Horses as Native North American Part 1

Horses as Native North American

 they are living legends of the American West introduced to the continent by Spanish explorers more than 400 years ago captured and domesticated for use by Native American tribes then later by those who came to tame America's western frontier over time many found their way to freedom on the vast open range lands of the West in the last 40 years the free-roaming horses and burros have been protected by federal law protected so diligently in fact that a major threat they face is their own overpopulation their growing numbers now threaten the health of the herds the health of many other species of plant and animal life and the health of these often fragile landscapes which support many different public uses and values they are part of a greater mosaic the public lands legacy that belongs to all Americans we all have a stake in the stewardship of these magnificent animals and in the balanced management of the lands they inhabit the story of the wild horses and burros of the West began centuries ago they were roaming the Western rangelands even before the first pilgrims arrived on the continent brought here by Spanish explorers more than four hundred years ago when the Spanish departed many of the horses were left behind and began populating the Western rangelands some were captured and domesticated by Native Americans and later by the Western pioneers and settlers these pioneers and settlers relied on their own horses and those captured from wild herds for travel and for use in the fields miners and missionaries preferred burrows or sturdy mules for their endeavors cavalry first protecting settlers and later fighting in international Wars relied on ranchers for remounts with the advent of mechanized horsepower and travel farming mining and other activities many of the working animals were set free these animals joined the free roaming herds of the West with few natural predators the populations of horses and burros continued to flourish in time however their survival on the open range would be threatened on the western frontier some considered the wild horses and burros a nuisance a scourge on the landscape that competed with livestock for forage and damaged vegetation and water resources ridding the range of these unwanted animals became a common practice and over time a profitable enterprise some horse runners captured and killed wild horses and burros for profit even for sport a practice that came to be known as Mustang II in 1946 Congress created the Bureau of Land Management an agency within the Department of Interior to manage the nation's vast holdings of public lands and the resources found there the agency would eventually be charged with protecting the wild horses and burros that roamed the public lands these protections took the form of federal laws that originated in the late 1950s as described in these historic interviews the issue at that point was just stopped the inhumane treatment they would chase the horses with airplanes and then with pickups with trucks and rub them and tie old tires on them on the end .

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