HISTORY OF THE WILD HORSES OF SHANNON COUNTY MISSOURI
Shannon County is home to an extraordinary herd of wild horses that very few people know about. Hidden away in Southeast Missouri in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways on public land about 130 miles from Springfield and 150 miles from St. Louis, 4 herds of wild horses roam the beautiful and rugged landscape.
Ozark National Scenic Riverways is the first national park area to protect a river system and the only place in the state where wild horses still roam free.
It hasn't been an easy path for the wild horses over the last 100 years and it would be foolish to think current conditions couldn't change and put the horses back in danger again.
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 to protect the horses 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 Missouri 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 the maximum agreed upon limit of 50 horses. The captured horses are taken into care and evaluated before being adopted by loving families for permanent homes.
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. The horses are big, strong, and unpredictable and for your own safety as well as theirs, keep a safe distance of 100 yards or more between you and the horses.