Some recession-hit horse owners freeing animals into wild herds

by Rebecca on February 19, 2012

in Animals in the News

By Donald Bradley  | The Kansas City Star
From his pickup on a rise above the Current River, Bill Smith scanned the wild horses grazing below to see if all were members in good standing.That’s not always the case these days with Missouri’s only wild horse herd, which descends from animals set free in the Great Depression by farmers who couldn’t afford to feed them.

Because it’s happening again in the Great Recession. Strapped owners are dumping horses in what is now the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, apparently thinking they will be warmly received by the wild bunch that runs the thousands of public acres along the Current and Jacks Fork rivers.

“Don’t work that way,” said Smith, part of a group called the Missouri Wild Horse League that keeps an eye on the local herd.

Stallions will run off, even rise up and fight the old pets and saddle horses, he said. Wild horses have to forage for food, know how to dig through snow to find grass and acorns. Coyotes will prey on colts and old horses. There are even a few cougars around.

In other words, being wild ain’t easy. No oats, no shoes, no roof, no pats on the nose.

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