The Mustang comes from the United States of America. Running freely through the USA for decades, if not centuries, they have earned their name from Spanish roots. The word 'mesteno', which equates that something or someone is wild or that they are a stray, is where the name Mustang derived from. They have been thought of as coming to the Americas via the Conquistadors, specifically the Sorraia, Lusitano, Alter Real, and Andalusian groups. The French quickly became interested in the Mustang breed and their settlers began to utilize the animals for a means to carry items such as very heavy machinery and artillery. The US government has also expressed an interest in them, as they too have purchased their own set of Mustangs to use for government work animals. Their population grew so much so that by the twentieth century experts estimated there were at least two million of these beautiful creatures walking the Earth. Unfortunately, as time progressed, the horses were killed by some ranch owners as they simply could not afford to continue feeding them as a result of low food and shelter supplies. By the nineteen seventies, theses horses became recognized as protected by a new law, the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act in 1971.