THE WILD HORSES OF MISSOURI

8/1/20 - Shawnee Creek Mare - Wild Horses of Missouri by Tim Layton8/1/20 - Shawnee Creek Mare - Wild Horses of Missouri by Tim Layton

For the last 100 years, herds 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.   

The Wild Horses of Missouri are close-knit herd animals.  They treasure their families above all else.

The close bonds they form are crucial for their emotional and physical survival.

At this time, there are four main herds separated into 4 or 5 bands, depending on the time of year.

These horses are gentle and loving towards their young and yet the strong and powerful stallions will fight to their death to protect their mares. Wild horses have lived in American romantic mythology for centuries, but each horse is a unique individual with their own history, just like people. Follow me as we explore the lives and stories of the majestic Wild Horses of Missouri. 

8/1/20 - Shawnee Creek Mare - Wild Horses of Missouri by Tim Layton8/1/20 - Shawnee Creek Mare - Wild Horses of Missouri by Tim Layton The Wild Horses of Shannon County Missouri are living symbols of America's history and pioneering spirit.

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. Letting the death toll of America’s wild horses continue to rise is simply not an option.

Considering that wild horses of today are here because of humans, and considering the monumental positive impact horses played in American history, don’t they deserve a conscientious, kind management plan – not one that traumatizes them.

HISTORY OF THE WILD HORSES OF MISSOURI

8/1/20 - Shawnee Creek Mare and New Foal - Wild Horses of Missouri by Tim Layton8/1/20 - Shawnee Creek Mare and New Foal - Wild Horses of Missouri by Tim Layton Shannon County is home to an extraordinary herd of wild horses. Located in Southeast Missouri in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways on public land about 130 miles from Springfield and 150 miles from St. Louis.

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.

Wild Horses of Shannon County Missouri by Tim LaytonWild Horses of Shannon County Missouri by Tim Layton 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.

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. 

 

The Wild Horses of Missouri are generally organized into 4 herds and 5 bands to include: Shawnee Creek, Broadfoot, Round Spring, and Rocky Creek. You can click on each of the herd names and review the latest information about each herd.  If you would like to get more information on where to find the Wild Horses of Missouri, review my detailed online guide for the latest information.

Wild Horses of Missouri Broadfoot Herd by Tim LaytonWild Horses of Missouri Broadfoot Herd by Tim Layton Wild Horses of Missouri Rocky Creek Herd by Tim LaytonWild Horses of Missouri Rocky Creek Herd by Tim Layton

Wild Horses of Missouri Round Spring Herd by Tim LaytonWild Horses of Missouri Round Spring Herd by Tim Layton Wild Horses of Missouri Shawnee Creek Herd by Tim LaytonWild Horses of Missouri Shawnee Creek Herd by Tim Layton