Broken Arrow rancher saving the survivors of the American West

Tuesday, October 19th 2004, 5:59 am
By: News On 6

You've seen the image, the American cavalry riding to the rescue. Now, a piece of that history can be found on a Broken Arrow area ranch.

News on 6 reporter Steve Berg has more on the horse's tale.

A century ago horses helped America tame the West. "I just think it's important that we preserve this." Broken Arrow Rancher Gary Kolpek found out the government was selling off wild horses from a Nevada reserve because of overpopulation.

And he jumped at the chance to get horses he says are born survivors. "These horses are just genetically gifted. I mean these horses have survived the elements, y'know, 20 to 30 degree below weather, these are some hardy horses."

"Not only survive but thrive." Don Hansen is donating the use of his land in exchange for one of the mares. And he feels like he owns a piece of history. These are believed to be descendants of the last horses used by the U.S. Cavalry.

The Cavalry philosophy was simple, a trooper without a horse, walks. So they were meticulous with the care and breeding of the horses. Eventually though, in the late 30's, technology overtook even the best horses. "On the very last day when they were decommissioning all these horses, they had this parade and it must have been fantastic."

Kolpek is eager to see what he can do with this lineage. They have a surprisingly serene quality. And even the stress of travel and the harsh, dry Nevada mountains haven't diminished their stature much. "They've been handicapped by the food source. When they hit Oklahoma, the next two or three generations comin' out of here, they'll be awesome, they'll be as nice as any quarter house out there, they will be."

Kolpek plans to sell the offspring of these horses, but not the original herd. To find out more about Kolpek's plans, check out the web site.