WILD HORSES OF MISSOURI
Broadfoot was a farm since the Civil War days until the National Park Service acquired the land in the 1960s to be part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
According to county records, this land was last owned by farmer Darrell Broadfoot before the sale to the park service. Some people believe the herd in the 1960s may even have included some of his animals.
According to the National Park Service, Broadfoot is now considered a primitive campground and horseback riding area.
The Broadfoot herd is probably the second most popular herd because they are frequently found in and around the Broadfoot fields.
Don't let that statement fool you because I have gone for months without seeing them. Until this spring, we didn't see them for about five months after a big roundup in 2019 as part of the management protocol.
You can view the photographs of the current and historical members of the Broadfoot herd below this paragraph.
The members of each herd change over time because of several factors. Lead stallions are known for visiting other herds and bands to steal mares. Yes, that is correct; the stallions swoop in and steal mares from other packs.
Also, because of the monitoring and management of the herd per the law, sometimes members are gathered up to keep the size of the herds within the bounds of the legal agreement.
NEW 2022 BROADFOOT FOALS
Foal # 1 - Born the last week in March, around the 25th to 27th timeframe. Black with a long white marking on his muzzle that is broad at the top by its eyes and narrows and terminates just above its nose. It has some very distinctive white marks on its rump area. Gender has not been verified yet.
Foal # 2 - Born the first week of April, sometime before the 9th. Light brown (Buckskin type of color) with a long white mark on its muzzle. The white area is broad near his eyes and narrows as it extends into his nose area. Gender has not been verified yet.
Foal # 3 - Born the first week of April, sometime before the 9th. Near black color with a distinctive white mark on his face and what looks like a black bow tie above his nose. No other colors/marks on its body at this time that I can see. Gender has not been verified yet.
Foal # 4 (dead ~ May 22) - Born the third week of April. This foal is much different than the other three. It is a blue color which is beautiful.
Foal # 1 (colt) (last seen 9/30/22 the color is turning now, but still identifiable by markings)
Foal # 2 (Filly) last seen 09/30/22
Foal # 3 (Filly) (missing as of 9/3/22, assumed dead)
Foal # 4 (unknown gender) (died sometime around May 22, 2022)
Three of the foals with the herd. The fourth (foal # 1) is out of the frame napping.
MY FIELD DIARY
|November 13, 2022||RPBC, BF||10||It was another amazing day for the third day in a row. The day started at the regular BF fields, and no sign of the horses there. So we decided to take the leap and go deep in the backcountry to see if we could find the lost foal and mare again. We went back to a nearby area, and we were astounded to discover the entire Broadfoot herd all back together again! We saw 2 foals and 8 adult horses today. It was an amazing experience and a full-circle moment to have 10 back in the herd again.|
|November 12, 2022||BF||0||It was the first snow of the season today, and it was a total surprise to everyone. It wasn't forecasted, and we were excited when we got up this morning and saw the snow. We headed straight for Broadfoot, but no sign of the horses when we were at the main fields this morning. We are hopeful to see them soon to resolve the missing foal and mare mystery.|
November 11, 2022
|RPBC||2||Today was one of the most incredible days we have ever had since I started following the horses in 2015. We found the missing foal that we started report missing back on Labor Day weekend. It was an astounding discovery because the mare somehow found her foal, and they were 20+ miles deep in the backcountry when we found them alone today. No sign of the main herd again today. We found the main herd of 9 back on 10/23 at the main fields. It is going to be fascinating the next time we find the entire herd because either there will either be 10 horses (the missing foal is back) or there will be 8 because the mare left to find her foal, and the two of them haven't rejoined the main herd.|
|November 06, 2022||BF, RPBC||0||
No sign of the horses at the main field today. We saw 2 young deer on the back side of the loop, standing at the river's edge. I just missed being able to photograph/video them.
We spent 6+ hours exploring the back country looking for them. We found signs down near Bee Bluff. We saw several deer and a young buck along the river that I was able to photograph.
We saw another blue heron at the same exact creek crossing as last time.
We made it back to the river and thought we were on track to find the lake and missing field, but we ended up getting lost, but we found Blair's Creek Cemetery by accident, and several hours later, we found our we out 106H to 106.
|October 29, 2022||BF, RPBC||0||No sign of the horses at the time we look at the main BF fields again today. We took the plunge and spent 6 hours exploring the back country looking for them. We did not find them, but we got some really good intel. We found some reasonably fresh manure in new places in the backcountry that we have never seen before, so this gives us new places to look. Also, we saw a bald eagle soaring high over Bee Bluff, a great blue heron flying low over one of the creeks, and a flock of wild turkeys. It was a lot of work in the backcountry, but it was a great day to be outside exploring, looking for the horses.
|October 27, 2022||BF, Sutton||0||No sign of the horses at the time we look at the main BF fields and down along Sutton Creek. We talked to some trail riders that saw the missing foal about 3 weeks ago and said it was down by the river, whinnying and calling out. I can only guess the mare of this foal must have either died or gotten injured, and the foal is now stranded. It doesn't look good at this point.|
|October 23, 2022||BF, Sutton||9||We found the main herd of 9 at the lower end of the main field today. Despite campers, with illegal horse trailers and barking dogs, the herd was surprisingly here today. Got some really good photos and video today. I talked to a friend today, and he said the missing foal was spotted alone a couple of weeks ago across the river. This seems to coincide with the timeline where we discovered a missing foal at the end of September. Not sure what will happen, but I have a little more hope the little foal may be alive after all, but as more time passes, the chance of that being true continues to diminish.|
|October 21, 2022||BF||0||No horses at BF today, probably because of the campers and trail riders at the main fields. Also, idiots with dogs running loose and side-by-sides running wild don't help, either. A friend reported seeing them back at the main fields yesterday after a several-week lull. We did see fresh manure at all the normal places.|
|October 16, 2022||BF||0||Still no fresh signs of the herd at BF today. The last time we found them was on 09/30. I think they will return to the main field soon because the grass-cutting and tree-trimming were done a couple of weeks ago. If we don't see them soon, we will head to the more difficult backcountry locations to see if we can find them.|
|October 09, 2022||BF||0||We were in the area, and so we thought we would take a chance before sunset to see if the herd returned to the main BF fields. They have not and no current signs of them. It usually takes a while for things to settle down after they mow. It also looks like crews had cleaned up the trees and brush around the loop road too.|
|October 05, 2022||BF||0||No sign of the horses, so we looped around the back and the main fields without any horses. It looks like they mowed again in addition to bailing the hay and also mowed/trimmed on the heavy brush around the loop. The horses will probably be gone again until everything settles down. The drive back to Broadfoot was beautiful today, with some colors starting to change. We will let things settle down and then loop back. We may try down Sutton Creek or over in the backcountry if we don't find them in the main location next time.|
|September 30, 2022||BF||9||We found 9 horses today at the BF fields and only 3 foals. I need to review historic photos, but either foal # 2 or foal # 3 is now missing and presumed dead. Also, the stallion is very noticeable (white with paint markings on his rump area. One mare looked very pregnant and maybe foaling soon. On 09/28/22, a friend shared they noticed the foal missing. Another person from the MWHL noted that they only saw two foals on Labor Day weekend (Sept. 3/4/5).|
|September 23, 2022||BF||0||No horses at BF today. They had recently bailed the fields, and the tractor was still in the field. When this happens, they typically go away for 2 to 3 weeks before returning. We may try the backcountry location in the next couple of weeks.|
|August 21, 2022||BF||10||The Broadfoot 10, along with the 3 foals, were at the Broadfoot fields today. I was a little bit surprised to see them, but it was a delight to watch them. It was bittersweet because we know with 100% certainty that foal # 4 did not survive. We knew it was probably true a couple of months ago, but we know for sure now. The herd looked strong and healthy despite the horrific summer heatwave. It was sad not to see the main stallion with his herd today because he was captured in the last roundup.|
|July 31, 2022||BF||10||It has been a long and recording-breaking hot summer, but today, we finally got back in the field after two long months. We found 10 horses in the herd today, with 3 foals. I am certain the 4th foal did not survive from May, which is heartbreaking and sad. We went by Cross Country and saw two of the original Broadfoot herd still in holding there since mid-May.|
|May 25, 2022||BF||12/11||It was another surprising discovery today. When we arrived today, there were 12 horses, and then within 5 minutes, 1 left leaving 11 which indicates the departing horse was most likely a Shawnee Creek horse. Foal # 4 and its mom is still missing and if they were there, that would make 13 which would be the correct number before all this drama started last week.|
|May 24, 2022||BF||16||I noted yesterday that it was the most fascinating day that I have ever had since I started following the horses in 2015. Well, I have no idea how to compare, but today was equally fascinating. We got to see things with wild horses today that we have never seen before. Two more horses from the Shawnee herd joined Broadfoot between yesterday at 6 PM and 5 PM today. One of them was the big strong mare that is easily identifiable and the other was one of the older mares. More to follow on this story when I have time to fully document the experience.|
|May 23, 2022||BF||14||Today was the most fascinating day we have ever had with the wild horses since 2015. The youngest foal (foal # 4) and its mom were still missing from the herd today. More to follow on this story when I have time to fully document the experience.|
|May 22, 2022||BF||12||It was an interesting and fascinating day with the Broadfoot herd today. There were only 12 horses with four of them being the new spring foals. The youngest foal # 4 and mare were missing from the herd today, which means there should have only been 11, but there were 12! Based on some reports from others and my own observations, I realized the 12th horse was an older mare from the Shawnee Creek herd! (Clip MVI_0016, 0019.MP4) A friend told me on the 20th they spotted the Shawnee mare at Broadfoot and this coincides with what I saw too. There were reports of the Broadfoot horses being very upset about the Shawnee Creek mare, and I am guessing the new foal and mare may have left the area because of this. A friend got some photos of the Broadfoot stallion and the Shawnee mare together which indicates possibly she has been accepted into the herd. Much more to unfold with this story. I am very concerned about foal # 4 and I really hope she is alive.
|May 14, 2022||BF||0||The horses were not at Broadfoot in the evening near sunset. We suspect this was because there were several rowdy campers there with big campfires. We will circle back during the week and see if they have returned or if there are any signs of them in the area.|
|May 06, 2022||BF||13||All four foals and the herd of 13 were all present and accounted for right before sunset. Others have reported earlier this week that 2 of the foals were not present. All four of the foals look healthy. Near sunset, the horses worked their way over to the water hole next to the loop road. The foals all walked over and got a drink along with most of the other horses. The lead stallion did not try and mate with any mares during this visit.|
|April 25, 2022||BF||13||All four foals and the herd of 13 were all present and looking in great shape today. We got a chance to video all four foals today. The lead stallion (dark horse with light mane) successfully bread with one of the mares during our visit today. We saw the same thing on the 21st as well. This means winter foals will be born next year which makes me concerned based on the cold weather. The stallion is very curious. I left a tripod a few hundred yards away from where the herd was and the stallion made his way across the field to check it out. He smelled it, licked it, and was trying to eat it. Something else grabbed his attention and he quickly left.|
|April 21, 2022||BF||13||A lot has happened and changed with this herd recently. We saw the brand new less than a week-old new foal today. This makes a total of 4 foals for 2022 so far. Last week we verified that 4 horses, as discussed in my 4/14/22 notes, were rounded up, taking the herd back down to 12 members. The new foal brings the count back up to 13 now. There was a lot of romance between the lead stallion and a couple of the mares today. We got a lot of good videos of their mating behavior and some explosive reactions by the mares. All 4 foals looked healthy and good. We saw something quite unique today. At the time we didn't realize that a near-white coyote and 4 dark pups crossed the end of the fields down by the camping area. We later verified this on the video that I took. This is the second time in a month that I have seen coyotes at Broadfoot.|
|April 14, 2022||BF||2||We arrived at Broadfoot in the early afternoon and found a lone mare and foal # 1 in the tree line over by the river. We looked around and did not see the rest of the herd. We went over to Cross Country and verified they captured 4 horses from the herd, so in theory, there should be 12 now because the 4th foal was born over the weekend and took the herd count to 16 at that time. MWHL took 1 mare, 1 filly, 1 stallion, and 1 colt. I hope we get to see the 4th foal soon.|
|April 10, 2022||BF||15||We arrived at Broadfoot before sunrise and we were amazed the horses had made it back. There were recent reports by MWHL that they were across the river, so it seemed doubtful they would be back with new foals because the river is up and very swift right now. We identified 3 new foals and one mare is still very pregnant and will likely foal very soon. We were able to document their markings with a high degree of accuracy, but no gender identifications yet. It was an incredible gift to watch all of these horses and the new foals at sunrise. We got to watch some feverish mating behavior and a couple of successful mating courtships. We got both video and photos today. The herd count is up to 15 now with the new foals. We strongly expect the MWHL to capture some of the stallions from this herd soon. I was able to identify at least 4 stallions today and this is sort of funny because Shawnee Creek has none at this time.|
|April 04, 2022||BF||0||We did not find the herd today, but we heard from the MWHL that they were across the river. On 04/09/22 there was a reported sighting of 3 foals. This would mean 2 new foals were born since the first new foal the last week of March. It appears they may be back at the BF location. We will try and verify soon.|
|March 27, 2022||BF||8||Today was an exciting day. We arrived around 840 AM, and we discovered five horses in the catch pen. This was the first time we saw horses in the catch pen. They were all mares, and one of them was pregnant and looked like she was going to foal at any time. We could see the foal's legs in her rib cage. Three horses were in the pasture in front of the catch pen and then ran deep into the woods with many other horses. We followed the horses in the woods and hiked to the top of the ridge and lost any sign of them. We followed the trail to the gravel road. We walked back and watched the horses in the capture pen and enjoyed them for quite a while. We will follow up with Cross Country in a few days to determine which horses they captured and any of them they let go. We did not see the new foal today, but hopefully soon, I think the other mare will quickly be foaling.|
|March 26, 2022||BF||0||No horses were found by me around 930 AM, but the Missouri Wild Horse League reported a new foal spotted for the first time today. The colt looked a few days old based on the photo I saw. I will try and locate the herd and the new foal and take some new pictures and videos. I also confirmed that "Redbeard" from Shawnee was caught in a roundup at Broadfoot, and he is over at Cross Country going through the intake process and waiting for adoption. More on that as I know more.|
|March 25, 2022||BF||0||No horses were found - It is reported that Redbeard (a young two 1/2-year-old brown colt from the Shawnee Creek herd has moved over to the Broadfoot herd earlier this week, but I was not able to verify that today. I am looking again tomorrow, and I can hopefully confirm.|
|March 19, 2022||BF||12||Twelve Horses (verified) - No foals, two yearlings, two pregnant mares. We now know that one new foal was born between today and March 26th (the first spring foal's first sighting). I got good photos of both mares before they gave birth.|
|March 13, 2022||BF||0||I did not find the herd today, and still no signs of them in the area. They have been gone from the main fields since my last sighting one month ago on 2/13. A few days ago, someone sighted the herd in a new area across the river. NOTE: A friend let me know they found the pack back in the regular fields at daybreak on Monday (3/14), which establishes them back in the area now.|
|March 05, 2022||BF||0||I did not find the herd today, and still no signs of them in the area.
|March 02, 2022||BF||0||I did not find the herd today, and still no signs of them in the area.
|Feb. 26, 2022||BF||0||I did not find the herd today, and there were no signs of them in the area.
|Feb. 20, 2022||BF||0||I did not find the herd today. Possibly the recent high waters drove them from the standard fields? More to follow on this.
|Feb. 13, 2022||BF||12||12 Horses (verified) - No foals, two yearlings, two pregnant mares
|Feb. 12, 2022||BF||12||12 Horses (verified) - No foals, two yearlings, two pregnant mares
|Feb. 07, 2022||BF||12||12 Horses Verified - No foals, 2 Yearlings, 2 Pregnant Mares (at BF fields)
|Feb. 06, 2022||BF||12|| 12 Horses Verified - No foals (at BF fields)
|January 28, 2022||BF||0||We Did not find the herd today.|
|January 2, 2022||BF||0||We did not find the herd today.|
|August 06, 2021||BF||?||Missouri Wild Horse League Rounded Up 6 Bachelor Colts, Leaving a Reported nine horses in the herd, which is one short from my verified count of 16 on May 22, 2021. I will verify soon.|
|August 03, 2021||BF||0||I Did not find the herd today.|
|August 01, 2021||BF||0||I Did not find the herd today. MWHL has a catch pin setup in front of the fields.|
|May 22, 2021||BF||16||16 horses verified (4 foals)|
|May 09, 2021||BF||16||16 horses verified (4 foals) (1 new foal since 4/25/21)|
|April 25, 2021||BF||15||15 horses verified (3 foals)|
|January 27, 2021||BF||14||14 horses verified (first significant snow of this winter)|
|January 20, 2021||BF||14||14 horses verified (unsure about a possible 15th, need to verify again)
|January 16, 2021||BF||0||I did not find the herd today.|
|December 12, 2020||BF||15||15 horses verified at Broadfoot fields.|
|November 21, 2020||BF||15||15 horses confirmed at Broadfoot fields.|
|August 01, 2020||BF||15||15 horses verified with two foals at Broadfoot fields.|
|July 18, 2020||BF||5||Found part of the herd today in the back pocket (BF)|
|July 4, 2020||BF||0||I did not find the herd today.|
|March 29, 2020||BF||15||15 horses verified (2 foals) at Broadfoot fields.|
|March 7, 2020||BF||15||15 horses verified (2 foals now) at Broadfoot fields.|
|February 23, 2020
||BF||14||14 horses verified (1 foal) at Broadfoot fields.|
HISTORY OF THE WILD HORSES OF MISSOURI
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.
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.