I had heard a couple months ago that there was a herd of Bureau of Land Management mustangs in a pasture in the Flint Hills, and on our most recent trip there, this was what I most wanted to see.
A little background on BLM mustangs: According to the Bureau of Land Management website:
“The BLM estimates that approximately 38,500 wild horses and burros are roaming on BLM-managed rangelands in 10 Western states, based on the latest data available. Wild horses and burros have virtually no natural predators and their herd sizes can double about every four years. As a result, the agency must remove thousands of animals from the range each year to control herd sizes.
Off the range, there are more than 47,000 other wild horses and burros that are fed and cared for at 21 short-term corrals and 23 long-term pastures. (As of February 2012, there were more than 15,600 in corrals and over 31,400 horses in Midwestern pastures.) Animals gathered off the range are initially taken to short-term corrals to be examined by a veterinarian; receive vaccinations and a freezemark; and prepared to enter the BLM’s adoption program or sent to long-term pastures if they are over the age of six.
The long-term holding ranches under BLM contract range in size from 1,100 acres to 46,000 acres on which the wild horses are free to roam.”
The mustangs here are in what is referred to above as a “long-term” pasture.
These horses are older and not deemed suitable for adoption, so the BLM pays the landowner to house them here. (Same deal for the mustang herd on the Pioneer Woman website.)
On our visit, the herd was spread out all over the pasture and most of them too far away to photograph. A few were close enough though, so I whipped out my 400mm lens.
It was a warm afternoon, and some of them had sought shade beneath the trees. I loved this group.
Look how long the mane is on the horse on the left.
I love how the clouds were casting shadows that day..sun here, shade there, and more sun over there..
Look how the sun peeped out and highlighted this lone horse…
We’ll be visiting the horses again sometime…..
——-Up Next: Flint Hills close-ups: Prairie wildflowers, old forgotten rosebushes, a limestone schoolhouse, and an abandoned storm cellar.