Coming To America
No animal made as great a contribution to the history of this country as did the horse. A native of the New World, the horse had disapperared from the Americas long before man set foot in this hemisphere. Only fossil remains of extinct species remained to identify this as their original home. When Europeans came to this continent, the modern horse came with them.
With the spread of settlement and the horses that provided transportation and power, it was but a matter of time before escaped animals became large bands roaming the country. By the 1700s, thousands of feral horses, domesticated animals returned to the wild, were found throughout the West and Southwest.
Descended from Spanish, Arabian, and English stock, many horses escaped from, or were released into the wild country along Bighorn Canyon by native Americans, ranchers, and homesteaders. In this feral state many of the characteristics of their wild ancestors reoccurred, lending to the survival of the horses.
Long after most of the great herds of feral horses that once roamed the West had been captured or destroyed, the herd in the remote Bighorn Country was allowed to remain relatively undisturbed.
A Last Vestige Of The Old West
Finally, in order to protect one of these last vestiges of the West, the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range was established by Congress in 1966. Located in the southern portion of the recreation area, the Wild Horse Range can be reached on the Bad Pass Road (Wyoming Hwy. 37) by way of Lovell, Wyoming, and Horseshoe Bend. Administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the herd size is maintained to protect the range, forage, and water supply, and to insure the health of the herd and guarantee its survival.
As the need arises, the herd is rounded up and the horses examined for disease. Under the Adopt-A-Horse Program, animals in excess of the range’s carrying capacity are put up for adoption. In this way, the herd is guaranteed adequate space to roam, and a bit of western Americana lives on.
Click here to visit the BLM Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range Page