The Best Places to See Wild Horses in North America
The wild mustang, free from the constraints of a saddle and spurs, roaming the great expanse with a wind-swept mane, has long been a powerful symbol of the American West, particularly in film and literature. Protected by Congress since the mid-20th century (western ranchers, claiming horses took valuable grazing resources away from cattle, began killing off the herds), wild horses of all breeds have a majestic beauty to them that makes them an attraction for animal and nature lovers.
Although management efforts have not been without controversy, today, there are approximately 60,000 free-roaming horses in the United States and Canada combined. While the Bureau of Land Management considers the horses to be wild, they more accurately fit the definition of feral, which means they are free-roaming descendants of domesticated horses. Regardless of the label, there is no denying the majestic nature of these beautiful creatures. Preservation societies and government agencies alike encourage the public to visit and view North America’s wild horses, provided it's done from a respectful distance.
Here are some of the best places to see wild horses in North America:
The Pryor Mountains are home to about 160 free-roaming horses, who mostly live in the northeast region of the mountain region near Bighorn Canyon. Many of the horses display distinctive markings—a long dorsal stripe along the back and "zebra-like" coloration on their legs—and are smaller than the average wild horse.
The horses of Assateague first received worldwide attention thanks to Marguerite Henry’s 1947 Newbery Medal-winning book Misty of Chincoteague. Beautiful and tough, these horses have since become immensely popular and a huge tourist draw for the surrounding areas.