Wild Horses

I live about 40 miles from Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It is situated in the North Dakota Badlands. Teddy had a ranch there, and there still are lots of ranches that surround the park. It is home to bison, coyotes, deer, mountain lions, pronghorn, prairie dogs, and big horn sheep. And horses.

For decades before the park was formally established in 1947, ranchers would turn out horses on the open range to live and breed, and just round up horses when they needed them. That ended after the park was fenced in 1954. After the fences went up, horses remained in the park, overbreeding. Every few years the Park Service would round up what horses they could and sell them at auction. They even tried horse contraception to reduce the herds.

The Park Service decided recently to change policy and remove all non-native animal species from the park, specifically the horses. This led to a very emotional reaction from locals who have a very romantic notion of the horses and believe they should stay. The Legislature passed a bill to maintain livestock in the park. It is ultimately up to the Secretary of the Interior to decide what happens next.

What is your favorite National Park? Would wild horses be a draw for you? What animals do you get emotional about?

29 thoughts on “Wild Horses”

  1. I guess it would have to be Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park, because I have the most memories there. The summers we spent in Greeley, CO, trailer court, we would go up to anywhere on the Big Thompson River, often near Estes Park. There is a home movie with Sue and me sitting on a big rock in the river, mom with the typewriter on a picnic table typing one of Dad’s papers…

    Horses would be an interest, but not a big draw.

    I have a thing for birds.. I can’t wait to hear the birdsong early mornings, even if it wakes me up. Love watching them in the yard pecking for seeds…
    I have a FB friend from high school whose last name is Birdsong, always thought that was kind of cool.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    Because of the nature of National Parks, I cannot pick a favorite. National Parks represent the best of American ideas—to preserve the unique and beautiful representations of our geography for the citizenry. Watching horses is a lovely thing and I would like that a lot. I did not realize you were that close to TRNP, Renee. TR’s time in North Dakota is storied.

    The National Park I have experienced the most is The Grand Canyon. As a child I visited the Sequoias with my aunt and uncle, and that was a thrill, but I cannot remember if we were in a state park or National Park. Isle Royale was wonderful to explore. Having a. Moose walk by me as I exited an outhouse was a close encounter. THe door of the outhouse nearly hit the moose, and it remained unaware of me.

    The Boundary Waters are part of a National Forest, not an official park, but that trip was the most memorable in a designated Federal area.

    We have an internet service at work back after 12 days without it. I am so far behind now, after having no access to it. So off to my day to try to catch up.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I can’t say that I have a favorite national park. I’ve been to Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Voyageurs. I think I might need more experience. I’d love to have a travel buddy.

    Yes, wild horses would be a draw for me but I’d probably want to “save” them even though they probably don’t need saving. My heart goes soft for horses because they’re beautiful, sensitive, intelligent animals and humans have used them for so much, sometimes horribly.

    I can get emotional about any animal, but dogs are probably number one. I have caught myself watching manipulative dog rescue videos on social media and stopped myself promptly. I am exactly the person they’re trying to hook. All of those images of dogs that have been mistreated and are looking for “forever” homes. I’m glad I have some self-control and I’m glad I have given Pippin a good home. I think he has dementia now and I can’t imagine him with anyone else.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I don’t have favorites of anything. I just don’t think in hierarchical terms.

    I have a quirky empathy with most creatures, so much so that I’ll take the trouble to rescue spiders trapped in the bathtub. It doesn’t stop me from swatting mosquitoes or trapping mice in the house, lest they multiply, but I don’t do it without feeling.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Like most, hard to pick a favorite. BWCA is probably in the lead despite not being an official park. Other faves are Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Voyageurs (highly underrated!), and Banff in Canada. Actually, all 4 NPS that are connected in the Banff area are spectacular.

    So many memorable visits to so many National Parks.

    I have a thing for felines of any type-especially big cats. I could stare at them for hours. Horses don’t do much for me other than I love watching them run up close like at a race track. A true thing of beauty, power, and speed.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Been to Roosevelt Park, south unit four times, mostly driving through it, some short hikes. Sandy never has had much stamina. Daughter and her husband hiked all over it. Made it to north unit once. In its way just as interesting. Not very busy. Saw a couple horse herds in the distance. Been to Grand Canyon, Voyageurs, Rainier, must be more.
    Having grown up using horses as work animals, not a fan, the romance is gone. The horses were a controversy 20 years ago when we were in Roosevelt. Are they destructive in any way? Or is it a purist point of view, just that they are not a native species?
    My sister gets upset that the bison roam free in the South Dakota Badlands. (Is that a national park? I have been there. And one in the Black Hills.) They camped there and woke up to a bison outside their tent. She thinks if the park is for people then big animals should not be.)
    I regret never making it to Isle Royale. Many others I would like to see. But not anyone I think for any specific animal. A part of me says we should stay out or be allowed in in limited numbers.
    At this point in my life I would wish for a dog, but it would be unwise. I get emotional about border collies, for the obvious reason. I get upset about the crossbreeding of dogs to make them into adornments. We have made them into unhealthy animals who often live in pain. There is a vet who fights a campaign on this.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Well, you know I don’t get out much. I’m not sure I’ve been to a national park. I’ve been to parks in general, and maybe even a few state parks.
    I do miss the cows personalities. And baby anythings are always cute. I sure love our dogs. Bailey doesn’t seem to like the guys here doing the concrete. They seem nice enough, but I wouldn’t completely rule out Bailey’s intuition.

    People love the deer so much, or raccoons, but like Clyde and horses… the romance is over. Dang animals; just pests. Barn swallows are great! Cowbirds and starlings are annoying pests. Sparrows are just messy.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I was going to mention something about cows but decided not to. Their personalities, curiosity, social systems, the way they eat grass. Cows in a field—I want to pull over and talk to them. Barn swallows were the birds of our summers and chickadees of our winters. There were many deer in and around our farm with all the woods, but they were not a problem, they only came out of the woods in large numbers in late fall. Cats were mousers, barn animals. I never got attached. Did not when my kids had them. Glad they had them. No problem. But of course since I ignored them they wanted to sit on me.
      I am dealing the complicated mess that is gastroenterology in my life. Calls up to the Cities for them to order am MRI here, which despite my extreme clarity they sent to the wrong place. Then it turns out the right place is now a wrong place since they won’t do that kind of MRI anymore. So I found a new right place but they sent the order to a new wrong place. Got that straightened out. The doctor ordered a prescription but despite my extreme clarity they sent it to the wrong place. Still fighting to get out of that mess. And my gastroenterologist here says he is no longer my doctor and that the doctor I am dealing with now is. But this doctor only deals with my pancreatic issue and does not deal with the colon. So I am having colon issues and want to visit with a gastroenterologist but I don’t have one to talk to. My colonoscopies are always scary and I have some scary signs but I have no doctor to order my next scheduled colonoscopy in July.
      Modern medicine.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I worry about the health if the Park horses, as I don’t think they get any vet care. I am a sucker for animal rescue stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I worry about the health of the Park horses, as I don’t think they get any vet care. I am a sucker for animal rescue stories.


  10. I consider myself lucky to have spent a fair amount of time camping in some really wild places. Once when wilderness camping in the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming, wasband and I caught sight of a cougar; what a thrill that was. For five whole days we didn’t see another human being. We knew there were plenty of bears and other wildlife, but that one cougar was the only one we managed to get a good look at. While Yellowstone, Glacier, the Grand Tetons and Rocky Mountain Natl. Park may have more vistas that will take your breath away, they are also overrun by tourists. Back when we first visited Yellowstone in 1966, there were bears everywhere. They’d be standing by the side of the road and begging for food. People would get out of their cars to take photos with them, or have their kids pose with a bear cub while the mama bear would be just a few feet away. Incredibly stupid and dangerous. Nowadays you could spend a week in Yellowstone and never catch a glimpse of a bear.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I’ve loved every national park that I’ve ever visited but I have special memories of Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The day I was there was a gorgeous day and on our early morning run, several lionesses came lumbering over the hill with at least 15 cubs in tow. They weren’t worried about us at all and just walked right by us. Gorgeous. I would have to say I love dogs more than anything but I still get a little verklempt thinking about all those adorable cubs.

    And polar bears.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I haven’t visited many national parks, but I did spend a summer working at Yellowstone National Park Lake. It was fascinating and included a hike in the woods on the south end of the lake which included a scary small kayak/canoe trip down the lake during a snow storm.  When hiking up into the woods bear tracks  in the snow and claw marks on a tree were a bit unnerving. But never did see the bear.Wild horses definitely would be/are a draw for me.  I have loved horses since I was very young.  And the wild ones are exciting. One of my favorite movies when I was young was “My Friend Flicka” which included wild horses. My horses are tame and calm but also beautiful. Cynthia “Life is a shifting carpet…learn to dance.”

    Liked by 3 people

  13. yellowstone yosemite banff jasper are faves
    wild horses yes
    i’m an animal guy on every level
    otters are a favorite with dogs on the top of the list


  14. I’m originally a Californian, and spent some wonderful weekends in Yosemite (though not for 50 or so years, now). Were I to consider traveling to visit a national park (not just choosing someplace within a day’s drive), it would be Yosemite.

    As for animals, we are kept by two cats. That’s enough.


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