Wild Horses: Journey to the New World
Mustangs and Humans
JOURNEY TO THE NEW WORLD
To protect horses being carried in ships, slings were constructed to allow the horses to swing with the roll of the ship and to take the weight off their feet. Confinement in damp, dark holds and lack of exercise took its toll on equine emigrants. Sometimes, half of the horses died enroute to America.
That section of the Atlantic Ocean known as the "Horse Latitudes" gained its name from the sad fact that innumerable dead horses were thrown overboard during these early voyages of colonization. Horse transport between the Old and New Worlds remained a great hazard until only recently. Records from the 1800s tell of the frequent death of valuable horses, lost to the stormy Atlantic.
Bringing Horses Ashore
When a ship anchored off the coast of the New World, the horses that survived the voyage were brought out of their stalls in the ship's hold. In order to prevent the horses from panicking, they were blindfolded and carefully raised from below deck by hoists attached to slings surrounding the horses' bodies. In these early days before wharves were built, the horses were lowered into the water and made to swim ashore, led by men in row boats.
MUSTANGS AND HUMANS