|Historical Article Found !
This 1966 article was published in the Frontier Times magazine.
The author, Leo Gaudreau, interviewed Bob & Ferdie Brislawn,
at the time they resided in Finley, OK.
I've taken the text exactly as it was written.
|The Spanish Barb
A medicine hat cow pony out of overo
pintos, brought from the Crow reservation
in 1925 by Charles & Dick Williams.
Queenie has a blue roan bonnet &
markings, four white feet & is glass eyed.
|The horseman who has not delved into the
history of the mustang has deprived
himself of hours of exciting reading,
for the part this horse plays in equine history
is totally unique. Perhaps my life-long enthusiasm for
mustangs is blinding me to reality
that, in spite of the affection that some
of us hold for these hardy horses, there may never be an important
re-population of them.
But then, who knows ?
Take the case of the appaloosa, for instance.
Much water has flowed under the bridges,
& many leaves have dropped from the trees
since the vast Appaloosa herds
of the Nez Perce were scattered,
following the Indian's defeat in the war of 1877.
Yet, sixty years later, in 1987,a magazine article
inspired successful efforts to bring about a
re-population of the Appaloosa breed
Hunting "mustangs" or hunting "wild horses"
is considered synonymous; common
usages has dictated this.
When the "Wild Horse Act" was signed,
during the Eisenhower Administration
(a law to protect the wild horses of the westernplains from
extinction), students of horse evolution, argued that there had
not been a wild horse in this country in 10,000 years.
that the last was the Ice Age Horse.
The correct word is "feral". This denotes a descendant of a
once-domesticated animal which escaped the control of human
(or was abandoned) to live in a state of nature.
Dr. George Gaylord Simpson, anauthority on wild horses,
Agassiz professor of Harvard's Museum of Contemporary Zoology,
said, "Every time one leaps the pasture fence and goes
native, you've got a feral horse but it's wrong to call him wild." In
of preaching will ever substitute the word feral for the more
accepted term, wild.
Pine & American Horse told Bob Brislawn,
they rode this kind of Cheyenne Indian
Yellow Fox has run the hide
off Arabians & QH's
|Anyone living in San Juan Bautista, California or
visiting there, can follow the spread of the horse in
North America by going to the Plaza Hotel, now a museum,
and studying its large charted wall map.
The old hotel used to be a stage stop back in 1868.
The map shows initial landings of horses from Spain
in 1493, from England in 1620, from Sweden in 1629
(and again from England),
from Flanders in 1660, and from France in 1665:
The spread of Spanish horses is indicated by arrows, dates
and areas. Mustangs are not the horses running loose on the
prairies that finally end up as canned dog-food.
Pure mustangs were common until about 1900.
By 1920 they were scarce and by the late 1920s only a few
relatively pure mustangs existed in remote places.
In 1920 I was sixteen years old and carrying on
a correspondence with Bat Masterson
while he was working on New York Morning Telegraph.
He was teaching me the fast-draw by mail.
His death about a year later caused me some concern,
but not nearly as much as what I believed to be
the completeextinction of my beloved mustangs.
I wish I had become acquainted with the brothers Breaslain,
Robert and Ferdinand (presently of Finley, Oklahoma)back
in the Twenties. I did not know them (principally Bob) until
many years later. Since the late 1920s they have been carefully
gathering a foundation of the purest Spanish mustangs
available on this continent.
On June 14, 1956, at Sundance, Crook County, Wyoming,
an Association was established for the North American
equivalent of the Criollo of South America-the mustang,
mostly of Spanish Barb ancestry.
Can a mustang be recognized by appearance or color? I can't
think of a better authority to answer that than Bob Breaslain.
"I am over seventy years of age and most of my life
I have been using Spanish and Indian ponies.
Yet I cannot tell one just by looks.
These Spanish mustangs should not be
confused with the wild horses of today.
Those could be any breed, or mixed breed.
A friend of ours ran wild horses in
Nevada in the winter of 1954-55.
He said the ones he trapped were a
wild bunch of hot bloods, and another
bunch was of good Arab strain
that had got away and gone wild.
The same is true elsewhere in one way or another.
"As far as color is concerned," Bob informed me,
"they run the gamut of rainbow colors-solid colors,
duns, roans, and
pintos of both kinds (overo and tobianos),
plus true buckskins, white, black, Ysabella, and
Color by itself does not matter too much,
especially if a pinto is black and white;
where there was one pinto forty
years ago, there are forty today,
and thirty nine of these
will carry English pony blood.
As far as I am concerned, pintos, paints,
Ysabellas, Appaloosies, buckskins,
duns, and grullos are all just color phases
of the Barb, or Spanish Barb.
The Ysabellas (Palominos) are also called
California Sorrels, as they originated in
Spain and were brought by
early Spaniards to the Missions in California."
As far as size is concerned, Bob had the following
information to convey: "These ponies are from 12 ½ to
14 ½ hands; generally they run to 14 hands,
and weigh from 725 to 800 pounds.
They are rugged and can be used for riding,
driving, and they are surely one of the best
Next to the little Spanish mule they
come first as a pack horse.
I was a packer for the U.S. Topographical Survey
for thirty years and need these ponies all the time.
When it comes to cow sense, and horse sense too,
I go along with the famous man who said they are
smarter than a tree of owls."
The Breaslains have five Medicine Hat mares and a
Medicine Hat stallion (San Domingo). The blood in these
war horses still run wild, hot and free.
The ponies have different colored bonnets and markings,
some being red, black, blue, purple, or tan, but always roanish.
They are called "War Bonnets" or "War Paints" by the whites.
The Medicine Hat was the war horse of most of the Plains
Indians, especially the Sioux, Cheyenne, Blackfeet and
last, but not least, the Comanches.
Of divine origin (each one a mustang), the Medicine Hat
is sacred, rare, and meant only to be used by untamed spirits.
Horse and rider then become spiritually attached, ranging
heaven and earth unbounded. The Comanche warrior was
invulnerable if riding in battle on a Medicine Hat-arrow or
rifle ball could not touch the Kiowa mounted on one of these
ponies-a War Paint was Blackfeet big medicine.
The Medicine Hat was made immortal by the early Western
Charles M. Russell's "When Sioux and Blackfeet Meet";
Frederic Remington's "Caught in the Circle";
William R. Leigh's in the Grand Central Art Galleries, New
York, "The Master Hand," showing a Plains Indian on a
Medicine Hat chasing wild horses;
Chales Schreyvogel's "The Silenced War Whoop."
In fact, in most Indian scenes of the West, one or more
Medicine Hats are shown. A photograph taken by
John W. Wilson in 1871 shows Chief Looking Glass (Nez Perce')
on a Medicine Hat. The Brislains (Spanish Mustang Registry)
hope to restore and perpetuate these War Horses, as they
are a valuable part of our heritage.
The Spanish Mustang Registry, Inc., was established as a
non-profit corporation. It's three directors are
Robert E. Breaslain, Sr., president; Robert E. Brealain, Jr.,
vice-president; and Lawrence P. Richards, Ph.D., Idaho State
Many people write to the Registry hoping their pony is a
Spanish mustang. Traits, size, characteristics, conformation,
and color are required points of information, but the Registry
needs any information you can supply about the history of the
horse. Was your pony from an Indian reservation herd? Was
it caught feral (wild) in a rough, isolated spot? What sort of
horses were in the same herd, or other herds nearby where the
horse was captured? Were any ponies in the vicinity of capture
claimed by natives to be authentic Spanish or Indian ponies?
If bought in a sale ring, give history of dam and
sire. Explain why you believe it is Spanish, within the limits
of just and reasonable probability.
The Breaslains are breeders of Spanish mustangs. They have
two studs by a Spanish mustang stallion. The stallion was
trapped in Utah in 1927 at the age of three by Monty Holbrook,
a professional mustanger. A pure-bred Ute Indian sorrel mare
was their mother.
The old stallion was a true bucksin under 14 hands, with all
the primitive markings: wide dorsal strip, zebra or finger legs,
small snipped ear, and the dark cross of the Christ burro over
the withers. This old stallion went back to the wilds in Southern
Idaho at the age of 18, taking several thoroughbred mares and
two Spanish pinto mares along with him.
Both of the studs are under 14 hands. One is an orange dun
and the other is a grullo. They have dark skin and practically
all of the colts are duns of some sort with all of the primitive
or Spanish markings. Occasionally there is a blood bay, brown,
To start with the Breaslains had a few small authentic mares
brought to Crook County, Wyoming, from the Crow reservation
in Montana, by Charles and Dick Williams in August, 1925.
Later, they managed to pick up two Spanish mares from
New Mexico, a small buckskin Spanish mare from across the
Mexican border, five grullo mares and one true buckskin mare
from stock that Holbrook had been keeping pure since 1930.
The Wyoming Kid (Bob Breaslain, 76 years old), said, "Now, we
have some nice authentic Spanish stock. These ponies of ours
are very likely descendants of the Spanish ponies brought in
by the Spaniards, about 1600, when Santa Fe, New Mexico, was
in its first bloom. We like to have people come to visit us
and see these ponies."
The Spanish Mustang Registry is interested in pure Spanish
blood-lines. The Registry is not interested in ribbons and show
horses. The different colors, wide dorsal stripes, zebra markings,
dishface, glass eyes, benched hind legs, pink skin, and Roman
nose, all come from the Barb, Arabian and Spanish
horse. They are taken as they come, for the mustang as
Charles M. Russell said, ".is God made and God given,
therefore the best."
The mustang, and the longhorn breed of cattle
(the rainbow cattle) are about as Western as anything could be.
When the spirit of the mustang dies, pure blood will not save
Spirit gone, he will wither and die. The protecting of the heart
of the mustang is the purpose of the Registry, and the
Asociacion de las Cimarrones. Only a Cimarrone should ride
or own a mustang.
Anyone wishing to contact the Spanish Mustang Registry can
do so by writing to: Kitty Ui Breaslian, Box 142, Finley,
or Cayuse Ranch, Oshoto, Wyoming. The Registry has only one
goal, ".to preserve some of the last remnants of the mustang
by registering some of the finer and better authenticated
animals, and from these to perpetuate the mustang for
There are about 110 mustangs registered at present. These
are from several states, and it is now a certainty that the
mustang can be restored without
resorting to inbreeding.
|Map published in "The Appaloosa Horse"
Appaloosa Horse Club Stud Book & Registry, 1952
|Bob Brislawn & San Domingo
A medicine hat stallion
|War Bonnet filly owned by
|Charles M Russell's
"When Sioux And Blackfeet Meet"
"The Silenced War Whoop"
Monty x Bally
Monty x Bally
|Young longhorn cow.
She is a direct descendent
of the Cap Yates stock
|This handsome chap is also a Yates bred
Bull. He's branded WR 1125
Photo Credit: Weldon Merchant