North Dakota horse numbers dwindling
by Reed Anfinson, Editor
The official North Dakota horse could be wiped off the state map.
A conservancy group says high hay prices caused by a prolonged drought and a sharp drop in donations have combined to limit food supplies and threaten breeding herds for the Nokota horse, which originated in what is now Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
“This is one of the most difficult situations we’ve been in since the formation of the conservancy,” said Shelly Hauge, the executive director of the Nokota Horse Conservancy, which was established in 1999. “While it’s never been easy, it hasn’t been the struggle it’s been this year.”
The group believes the dwindling hay supply could force the dispersal of the herd, which is now pastured in fields near Linton, the Forum reported. That would mean the loss of valuable breeding stock.
The horse is descended from Plains Indian horses, including ponies confiscated from Sitting Bull’s band when it surrendered in 1881, and ranch stock. The Nokota horse was recognized as the North Dakota honorary state equine in 1993.