Passion is an understatement when it comes to the wild horses of Medora! There are thousands and thousands of people who love these horses.
We met one of them late in the day on New Year’s Eve out in the park. I had met him two years ago in the fall when I was there, but this time had the immense pleasure to see him again and introduce him to my husband. His name is Lyle Glass and he is a stalwart and passionate lover of these horses. He drives the park twice a day and sometimes more, always with his camera and has captured timeless and unforgettable images of the horses. He knows them all by name, who is with which band stallion, and where to find them.
(Unbeknownst to Lyle, I took this image of him photographing
the beloved wild horses of Medora in 2012.)
But why do they all have names? Have you asked yourself that? It is because of the group called the North Dakota Badlands Horse.
Because the wild horses of the Badlands hold a unique place in the history
and settlement of North Dakota the North Dakota Badlands Horse Registry was established
to register, promote, appreciate, and preserve the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
“Before the park was established in 1947, wild mustangs roamed the beautiful Little Missouri breaks. Some may have been there for hundreds of years, but it is known that most were escapees from early explorers, native tribes and pioneers. When the area was homesteaded and settled by farmers and ranchers, they brought along their saddle and draft horses to help tame the new land. The practice of free range meant all the horses intermingled and interbred. When harsh conditions drove most of the settlers out of the badlands, hundreds of horses were left behind. The combination of these various breeds of domestic and wild horses produced the current horse of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Ancestral DNA testing has shown Spanish, other European, Scandinavian, Asian, and North and South American breed similarities. With some draft influence, most are of sturdy build, with good bone and large, healthy feet.” (This is an excerpt from the 2015 Guide to the Wild Horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park by North Dakota Badlands Horse and Mary Lu Weber and available to purchase at Blurb.)
We used the guide often the week we were in the park.
The North Dakota Badlands Horse group works very closely with the staff at Theodore Roosevelt National Park to ensure when the horses have to be periodically rounded up and sold the group works to advertise the horses and find buyers who will give them a good home. When gentled properly these horses have proven to be mellow, sensible, highly trainable, and loyal partners. They also work closely with the staff to find new ways to handle the horses during round ups to ensure their safety, and help with birth control studies on the mares.
If you want to know more about their history, their daily stories please be sure to connect with the North Dakota Badlands Horse Group on Facebook.
Until next time, thank you for reading.
(The 2015 Guide to the Wild Horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park helped us locate this highly protective and wary band stallion and his harem. His name is Thunder Cloud!)