The Story Behind The Wild Horses of Shannon County Missouri

January 30, 2020  •  2 Comments

Wild Horses of Missouri by Tim Layton

For the last 100 years, a herd of wild horses has been roaming the ancient and rugged landscape in Shannon County, Missouri near a small town nestled in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways near Eminence.   

Wild Horses represent America's history and they made it possible to explore this great land.  Never believe they are safe from being taken from us because we have history confirming otherwise. 

The wild horses of Shannon County Missouri are living symbols of our country’s history and pioneering spirit. Anyone who has had the privilege of watching them graze freely and calmly understands what majestic animals these wild horses truly are.

It is hard to fathom that thousands of our wild horses across America have died at the hands of the federal agency entrusted to protect them.

You can view my latest handmade platinum prints of the wild horses in my new Wild Horses Platinum Print Gallery.

Letting the death toll of America’s wild horses continue to rise is simply not an option. I am on a mission to do everything that I can to protect the wild horses, but I can't do it alone. Awareness is key to getting the right people involved and this is a role that I can perform with great pleasure.  Much like Ansel Adams and other photographers that came before us, they helped legislators and key people see the beauty that needed to be protected.  I hope my photographs will help influence the long-term protection and conservation of America's wild horses. 


Wild Horses of Shannon County Missouri by Tim LaytonWild Horses of Shannon County Missouri by Tim Layton During the 1980s the National Park Service announced a plan to remove the wild horses, and people were outraged. 

In 1993 the U.S. Supreme Court denied a final appeal and gave the National Park Service the right to remove the horses from federal land at their discretion.  The national park service started the process of removing the wild horses in a way that was profoundly upsetting to local residents and horse lovers around the country.  The people of Shannon County and horse lovers around the country rallied together and the Wild Horse League of Missouri was formed.  

Luckily, by 1996 the Wild Horse League of Missouri, which formed in 1992 to save the wild horses, received help from the people of Shannon County, Congressman Bill Emerson, and Senators Kit Bond and John Ashcroft.

Their tireless efforts paid off, and President Clinton signed a bill into law on October 3, 1996, to make the wild horses of Shannon County a permanent part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.  

Now, people from around the world visit Shannon County in hopes of seeing these majestic wild horses.

The Missouri Wild Horse League works with the National Park Service to capture some of the horses when the herd exceeds 50.  The captured horses are taken into care and evaluated before being adopted by loving families for permanent homes, many from local residents in Shannon County. 

It is important to remember that these horses are wild. When looking for them, be sure not to approach them or attempt to feed them. It is essential to keep these animals wild and free, and for you to be safe. 

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Tim Layton Fine Art
Hi Susan, thanks for visiting and commenting. Stay in touch and I will have a lot more updates about the wild horses.
Susan DiCriscio(non-registered)
Wonderfully detailed guide! I hope to get there some day!
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