Monday, August 6, 2012

Yakima Wild Horses

The horse played a profound role in shaping the Washington State landscape. Horses arrived in the Pacific Northwest well ahead of the arrival of Americans and Europeans. By the time Lewis and Clark arrived in 1805, horses were already an integral part of the landscape, society and economy. What Lewis and Clark observed was much different than what an expedition would have seen if one had ventured west in say 1600. The horse had altered how people in the Pacific Northwest lived and how they traded. Indeed, it is hard to imagine the Lewis and Clark succeeding if the various tribes of the inland Pacific Northwest had not had horses.

The steel beast that many of us ride today arrived in the early 1900s also altered the landscape. In the Pacific Northwest as well as other places the steel beast brought an end to the periodic round ups of horses off of the open range lands wild-horses-and-prairie-in-sky.

On the Yakima Indian Reservation a small wild horse population has grown too much and the range cannot sustain the population. This challenge is one shared by land managers throughout the west scrub steppe land.  

This particular band of horses were not cooperative:


Wendy Harris said...

Dan, those horse looked pretty darn healthy to me. Even the babies were able to escape round-up. It is my understanding that the fate of captured horses is usually not a good one.

S Sarlis said...

Where are these horses going????

Dan McShane said...

Well this group got away. Some are adopted, but I believe a fair numebr are taken to slaughter for meat.