Community
11:33 pm
Sun April 27, 2014

The Wild Horses Of The Flint Hills

Mustangs at breakfast on the Triple 7 Ranch.
Mustangs at breakfast on the Triple 7 Ranch.
Credit Aileen LeBlanc

The wild horses of the west are being managed by the federal government with 71 million tax dollars. Some people believe that the herds are growing too large and that the horses are over populating the western public lands, taking up resources that could be used for cattle, wildlife and recreation use. But extra feral horses can't be shot or slaughtered and few are adopted. So thousands are shipped to the Midwest for safekeeping on large ranches. KMUW's Aileen LeBlanc visited a herd of wild mustangs in the Flint Hills near Cassoday.

It’s not hard to see in your mind the Indians that lived in these hills thousands of years ago -  long before there were horses or white men. With the exception of a few widely spaced fences and one interstate which runs through it, the Flint Hills of Kansas carry their history right on the surface.

Mares at the lake in the Flint Hills
Mares at the lake in the Flint Hills
Credit Aileen LeBlanc

Brome hay stacked on the ranch.
Brome hay stacked on the ranch.
Credit Aileen LeBlanc

Pat Williams with the Bureau of Land Management on the Triple 7 Ranch.
Pat Williams with the Bureau of Land Management on the Triple 7 Ranch.
Credit Aileen LeBlanc

The horses here are all breeds and all colours. On a windy day they wait patiently for a truck to unroll a big round bale of brome hay for breakfast.

Please listen to the link above for the full story.

Geldings in a separate pasture eating brome hay.
Geldings in a separate pasture eating brome hay.
Credit Aileen LeBlanc

Geldings spooked by cameraman.
Geldings spooked by cameraman.
Credit Aileen LeBlanc

Geldings finding the best breakfast.
Geldings finding the best breakfast.
Credit Aileen LeBlanc

Fury with her friends.
Fury with her friends.

Geldings having morning meal.
Geldings having morning meal.
Credit Aileen LeBlanc

Geldings being suspicious of human in big blue coat.
Geldings being suspicious of human in big blue coat.
Credit Aileen LeBlanc

Fury with BLM neck brand.
Fury with BLM neck brand.
Credit Aileen LeBlanc

Gelding snacking in the wind.
Gelding snacking in the wind.
Credit Aileen LeBlanc

My Friend Fury.
My Friend Fury.
Credit Aileen LeBlanc

This story originally aired on Morning Edition on Feb. 11, 2014.

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Please check out coverage of the western wild horses from our partner on this story:

  http://www.opb.org/mustangs/