Wild horses are a marvel to witness. Christopher Columbus brought horses back to North America after they died off during the Pleistocene, dropping them off in Mexico before they eventually moved up into the American Great Plains nearly 600 years ago. Horses were, however, domesticated long before their return to North America.
Horses have played many roles throughout history since they were domesticated. Horses have played the role of equipment for farmers, travel for families, and right-hand men for soldiers. They have played some very important roles in the evolution of human beings.
Wild horses, on the other hand, have played a role entirely of their own volition. Wild horses help graze wild lands, they help prevent fires, and they aid fellow grazers during the winter by breaking apart deep-crusted snow to expose grass underneath.
Watching wild horses run through plains is a sight to behold. They run with such freedom and prance around, bucking with joy and whipping their long, overgrown manes in a playful manner. However, wild horses are becoming more and more scarce as the need for domesticated horses rises.
Horses once ruled the great plains, forming large herds and running wild. Now, wild horses are concentrated in only a few areas because people fear they will overgraze land and make it untillable and therefore un-fertilized.
It may seem difficult to find a wild herd of horses to photograph and watch in amazement. Difficult maybe, but not impossible. Finding a place in North America to view horses is easy if you know where to look. Below, you can find a list of places that commonly house wild horses.
The Virginia Range, Nevada
This location is actually a sanctuary for wild horses, where they can roam and breed without fear of extinction. Though this sanctuary is a home for all wildlife, the folks who run it know they have reached success by their immense wild horse population.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
The wild horses that live here operate as an attraction to visitors and tourists. The population of horses here grows so large they can be seen running in vast herds through the park. The National Park even offers the opportunity to adopt horses.
The Pryor Mountains, Montana & Wyoming
These mountains are home to some of the most incredible horses in existence, the wild mustang. These horses have been the symbol of iconic America since the days of the frontier. The Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center works every day to uphold the safety and prowess of these incredible creatures.
Outer Banks, North Carolina
Wild Horse Adventure Tours opened in the Outer Banks to make spotting these awesome wild horses even easier. Spanish mustangs find a home in this area where they have tons of access to water and grass to graze, as well as beaches to run down.
Assateague Island, Virginia & Maryland
The horses that have become so famous in this region are feral horses who were once domesticated and reverted back to their wild state. Some natives believe these horses survived a shipwreck off the Virginia coastline and have grown since then. Many surfers also travel to this area to experience some great waves and the awe of watching horses run wild in the whitewash.
Sable Island, Nova Scotia, Canada
Sable Island horses have made a name for themselves in history. Several books have been written to discuss the beauty and majesty of these incredible wild horses. This island is home to over 470 shipwrecks and countless more years of history.
Wild horses can be found in many other regions in North America as well. Wild horses run free in Idaho because of its vast expanses of public land. Here, horses can run through many different climates, from mountains to valleys to great plains.
Texas is also home to many wild horses, both horses that originated there and horses that traveled to Texas from Mexico. The benefits of horse-watching in Texas are twofold: you can watch the amazing herds of wild horses run wild, and you can watch them run wild nearly all year round because Texas is a great travel spot, even in the winter and fall.
If you have a love-affair with horses, watching wild horses live in their most natural state will be nothing but a treat for you. Next summer, plan a family trip to the closest location to you, whether it’s Virginia or Wyoming. Wild horses are incredible, no matter where they are roaming, and unfortunately, they may not roam for much longer, so get your trip started as quickly as you can!