The wild horse herd in Theodore Roosevelt National Park is an older herd, as you can see by the photos below. We have chosen to list the horses by age to highlight this fact.
The horses listed above that were born between 1998-2006. They are between the ages of 15-23 years of age. The sad reality is that within the next 5 years, we will say some sad goodbyes to most, if not all of these horses.
6 of these horses: Stallion Circus, Mare Winter, Stallion Cloud, Mare Twister, Mare Blondie, and Mare Diamond have NO offspring of their own left in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
An additional 7 of these horses only have offspring because of Mother Nature: Covid, drought, wildfires, etc., that have held off the usual captures of the young horses from this herd. Those horses are: Stallion Brutus, Mare Little Gray, Stallion Coal, Stallion Georgia’s Boy, Mare Mist, Mare River and Mare Ember’s Girl. If the park is allowed to continue to capture all of the horses they can get to between the age of 4 months and 3 years, we fear that we will lose the bloodlines of these 7 horses in addition to the horses listed in the paragraph above.
The horses listed next represent the largest age population in TRNP. These are the horses that were born in 2014. The last big round up in TRNP happened in 2013. Around that time, TRNP also got a new wildlife biologist who has since incorporated the low stress captures being used today as well as targeting all the young horses for removal.
In 2014, there were no horses captured in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. That changed in 2015. Every horse born in 2015 was eventually captured and sold, with the exception of one horse – Stallion Grady. Grady was able to avoid capture because his band’s territory was deep in the center of TRNP. The terrain of the badlands tends to get more rugged as you venture off the main road. This makes it hard for the capture team to maneuver through that terrain to capture horses.
In 2016, there were 46 live births in TRNP. Sadly, 4 of those babies did not survive. Of the 42 horses that thrived that year, only the following 3 were not captured and sold and remain in TRNP today. They were left, the same as Grady, because the terrain in the area where their bands were in was too rough to attempt their capture.
30 foals born in 2017. Only 2 that were born in 2017 were not captured and sold.
In 2017, because of the results of mitochondrial DNA research, two fillies born in 2017 were spared from being captured and auctioned off like the rest of their 2017 counterparts : 2017 Filly Perdita (Pretty Girl x Red Face) and 2017 Filly Aurora (Dawn x Brutus).
The mitochondrial DNA research on these TRNP horses show that they share female ancestry with Asian, middle East, and Italian horse DNA. That sequence follows the migration patterns of humans and animals.
This proves that the starting point for horses is and will always be the North American continent and that proof is right here within the DNA of these two beautiful mares that currently still call TRNP home.
TRNP welcomed 28 new foals in 2018. Sadly 8 foals “failed to thrive”. Of the 20 foals that did thrive, only 2 remain in the park today: Mare Patience and Stallion Cagney. Patience and Cagney were part of the same band as Grady was in 2015. The rugged terrain and the location of the band is the only reason that these two were not captured and sold like the rest of the 2018 babies.
36 babies were born in 2019. Sadly 10 “failed to thrive”. In the fall of 2019, 9 babies, age 4 months to 6 months old, were captured and sold. Because of the COVID pandemic in 2020 and the extreme drought conditions in 2021, no other 2019 babies have been removed – YET. There are still 17 2019 “babies” currently living in TRNP. Their fate is still in the hands of TRNP park management and their plans for 2022 when they resume the capture and auction of the TRNP horses.
In 2020, there were 42 new foals born into the TRNP herd. Sadly 7 of those foals “failed to thrive”. There were no round ups in 2020 due to COVID but in the spring of 2021, 4 horses between the ages of 8 months and 1 year old were captured and sold. Because of the extreme drought conditions in 2021, no other 2020 babies have been removed – YET. There are still 31 2020 “babies” currently living in TRNP. Their fate is still in the hands of TRNP park management and their plans for 2022 when they resume the capture and auction of the TRNP horses.
2021 has (so far) brought 26 new foals to the TRNP herd. Sadly, 4 of those 26 “failed to thrive”. The fate of the 22 remaining horses is yet to be seen. Captures are expected to resume in the spring of 2022.
2022 has brought 15 new foals to the TRNP herd. Sadly, 5 of those 15 “failed to thrive”.