Our Beautiful Wild Horses Are Losing Their Habitat! by Sage Boyd

The Wild Mustang is an American icon.  For Americans, it symbolizes freedom, courage, beauty and power.  Wild horses have been running wild on our Southwestern plains for over two million years.  However, these beautiful wild creatures might not be with us much longer.

In 1971, the “Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act” was passed to protect wild horses and burros.  Several hundred million acres of public land in the Southwest were set aside for the horses to run wild.  Despite the intended restricted use of the public lands, Wild Mustangs and Burros are in peril.  With a population increase of 12-20% a year, there isn’t enough land to sustain our wild horses.

Moreover, the equine habitat is being overrun by cattle.  Ranchers have managed to get use of these lands for their cattle. The Bureau of Land Management created separate allotments for cattle and equine use, but it is unfair.  The cattle outnumber the horses 50 to 1.  Moreover, cattle grazing is ruining the riparian equine habitat.

How can we save our horses?  Some unsuccessful attempts:

  • Birth control. Annual injections to mares has proved expensive and difficult to manage.  Neutering mares changes their behavior, causing dysfunctional herds.
  • Although many horses are adopted, sadly thousands die in captivity.
  • Unfortunately, most sales go to “killer buyers” who resell them for slaughter.

Here’s what we can do:

  • Spread the word. Bring it up in casual conversations.  Put the issue on social media.  If you’re a writer, artist, or filmmaker, express how you feel about one of the most beautiful things in America: our Wild Mustangs!
  • Adopt a horse! You’ve lots of choices, and they’re affordable!
  • Volunteer at a horse shelter. In Green Valley Equine Voices Rescue and Sanctuary is a non-profit organization that welcomes volunteers.
  • Give someone the gift of a horse.
  • Enroll a group at work, church or the neighborhood to adopt a Mustang.
  • Start a movement. There are more than 70,000 Mustangs who need homes!







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