Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Yakama Wild Horses

Yakama tribe has about 5,000 wild horses on their lands. They are unaffected by BLM laws, and are adoptable at $100 a head.

We believe the horse was always here, yes, even before the Spanish arrived. I understand paleontologists say the horse was hunted to extinction. Believe what you like. We have songs that talk about long, long ago, songs that honor the horse.

Call me crazy if you wish, but I have a lot of respect for native Americans. When I went on a geology field trip lecture to Crater Lake National Park, it was an interesting learning experience not only for the geology but for the history as well (keep reading, this will be horse related).
There were verbal tribe stories going back more than 7,000 years about the eruption of Mt Mazama to form crater lake -- 250 GENERATIONS!
It is amazing to me that a culture's history could be so well preserved, when today you have teenagers who don't even know about the founding of this country, not a very long time ago in comparison.

Getting back to horses, who is to say they haven't also carried down stories orally about the original horse, before its extinction?
And has DNA testing been done on this herd to see what the ancestry is like?

Hmmm... I wonder what (if anything) would change if a herd of horses were to be found genetically matched to the native horses. Would they be protected as a native species instead of considered feral/invasive?

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  • Glad to see you liked my image of the black horse. If you are interested in more images of wild horses on the Yakama Reservation go to

    By Blogger Gaylord, at 8:53 PM, July 15, 2008  

  • I learned recently that the horse populations on native lands has grown so quickly that it's becoming a problem.

    They have to find a way to finance the gelding of their stallions to stop the overpopulation and manage the herd.

    I also heard that some tribes have considered putting a slaughter facility on their reservations to eliminate the excess.

    I don't know if that's the case with the Yakimas, but it's just food for thought.

    By Blogger Angela, at 10:37 PM, May 14, 2009  

  • I personally spent two months with a band of over 100 wild horses in status washington and it was the most amazing experience I have ever had . I bought 3 mares and 3 foals from a native american who water traps the horses and then sells them to processors in canada for 10 cents a pound for the meat. The horses are wild, and they are wonderful . I have pictures and videos of me working with the lead mare and the other 2 mares that I purchased and then let go in a non-horse chasing area. Overpopulation was not a problem in the 3 herds that I observed there were 4 new foals in one herd, 3 in another and 5 foals in the largest herd that i kept tabs on . The true problem is that the horses (hill rats as the natives of yakama refer to them) invade farmers land and eat up the food that would otherwise be eaten by the cows and the deer and other native wild life. As stated by the man that caught the horses I had bought for 150$ for a mare and foal as a set "I don't eat horse meat but I do love deer meat" . If the Yakama nation indian tribe were serious about solving the "overpopulation of wild horses " they would set aside a large piece of land with year round running water and they would trap the wild horses and geld the stallions and turn them loose on this fenced piece of land. If this were done they could then come back six months later and dart the new colts and geld them as well , with no stallion to breed with the mares there wouldnt be any increase in the herd the next year. Just a suggestion. Or you can just let it be and let nature do as nature has always done the strong will survive and the weak will perish, the smartest wild horses will evade capture and produce offspring will learn to do the same. The wild horse will survive as they have done for all of these generations past. --carrie

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:16 PM, March 27, 2011  

  • Dear Anonymous. Thanks for your comments. I suggest you contact Jim Stephenson, large animal biologist for the Yakama Nation Wildlife Program and offer your advice and experience. jstephen@yakama.com

    Or contact Gina King, Interum Mgr of Wildlife Programs gking@Yakama.com

    Better yet call (509) 865-5121 and ask for Jim or Gina.
    Both are seriously looking for meaningful and effective solutions to the Dilemma of the wildhorses.

    By Blogger Gaylord, at 9:07 PM, March 27, 2011  

  • Twenty years ago I was told that there were no more wild horses in Washington State; twenty years ago that person was wrong. When I was a child, my father would take a friend and me to the auction houses in Quincy and Ellensburg. What we'd see in one row of horses were all colors of young horses, both short and tall pasture-fat untrained horses, over-fat and foundered horses in incredible pain that oozed from their eyes; what we'd see were horses with broken legs that had healed useless; what we'd see were domestic horses in agony. Across the aisle we'd see were mini replicas of the domestic horses, all of these wild "shitters" were the same color, a dark bay, nearly black, with long manes, dragging tails and some with foals at their sides. Because these horses didn't fit into human society anymore, because they were lame, infirm, or needed care, including wild in some cases, they were thrown away most were marked "kill only".

    With this in mind, these vivid images that repeated and renewed themselves during many weekends of my childhood, having had this education, and now have been a life-long horse owner and advocate - I say from my experiences - the solution is in education.

    Education that ensures both the public and the legislations that are in control are on the same page and understand the plight of the wild horse and the many directions it is viewed upon by the eyeing public.

    Education which brings to light the plight of the wild horse as it is, right now, in the fall, with no feed left on the Yakama Reservation to sustain a rabbit, much less 30,000 horses. Death by starvation in such huge numbers in this case would be man-made, because the problem was numbers of excessive horses is man-made in the first place; but unless man can educate himself to find the solution, nature will have her way and these horses, innocent of any accusation except surviving, must pay the man-made price of their lives.

    If you have any pertinent information I could use and cite while writing an article today (10-19-12) regarding the issue of the wild horses on the Yakama Reservation that may help these horses now or in the future, please email me at desertrein@hotmail.com

    By Blogger literary cowgirl, at 9:57 AM, October 19, 2012  

  • Please have a look at these pages


    for some valuable info on the tribal awareness of the plight of the horses and the severe problems in executing any meaning soloutions.

    Finally, for information on current actions please contact Jim Stevenson at Yakama Nation Wildlife Headqurters.

    By Anonymous http://www.angelfire.com/trek/wildhorses/, at 1:41 PM, October 19, 2012  

  • Almost forgot--
    You might be interested in this connection to the Yakama Wild Horses.


    By Anonymous Gaylord Mink, at 1:59 PM, October 19, 2012  

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