By Paula Morin
Horses were a part of the yank West because the first Spanishexplorers introduced their European-bred steeds onto the recent continent.Soon thereafter, a few of these horses, misplaced or deserted via theirowners or captured through indigenous peoples, grew to become the root ofthe nice herds of mustangs (from the Spanish mesteno, stray) thatcontinue to roam the West and play a distinct position in its tradition, financial system, and mythology. Photographer/oral historian Paula Morin firstbecame drawn to the parable and lives of the mustangs while shebegan photographing them
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Extra info for Honest Horses: Wild Horses in the Great Basin
Theirs is not an easy task. Thus we come to the present and the continuing dilemma of what to do with wild horses on and oV the range. With no natural predators, wild horse herds multiply at an average of 18–24 percent each year, quickly overgrazing any landscape, regardless of size, if their numbers are left unchecked. Uncontrolled horse populations are a threat not only to themselves but to the habitat itself and to the other creatures who share the range with them. Currently blm is continuing its eVorts to bring horse numbers down to an appropriate and sustainable level.
Every one of those regulations points to an earlier disaster, to something that didn’t go right. Some folks are also under the impression that wild horse populations are self-determining. The term “density dependent” is a wildlife concept which says that when habitat becomes limiting with certain species, their reproductive rate falls oV and the mortality rate with older animals increases so the population stabilizes with the environment. Well, that works with native species that evolve within a particular habitat, but wild horses are an introduced species in a habitat that evolved without them, without any natural predators, so it doesn’t work the same.
S. Army remount program oVered a stable economic incentive. S. Cavalry and then sold them either to the American military or to other foreign armies. After the remount program was disbanded, those horses that had not been claimed, rounded up, and sold turned feral as well. Throughout this period tens of thousands of animals—sheep, cattle, and horses—roamed free on the public domain. In the Great Basin, eVorts to manage and cull mustang herds generally remained local and private, although a few fortunes were made capturing wild horses when timing and opportunities were right.
Honest Horses: Wild Horses in the Great Basin by Paula Morin