More than 100 Badlands wild horses sell during auction

Cross-posted from the Minot Daily News

Badlands Wild Horses. Image by (c) Michael Chommie.  Click image to buy this photo.
Badlands Wild Horses. Image by (c) Michael Chommie. Click image to buy this photo.

WISHEK (AP) – Theodore Roosevelt National Park sold more than 100 wild horses during a weekend auction aimed at thinning the herd to a size the park can accommodate.

The park maintains a demonstration herd of what it calls feral horses to commemorate the wild horses that roamed the badlands when Theodore Roosevelt ranched in the area during the 1880s, before he went on to the White House.

All of the horses up for bids sold during Saturday’s auction at the old Wishek Livestock barn, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

Lance, a red roan yearling, fetched $2,800 – the top price of the day. And auctioneer Clyde Meidinger said it’s the highest priced horse he’s sold in years.

Other horses commanded from $1,200 to $2,700, but most sold for about $450 each. Proceeds after commission go back to the park for the horse program.

Many of the horses were purchased in an orchestrated effort among groups and individuals to keep them out of kill barns. Nearly three dozen will be transported to Legacy Mustang conservancy in Virginia, where they will be trained and some will be adopted.

“This was a team effort,” said Deb Fjetland, a member of the North Dakota Badlands Horse. “I could not be happier.”

Meidinger said he called the kill buyers and told them not to come.

“I told ’em the sale would probably go smoother if they stayed home,” Meidinger said.

More than 90 people picked up bid cards and 38 buyers from California, Canada, Virginia and states in between left with horses.

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Michael Chommie, Mountain Vistas Photography >>

6 thoughts on “More than 100 Badlands wild horses sell during auction”

  1. Yes, not all wild horses are followed so no kill buyers buy them – this is a total shame. The USFWS of the Theo Roosevelt National Park, like all others, say these horses are feral and not native. They need to be educated or be replaced by those who are educated. Just recently, the USFWS just gave about 200 wild horses stampeded from Sheldon Wildlife Refuge, northern Nevada, to Stan Palmer of J&S Associates. Palmer and J&S have not been able to account for previous wild horses sold to them, but the USFWS did it again. They will most likely repeat this again next year until all wild horses are gone from Sheldon Wildlife Refuge, Nevada side. Another major problem is that wildlife advocates lump all grazers as harmful to eco-system including wild equines whom they purport to be feral and not native. These are Defenders of Wildlife, WildEarth Guardians, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, and Nature Conservancy invites hunters to kill deer on their properties, so they can’t be for horses either. The oil/gas drillers have taken over Wyoming and most of the wild horses will be gone from there or be rendered non-reproducing. All the letters, phone calls and faxes seem not to do any good.

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    1. First of all, thank you for your comments Chris.

      As I am sure you know already, this is decades old entrenched local and national thinking that is not likely to change easily. Insofar as the wildlife “advocates”, they are like a lot of domestic animal advocates who care but not always as informed as they could be about horses. All animals are unique and individual. They all need to eat, drink, sleep and reproduce to survive. Other than that, traits distinctive to their type can vary widely.

      It is difficult to swallow that wild / feral horses are so destructive, when there were 10 million of them on public lands in 10 States just a few decades ago. Now there appears to be somewhere around 25,000 to 35,000 left. How much trouble can they really cause? They did not. They cannot. Other countries have learned the hard way. And when they have destroyed their ranges through human mismanagement they have re-introduced wild horses to rejuvenate the lands.

      Broke down America with its shut down government. What an embarrassment this country has become to itself here, and around the world. Can’t seem to get anything right these days.

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      1. Thank you too, √ivian. I’m interested in your comment of a country reintroducing “wild horses to rejuvenate the lands.” Was that country England? How did they succeed in land rejuveniation?

        If government agencies and industry succeeds in destroying our wild horses, their DNA will be gone, and it may never be possible to find out if equines truly died out in North America or whether that is just a convenient coverup. It has been established that equines are native to the North American tectonic plate, but since their DNA was found in Alaska from roughly 4000 BC or even later, it is well past the time some say equines died out. More likely small herds did survive the Ice Age and mated with the Spanish horses to create the millions by the 1800s. I still have a hard time imagining that number of horses on the plains, because they aren’t like the bison that migrated by the millions.

        Otherwise, yes what’s going on right now is ridiculous even embarrassing, and how some so flippantly say they don’t miss government is childish and could be dangerous. It will be really worse the closer we get to 10-17. Things will have to return normal (?) soon. :)

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  2. You can see just how close the auction owners work with the kill buyers. Of course the auction owners make money when the killers are there buying up the horses. This is why anyone that was looking for a horse were always outbid by the killers. A lot of the auctions have their after hours auctions just for the killers, I think this is where all of the breeders used up brood mares go when they are done with them. Of course none of the breeders would ever consider giving these horse a little training so they can find homes.

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  3. I’m happy to read that everything worked as planned and that now they are going to their new homes to start their happy new beginnings. Adapting to the life of being domesticated may take time, but, with much love and patience, will prosper along with their human companions. Congratulations to everyone on their victorious efforts to make sure that these beautiful creatures wind up in good homes! :D

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    1. I couldn’t agree more Starry… If it were up to me there would be an orchestrated effort like this at every one of these auctions. Keeping the horses out of kill barns and putting into loving homes is a great ending to this story.

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