The World of Wild Horses

http://www.flickr.com/photos/randa/ / CC BY 2.0
http://www.flickr.com/photos/randa/ / CC BY 2.0

"The most beautiful, the most spirited and the most inspiring creature ever to print foot on the grasses of America." J. Frank Dobie, Texan, said about Mustangs.

Horses are beautiful animals. Seeing Wild Horses proud and free in the open is an amazing sight. There is a lot of controversy surrounding Wild Horses in the United States, especially concerning roundups. This article will give a brief overview of the world of Wild Horses in the USA. I'm sure most people have never seen a Wild Horse. There are plenty of songs about them, and movies about them. Wild Horses are seen as a mystical link to the Old West and the freedom that America stands for.

Wild Horses

Wild Horses can be thought of as an icon for American Freedom.  According to Wikipedia, In 1971, the United States Congress recognized Mustangs as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West, which continue to contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people.”

However the ones we see today were introduced to the United States by Europeans in the 15th and 16th Centuries. Wild Horses are descendants of rebel horses who were either released or escaped to the wild. We call them Wild Horses, but these horses are actually Feral. Feral means that they are a free-roaming horse of domesticated ancestry. 

 

Wild Burros

Wild Burros also were introduced in the 15th Century. Burros most likely became wild when they were used by Gold Prospectors heading across the desert. In the desert conditions and without water, the prospectors would die of dehydration (or other causes) and the Burros (able to go without water longer) would survive.

Wild Burros are blamed in the decline of Bighorn Sheep, because they are not a natural species but use up the resources.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

According to the Bureau of Land Management's website, when it comes to the National Wild Horse and Burro Program:

"The Bureau of Land Management’s top priority is to ensure the health of the public lands so that the species depending on them – including the nation’s wild horses and burros – can thrive. To achieve that end, the BLM’s wild horse and burro program must be put on a sustainable course that benefits the animals, the land, and the American taxpayer."

With nearly 37,000 Wild Horses and Burro, the BLM is responsible for the balance between the grazing needed for the Wild Horses and Burros and for the public rangeland. They are also responsible for the survival of these horses and burros. If they are overpopulating an area then they are at the risk of starvation.

Below is a chart that shows the 2009 numbers of Wild Horses and Burros in relation to the number needed for appropriate land management levels.

FY 2009 Wild Horse and Burro Herd Populations and Appropriate Management Levels (AMLs) by State

 State
Horses 
Burros 
Total
Total AML
AZ
390 
1,967 
2,357
1,676
CA 
4,057 
895 
4,952
2,201
CO 
772 
772
812
ID
913
0
913
617
MT
195
0
195
105
NV
16,642
819
17,461
12,688
NM
114
0
114
83
OR
2,508
15
2,523
2,715
UT
2,495
142
2,637
1,956
WY
5,016
0
5,016
3,725
Total
33,102
3,838
36,940
26,578

Wild Horse Roundups

Wild Horse Roundups are used to keep the appropriate land management levels, and to make sure that the herds are accessing enough food to remain healthy. There are a lot of controversies surrounding Wild Horse Roundups, if you want more information then you can read my hub on Wild Horse Roundups.

Wild Horse Adoption

You may be wondering what happens to the Wild Horses and Burros that are captured in the roundups. They are offered to the public for adoption. These animals can make great pets, and some organizations adopt them and turn them out on private land available for them to still live the free lifestyle they are accustomed to.

In order to adopt a Mustang there are qualifications one must meet. If you are interested in adopting a Wild Horse, please read my hub on Adopting a Wild Horse for more information.

Wild Horses, surrounding all the beauty, is an ugly debate on the future of these animals. Some see them running out of land due to civilization and growth. Some see them disappearing and think that roundups should be stopped and they should continue to run free. They've gotten the attention of congress, entertainers, and horse lovers, all wondering what is next to prevent the hoof print of a Wild Horse from disappearing from America's Grass forever.

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Comments 4 comments

Sehnonimo profile image

Sehnonimo 6 years ago from San Bruno, CA

I LOVE horses and would love to adopt a wild horse, what with all the unwanted horses and what not. Unfortunately I have not the time, space, experience to keep a horse. When my friend and I trekked up to Nevada a few years ago, and saw the signs "Wild Horse Crossing", we got really excited. We had missed them by a few hours. Anyway, I digress...


Ann Nonymous profile image

Ann Nonymous 6 years ago from Virginia

Great hub, rodeogirl...I'll have to share it with my horse loving friends and family members...It reminds me of Natasha Bedingfield's song, Wild Horses

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7971Xe0_VC0

Thanks for a great and beautiful hub!!!!!


rocknrodeogirl profile image

rocknrodeogirl 6 years ago from The Columbia Gorge Author

Sehnonimo, yes they are beautiful!! I never got to see a Wild Horse in Nevada, but my brother and parents did one year! They got some cool pictures. I've only been able to see some on a stretch of road in WA State between Goldendale and Yakima. Thanks for the comment!

Ann, I LOVE that Natasha Bedingfield song. Now I will be dragging out that CD. If only my car wasn't old fashioned with only a tape player, lol! Thanks for your comment! ;)


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