Wild Horses of Shannon County Missouri Adventures - Rocky Creek Herd 03/27/2022

March 29, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

03-26-2022 Rocky Creek Wild Horses © Tim Layton & Associates, LLC03-26-2022 Rocky Creek Wild Horses © Tim Layton & Associates, LLC The Rocky Creek wild horses are elusive, very aware of anything in their environment, and the rugged terrain makes it particularly challenging.

Today started like most other days; I took my 4WD truck in the backcountry, searching for even a sign of the horses.  I frequently find signs in the form of tracks or manure, but rarely do I get the opportunity and privilege to see them in person. 

We had been out for a few hours starting at daybreak, looking in all of the typical locations, and we just above gave up.  At about the time when I was going to say, "well, it looks like they got us again today," I spotted something out of the corner of my eye in the woods. 

Follow along on YouTube with Tim and Lesa behind the scenes as they track, find, and try and photograph the wild horses of Shannon County, Missouri.

Wild Horses of Missouri Field Diary by Tim LaytonWild Horses of Missouri Field Diary by Tim Layton

I was in a field, and there was a small band of woods between me and another area and then a large canvas of woods behind this field.  I started to slowly walk a little closer with my hand shading my eyes to try and get a glimpse of that flash that caught my eye.

As I got closer to the first band of trees, I realized there was a creek that I needed to cross.  I saw fresh tracks and very fresh manure that was still warm. 

My heart started racing as I knew maybe today was the day I might see them after a long 20 months of not seeing the horses. 

Wild Horses of Missouri Videos by Tim LaytonWild Horses of Missouri Videos by Tim Layton I got down on my hands and knees and climbed up the bank on the other side of the creek.  I wanted to stay low so the horses would not notice me as quickly.  

As I peeked over the bank, I saw a big, beautiful mare looking straight at me, probably 200 yards away, and she was with 15 other horses. 

It was immediately evident the big white mare was the lead mare, and she knew that I was in her environment.  The lead mare is effectively the herd leader because she determines when and where they eat, get water, flee an area, etc. 

The stallion is typically in the back of the herd, waiting to step in and defend his pack if and when needed, and he frequently decides the order for drinking water.  Otherwise, he is usually reticent and not noticeable. 

Enjoy this video of these 16 amazing wild horses in their natural environment.  As you can see in the video, they thrive because they are wild and free.  The Ozark National Scenic Riverways area provides them with everything they need (i.e., food, water, shelter), and they get to do what we can only dream about - live wild and free. 

Buy Handmade Wild Horse Fine Art by Tim Layton - www.wildhorsesofmissouri.comBuy Handmade Wild Horse Fine Art by Tim Layton - www.wildhorsesofmissouri.com

HISTORY OF 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 Shannon County is home to a beautiful 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 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.  

The national park service started removing the wild horses in a profoundly upsetting way to 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, Senators Kit Bond, and John Ashcroft.

05-06-2022 Broadfoot Wild Horses © Tim Layton & Associates, LLC05-06-2022 Broadfoot Wild Horses © Tim Layton & Associates, LLC 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.  

People worldwide 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 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 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 safety, keep a safe distance of 100 yards or more between you and the horses. 

Wild Horses of Missouri Field Diary by Tim LaytonWild Horses of Missouri Field Diary by Tim Layton

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