Craig Day, News On 6
OSAGE COUNTY, Oklahoma -- The Bureau of Land Management gave News On 6 the chance to tour an area in Osage County that is a part of its wild horse and burro program.
The tall grass and wide open prairie of Osage County is one of the most beautiful places in Oklahoma. Just as impressive as the scenery, are the wild horses that now call the area home.
"They're enduring and the loyalty that they bring when they get around human beings is incredible to me," said BLM Spokesperson Debbie Collins.
3400 wild horses roam the ranch as part of the Bureau of Land Management's wild horse and burro program.
It's one of nine horse holding ranches in Oklahoma, where the BLM keeps the federally protected animals until they can be adopted.
"Oklahoma has a lot to be proud for, if they're not aware of it, they're playing a big part in preserving our western heritage," Collins said.
Altogether, there are 38,000 wild horses and burros roaming BLM managed rangelands in ten western states.
the problem is, since wild horses have virtually no natural predators, their herd can double in size in just four years.
To control that growth, thousands of those horses are rounded up each year and brought to holding ranches like the one in Osage County.
The BLM says in many ways, Oklahoma is ideal for the horses. There's adequate water and our native grasses are high in protein.
"We can take less land, but provide a much healthier habitat for the wild horses," explained Collins.
The rocky terrain also helps to naturally trim the horse's hooves. But most of all, it's the people of Oklahoma, with our rich ranching history.
"Just can't say enough about the great stewardship they have provided for the horses and the land they are on," Collins said.
With fewer adoptions of horses because of rising land and food prices, there is a growing need for places like the ranch in Osage County. Places of beauty for animals as magnificent as their surroundings.
The Bureau of Land Management arranged the tour to counter what they call recent misconceptions that the horses in the program are just warehoused and forgotten.
Adoption events are held every month in Oklahoma.