Animal #64 — Feral Horse

equus caballus

Friday, August 30

Along I-94 in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

We were headed to Medora, and had just entered the boundaries of the national park when I spotted a couple horses in the prairie along the Interstate. One was dark gray, with a long, black mane. Something about the way it looked made me think it was wild, and when I asked the ranger at the visitor center, she confirmed it. She said that optimum herd size is around 90 but that there were currently approximately 200 in the park.

We saw a herd the next day while on the Scenic Loop Drive. The mares were all crowded together while the stallion stood off a little bit to the side. When a family walked out into the field a short distance for a better look, the stallion walked closer to the mares.

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A short time later, on the drive to the Coal Vein Trail, we saw three more standing on a hill.

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I’m no expert on horses, but I read somewhere, and shared with Arlyn, Marcy and Sally, that the wild horses in the park had larger heads than most domestic horses and are thought to be descendants of horses that have been wild for a couple hundred years. When we saw the three on the hill, Arlyn and Marcy, who own three horses, said these did have larger heads.

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