The Ozark National
Scenic Riverways is the home of the only
Wild Horse herds in the Midwest!
The Missouri Wild Horse League was
formed in 1992 to protect and maintain a small band of wild horses,
approximately 20, which roam the lands surrounding the Current and Jack's Fork
Rivers in Shannon County, Missouri. The horses have been running free for
over 100 years. These horses are believed to have originated mainly from
domestic animals that were freed during the Depression years due to the
inability of the farmers to feed them. The national Park Service considers
these horses feral animals and decided, in 1991, that they should no longer be
allowed to roam freely on federal lands.
A small group of concerned citizens
formed the Missouri Wild Horse League to try to prevent the removal of these
animals. Doug Kennedy, an attorney from Poplar Bluff, Missouri, took
interest in the case and decided to help out with the legal aspects involved.
He filed numerous appeals to the courts in both the state of Missouri and
Supreme Court of the United States. In 1993 the U.S. Supreme Court denied
the final appeal and gave the National Park Service the right to remove the
horses from federal land at their discretion. There were numerous attempts
to work out a compromise with the Park Service, but the park superintendent who
was interested only in removing the animals denied all attempts.
In Late 1994 Congressman Bill Emerson
became personally involved in trying to protect the small band of horses.
He sponsored a bill, which eventually became a law; to make the herd of horses a
permanent part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. The bill was signed
into law by then President Bill Clinton on October 3, 1996. With the
involvement of Congressman Emerson came the attention of Senators Kit Bond and
John Ashcroft. These gentlemen were ultimately the saviors of this band of
In 1997 The Missouri Wild Horse
League began cleaning up the fields specified in the bill and are working
successfully today with the National Park Service on other issues as well.
The horses are in good condition and number approximately 35 at the current
time. They can be seen at different times of the day grazing in the
Broadfoot fields located north of Eminence, in the Shawnee fields located east
of Eminence, or in the fields above Two Rivers on Highway V east of Eminence.
If you would like to try to spot them, call the Missouri Wild Horse League and
they will be glad to give you directions to these locations or ask almost anyone
in town how to get there. There were several stallions in the herds and
they have begun to take some of them out to prevent overpopulation. The
stallions are gelded, wormed, and blood is pulled for a coggins test.
After they receive the results of the blood test and get the paperwork back on
them they are put up for adoption.
For more information, contact the
Missouri Wild Horse League at the address below or visit their website:
PO Box 301
Eminence Missouri Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 415, Eminence, MO 65466
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