta, says“These are amazing horses! I’ve had the opportunity to work with two Carter horses who came off the range as youngsters and started them both under saddle. I find them to be very intelligent, willing to work with a human, and super good-natured. They have very comfortable gaits and the talent for many different uses. I would enjoy having a Carter horse as my own personal mount.”


Protect and preserve the genetic, cultural and historical significance of America’s endangered Carter Reservoir Mustang Herd, one of the rarest and most unique mustang herds still living in the wild on the range they have roamed in North America for over 400 years. 

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They have stripes! Stripes on their legs, backs, shoulders, bellies, and elsewhere. There are very few wild mustang herds within the United States that exhibit these fascinating primitive dun characteristics as strong as the Carter Reservoir wild horse herd. 


Preservation and protection of this wild horse herd are vital to the survival of their unusual coloration and the Spanish Iberian ancestry as found through CRMI's 2015 mitochondrial DNA testing. 

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