The last few months have been a whirlwind for so many reasons! I kept thinking that after the comment period for the management plan for the wild horses at Theodore Roosevelt National Park was done, that my life would go back to some kind of “normal”. I am finding instead that I have to adjust to a whole NEW “normal”!
There is and continues to be A LOT (understatement) happening behind the scenes. We can’t always talk about these things in the moment, sometimes we have to wait for other parties to give us permission to share and sometimes we just need more time to get the rest of the story together for you.
Today we have a better look into something that has been happening behind the scenes for you. We expect to have more to share on other topics this week, so be sure to check back or hit the subscribe button on our home page.
In 1999, Frank Kuntz and his late brother Leo joined a few others and started what has come to be known as The Nokota Horse Conservancy (NHC). The purpose of this nonprofit group was to save the unique breed of wild horses that were being sold from Theodore Roosevelt National Park before the park introduced new blood. The brothers knew that what the park was proposing would have lasting impacts on the horses in the park. That unique breed of horses is now known as the Nokota horse. Frank and Leo come from a family that values and understands horses. They were originally interested in the horses for the “suicide” races they were participating in. It didn’t take these then young men just returning from Vietnam too long to see how special these horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park were – BEYOND their amazing racing abilities.
The two brothers dedicated their lives to these horses. They worked hard to raise awareness for the Nokota horses. Because of their hard work and advocacy, the Nokota horses are the state of North Dakota’s honorary equine. Frank and Leo donated the original horses to the organization they formed (the NHC). They have traveled countless number of miles and have talked to thousands of people to raise awareness for the Nokota horses.
Leo passed away in 2018 as a result of an ATV accident while he was checking on the herd of horses. Frank has remained dedicated to the Nokota horses and the nonprofit he and his brother helped create. Frank continued to not only care for his own personal herd of Nokota horses, which currently includes 185 horses, but the NHC’s herd of 90+ Nokota horses as well.
Around the same time that Theodore Roosevelt National Park announced their plans to eliminate the ENTIRE herd of horses from the park, the NHC voted Frank off the board of the nonprofit he created. After being voted off the board of the nonprofit that he and his late brother created, the NHC also abruptly terminated their contract with him as Herd Manager, a paid position he has held for years.
In case being a Vietnam Vet wasn’t enough…
In case saving a breed of horses wasn’t enough…
In case starting a nonprofit and spending countless hours advocating for the Nokota horses wasn’t enough…
Now being kicked off the board of that nonprofit AND being told that he has to leave IMMEDIATELY from the land he has rented for decades WITH his 185 horses IN the middle of a very snowy North Dakota winter – seems to just be the icing on the cake to this story.
To add to the story, Frank’s daughter Christa and his wife Shelly were also both voted off the board by the NHC.
As of February 2023, for the first time since its creation, there are NO members of the Kuntz family on the board of directors for the Nokota Horse Conservancy.
Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates has been very vocal in our support to Frank Kuntz and his dedication to preserving the Nokota horse over the years. We also enjoy advocating WITH Frank for the wild horses that still currently call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home.
Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates is not interested in the drama that created this moment. We ARE interested in helping Frank at a time when he REALLY needs it.
Frank and his family know that they have the full support of Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates. After speaking with our legal advisors and Frank and his family, Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates, as a 501(c)(3) organization, will be accepting donations specifically for Frank and his Nokota horses during this period of transition. That means that your donation to us for Frank and his horses is tax deductible! Frank is walking away from the NHC without any of the funding he helped raise over the years through his hard work and dedication to the horses and the nonprofit. He is literally starting from scratch.
The immediate need is for land for Frank’s personal 185 horses. If you are in North Dakota and have or know of land for sale or lease, please email us at email@example.com.
You can donate to directly to Frank through any of the ways listed on our website: https://chwha.org/support-chwha/ We do ask that you please make a note letting us know the donation is specifically for Frank and his Nokota horses.
We have also set up a separate Go Fund Me specifically for Frank and his Nokota horses: https://gofund.me/db42dd3c
We have added all of this information to a new section of our website: https://chwha.org/frank-kuntz-nokota-horses/
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Thank you for your support and check back for more of the behind the scenes happenings as we adjust to our new normal!