We Americans are inspired by our wild horses. We marvel at the sight of them living wild and free on our public rangelands, of stallions fighting for their family bands, of newborn foals learning to stand for the first time, of herds on the move to their grazing grounds and water holes. These incredible animals are living symbols of the American West, of our connection to its vast, untamed rangelands and of the role horses played in the building of our great nation.
Decades ago, when the public learned that they were being abused, exploited and even killed by private profiteers, we rallied behind Congress to pass the Wild Free-Roaming Wild Horses and Burros Act and cheered as our beloved wild horses moved into a new era, one in which they would be celebrated and protected. As a result of this new law, the Bureau of Land Management was charged with managing our wild horses and burros in a way that was humane and preserved their cherished place on our public rangelands. Wild horse advocates believed that protecting and guaranteeing these animals’ freedom would be job one for the agency.