While horses were indigenous to North America thousands of years ago, some found their way to what is now Europe and Asia before they died out.

That is why when explorers from Spain like Cortez brought horses to North America, the Native Americans were enchanted by them. They saw them as spiritual or mythical figures. Some of the animals escaped and within a few years, wild horses could be seen roaming the countryside and the Great Plains.

When you think of wild horses, you probably picture some majestic steed galloping along the countryside with its mane and tail billowing in the breeze. They are a symbol of freedom and a reflection to the past. For the Native Americans who revered the wild horses, they took great care in capturing and training them for practical uses, always mindful of the horses’ role in the spirit world. With the introduction of the wild horses, their culture and way of life broaden dramatically. Now, the Native Indians could hunt for buffalo and other food more easily. They could trade and barter with other tribes and even increase their claim of land.

Today, the largest group of wild horses is situated in the state of Nevada. However, there is some dissention to their presence. A lot of people in government feel that the wild horses are detrimental to the environment. They share the land with other livestock, a land that is overgrazed and lacking enough of a water supply to adequately sustain both the wild horses and livestock, the livelihood of many ranchers.

Wild horses are protected under federal laws. However, the fact remains that the future of these symbols of untamed freedom is uncertain. How can the wild horses compete with those factions who need to earn a living through their livestock? That is the great debate that continues on in regards to the wild horses.(Source)


Responses to "The Impact of Wild Horses on the Native American People"

  1. Anonymous says:

    I advocate for wild horses; in this time of extreme drought throughout the West, it's important to understand that livestock on Public lands are allowed to occupy millions more acres than wild horses and burros, and that, even on the lands where wild horses and burros are allowed, they must still share their designated lands with livestock.
    The ratio of wild horses or burros to livestock can be as high as 1:50, livestock's favor. Livestock are allowed on leased land during the height of forage growth and watershed, and wild equines must try and survive on what's left when livestock are removed.
    I could go on and on, but the simple truth is our wild horses and burros are victims of a system of inequality on the ranges - a system that will blame these animals for range degradation in order to remove them to make room for Public lands grazing. The system ignores the enormous contributions wild equines make to range health, and equally ignores the fact that wild horses and burros consume only about 11% of their available - and allowable - forage.
    Meaning 88% of the lands granted to them by Public law are prioritized for livestock, at $1.35 a month for a bull, cow/calf pair or 5 sheep.
    Our wild horses and burros deserve better.

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