Move the Wild Horses to

Eastern Kansas & Oklahoma

If we truly want wild horses the WH & B Act of 1971 needs to be repealed and replaced with reality based legislation.  After the Pueblo revolt of 1680 horses quickly spread through Texas, into Oklahoma and on to Kansas providing many of the horses that Native Americans spread through Utah, the snake River plain and into the Columbia basin by the late 1600s to early 1700s.  Horses had spread North through the plains states into Canada by the late 1700’s.   Texas was even supplying horses to settlers east of the Mississippi by 1800.  In the 1790s Philip Nolan was bringing horses out of Texas and selling them in Louisiana and Tennessee.

The early explorers report seeing scattered herds of horses numbering in the thousands when traveling through Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.  In contrast, explorers through the rest of the West tell about seeing horses numbering in the hundreds with most belonging to the various Indian tribes who often needed a steady stream of horses from the South to meet their needs.  

From the WH & B Program website:  In a book titled The Mustangs (1952) by J. Frank Dobie, the historian noted that no scientific estimate of wild horse numbers was made in the 19th century or early 20th century.  He went on to write: "All guessed numbers are mournful to history.  My own guess is that at no time were there more than a million mustangs in Texas and no more than a million others scattered over the remainder of the West."

With large numbers of horses in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and California only a relevantly small number of horses were scattered through the rest of the West, with no horses in the Great Basin.  It would be almost 200 years after the Pueblo revolt of 1680 before settlers began bringing horses to the Great Basin where 80% of todays wild horses are.

Clearly Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas is where great numbers of wild horses ran free.  And that is where they need returned to.  Grasslands are a horses natural habitat, not a desert. The WH & B Program has already placed tens of thousands of horses on pasture in Kansas and Oklahoma. These pastures are capable of supporting large numbers of horses just as they did over 300 years ago.

Placing the horses back in the grasslands that can support large numbers of horses will go a long way toward solving the problem of loss of genetic diversity and inbreeding in the WH & B Program.  It will also become feasible to administer birth control through darting mares.  Removing excess horses will be much simpler and less expensive.  With the right pastures and set up horses could be managed with minimal disruption.

The adoption programs, Mustang makeover, and other programs could be continued with less than 10,000 head of horses while maintaining genetic diversity.  The horses will be right at home on the grasslands.  Removing the horses from the Great Basin and placing them in there makes good horse sense for the horses, for the program and for the public.

People enjoy viewing the Mustangs and watching them run and play.  People enjoy watching the herds develop, taking pictures of and naming the horses.  Unobtrusive tours and viewing points could be set up allowing all Americans the wild horse experience.

The WH & B Act of 1971 was made to fail.  If Congress will spend the money, and the wild horse advocates will stop interfering and allow the wild horses to be properly managed the WH & B Act of 1971, even though it goes against nature, could struggle on.  I sincerely doubt that either group will be willing to face reality and make the needed concessions.  So instead let’s use horse sense, face reality and start a new program putting the horses back in the grasslands where they belong.

Copyright © 2016-2019 Gerald Miller. All Rights Reserved.

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