Hello and welcome to our new Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates page!
We have been so busy trying to get content on this website, that we completely forgot to say a proper hello!
So, who the heck are we anyway?
Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates (CHWHA) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that was founded by Chris & Gary Kman. We now have 7 active board members that work together on our mission.
Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates was started to advocate for the actual horses living in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We have no problem helping find homes for SOME of the horses, IF they are being managed in a way that preserves the historical significance of this herd by using science and genetics to ensure that these horses continue to survive and thrive for future generations. We will NOT help sell the horses as long as Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP) management continues to decimate this herd.
My husband Gary and I moved to Southwestern North Dakota in 2016. After discovering and falling in love with the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, we found that the more we learned, the more questions we had. Questions like: If they take the majority of the babies born every year AND if the majority of the herd is 15+ years old, how does this herd of horses continue for future generations?
At first, we were led to believe that they were only taking “a few” of the horses. We were also told that taking the younger ones ensured that the older ones got to continue to live their lives wild and free. While all of that is good and fine, the question remains, if you take almost all of the younger horses every year, as the older horse die off, how does this herd continue to survive and thrive for future generations?
When we discovered that North Dakota Badlands Horse (NDBH) had a partnership agreement with Theodore Roosevelt National Park, things started to make sense. We have added their partnership agreement to our website. It can be found under our “Library” tab. To be clear, we understand that every single horse born in Theodore Roosevelt National Park cannot remain in the park under the current management of the herd. The horses that are captured and removed do need good homes. What we are against is taking EVERY horse born in the park and selling them to the highest bidder on an unregulated government surplus website that is NOT vetting its buyers. The essence of the partnership between NDBH and TRNP was that NDBH would help raise awareness of the horses in TRNP so that when it came time to capture the horses, they would have a base of interested people to buy them. Once the horses were captured, NDBH would do what they could to advertise the horses for sale. For the first three years of the agreement, NDBH was even allowed to keep the money that was raised through the sale of the horses. The understanding was that the money made would go directly back to help continue to sell horses, i.e. buying sedation darts, horse trailers, portable pens, going to horse expos to promote the horses and even helping build the current catch pens used today.
Again, they are welcome to operate in whatever way they choose as a nonprofit, but we fail to see how that behavior resonates with their mission statement: The non-profit North Dakota Badlands Horse Registry was established to register, promote, appreciate and preserve the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota that are unique to the area.
Furthermore, NDBH claims to have been documenting the history of these horses for years and often self-proclaimed themselves as the “official” record keepers of the history of these horses.
When a non-profit group is formed, they are granted nonprofit status because they are supposed to help the communities they serve. As such, their records belong to the public that has supported them through various forms of donations. Yet when you ask anyone at NDBH for any information on the history of the TRNP horses, you are told, as it is stated on their website, “This information and any pedigree information is considered confidential and may only be shared with approved organizations or individuals on a need to know basis.”
We also feel that the history of these horses is important. While we cannot capture a history we did not personally witness, we do depend on and appreciate those who have, namely Frank Kuntz from the Nokota Horse Conservancy and Eileen from Wild in North Dakota, both of whom freely share their knowledge, experiences, and history of these horses with anyone.
We are more than willing to share the information we have gathered over the years with everyone. Our goal at CHWHA is to be 100% transparent. We are continually working to update our website with the research we have compiled over the years so that you can read through it for yourself and make your own educated decisions.
More than anything, we vow to be a voice for the wild horses in TRNP that cannot speak for themselves. We promise to advocate for them to ensure that there are wild horses living wild and free in Theodore Roosevelt National Park for generations to come.
Theodore Roosevelt himself asked us to do that:
“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”
― Theodore Roosevelt