Saturday, October 8, 2016

THE WILD HORSE DESERT IN TEXAS



Wild Horse Desert in Texas
WILD HORSE DESERT
In the early 1800s, this area located in the heart of Texas Tropical Trail Region was known as “The Wild Horse Desert.” It really was a desert, and large herds of mustangs ran wild. These herds are said to have drifted over the northern border of Mexico and others were left behind from 17th century Spanish expeditions. The number of horses in these herds was so great that early explorers wrote of having to hire guards to watch their horses and pack mules to keep them from running away with the herds.


The early cowboys and ranch hands perfected their skills in capturing and taming the mustangs by building makeshift corrals. The mustangs were eventually sold to ranchers, cowboys and soldiers including Ulysses S. Grant, future General and President, while he was camped on Corpus Christi Beach with Zachary Taylor’s Army.

By the end of the 1850s, the wild mustangs had been hunted to near extinction much like the buffalo. The area between the Rio Grande and the Nueces River became disputed territory known as the Wild Horse Desert, where neither the Republic of Texas nor the Mexican government had clear control. Ownership was in dispute until the Mexican-American War. The area became filled with lawless characters that deterred settlers in the area.

An agreement signed between Mexico and the United States in the 1930s put the liability of payments to the descendants of the original land grants on Mexico. Eventually, nine Mexicans and Spaniards—two were women—gained ownership of the disputed land.

Cattle still reign supreme in Texas, thanks in part to Captain Richard King and his partner Mifflin Kenedy, two of our greatest ranching heritage icons. Both self-made men, King and Kenedy created a ranching dynasty that continues to thrive today. Kingsville is the birthplace of American ranching. It’s also where the stretch of coastal grasslands once known as the Wild Horse Desert begins.

Horses are beautiful animals. I don’t ride, don’t own a horse, and admit I’m a bit afraid of them. Still, I admire and love them as I do no other animals. At times when we drive across Texas, I have asked my husband to stop just to let me look at a herd.

During the research for this post, I discovered too many articles about slaughtering mustangs. I couldn’t read them all the way through. Arguments for destroying herds might sound good and look good on paper, but no one can convince me it should be allowed.
I believe there is a federal law against slaughtering wild herds.

Do wild horses still run free in the Wild Horse Desert of Texas? Of course not. The entire area is now filled with towns, ranches, farms, and fences.

The Federal Government is supposed to protect wild horses. But over time, that theory has not been followed, as I understand.
I’m not an expert in this topic, but I am interested in the fate of wild horses.

Remember the 1950s movie The Misfits?..starring Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, and Montgomery Cliff. 
The movie is brutal, very sad, and tragic for the animals and for the characters.
This was the last film both Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe ever made. It seems ironic that these movie stars were chosen for the film. They were as sad and tragic as the horses.
Thanks for reading about the Wild Horse Desert.
Celia YearyRomance, and a little bit of Texas
Sources:
Handbook of Texas On-Line
Wikipedia
Wikimedia
TexasTropicalTrail.com
Texas Highways
Zavala County, Texas




18 comments:

  1. Celia, like you I admire the beautiful horse like no other animal and enjoyed reading more history on the mustangs. There are some interesting web sights about the Bureau of Land Management and what they do for the wild mustangs and burros as well. Folks can check out one, http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/whbprogram.html Thanks, Celia!

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  3. Celia, this article spoke right to my heart. I didn't know about this part of Texas, but I did know about the present state of the Mustangs. It's a sad thing.
    I remember The Misfits.
    Loved your blog. Sorry if I made mistakes. My power is out due to the hurricane and I'm awful at texting

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  4. Celia, this article spoke right to my heart. I didn't know about this part of Texas, but I did know about the present state of the Mustangs. It's a sad thing.
    I remember The Misfits.
    Loved your blog. Sorry if I made mistakes. My power is out due to the hurricane and I'm awful at texting

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  5. Celia, thank you for your interesting, and passionate post. Sadly, the Bureau of land Management (the original BLM) rounds up horses and donkeys every year, and their future is rarely a good one. There is much cruelty surrounding this problem. I have two rescue donkeys, one from the Govt. roundup, both are sweet loving animals. Thanks for bring this to light.

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  6. Celia, thank you for your interesting, and passionate post. Sadly, the Bureau of land Management (the original BLM) rounds up horses and donkeys every year, and their future is rarely a good one. There is much cruelty surrounding this problem. I have two rescue donkeys, one from the Govt. roundup, both are sweet loving animals. Thanks for bring this to light.

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  7. Celia, fascinating. Thank you for this blog. I've loved horses, its seems, for forever. I was privileged to have a half-Arab filly. She was the most wonderful horse, and loved to run.

    Originally, by congressional law, wildlands were set aside for wild horse herds, especially in Nevada. Americans demanded this from congress by petition and activism. Your tax dollars are paying for the Bureau of Land Management, who is now about to sell herds they've rounded up for slaughter, sending them to Canada. These beyond-cruel cowards are rounding up herds where there is NO PROBLEM... where the land has plenty of food and water for the horses. WHY??? Corruption!!! this agency and those in charge are selling off the land for pipelines, for mining, and supposedly because ranchers want it for cattle. There must be a special place in hell for these black-hearted criminals. I wish I had a way to stop it. There are groups trying hard everyday to help these horses. However, they are being 'illegally' thwarted at every turn. All for GREED!!!
    Recently, the exwife of a famous billionaire [forgot his name--but he bought up water rights in Texas] anyway, she spent millions to fix up a huge ranch property for these horses. She'd rescued many. However, SOMEONES, went in and vandalized the water and food systems she'd setup, thus cruelly killing these horses on private property.
    REALLY, WHAT HAS THIS WORLD COME TO??? That this would even be allowed, and it is being allowed, encouraged by those in government and the big corporations. Yeah, all for money and power. Meanwhile, as I said American taxpayers are paying for this horror.
    Apologies, but this situation just breaks my heart.

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  8. Celia, I had not heard of the Wild Horse Desert in Texas. Thanks for sharing this info. Like everyone here, the horrific treatment of our remaining wild horses sickens me. They are such beautiful creatures and so important in the history of our country. The federal government should do a better job of protecting them.

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    1. Lyn--I really don't know much about it. I just became interested because of that area of Texas. Then, I found that the wild horses were a huge part of it, and today...oh, God, what the government and other groups allow to destroy these horses. I still am not very well versed on the fate of these animals in the U.S. but I know enough that it makes me sick.

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  9. Celia, I've never heard of the Wild Horse Desert. The indiscriminate slaughter of wild horses is such a tragedy. Like other commenters, I wish the government would do more for their protection.

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    1. Kirsten-unfortunately, I know so little about this problem. Someone with a deep-seated interest can read and learn quite a lot. I chose not to dig deeper, because it was disturbing enough, as it was. Thanks, Kirsten.

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  10. Interesting. I've never heard of this desert or that we were still settling territory with Mexico as recently as 1930.

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  11. It's a shame what happened to those horses. Slaughtering any animal is cruel unless necessary for food or sirvival.

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  12. It's a shame what happened to those horses. Slaughtering any animal is cruel unless necessary for food or sirvival.

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  13. Celia, I as always enjoyed your post--at least about the Wild Horse Desert as I never knew about it. But the cruelty of the horses and donkeys in the past as well as even now? Can this be that today we are still being so barbaric? I'm shuddering just thinking about such cruelty to such beautiful animals. I have a friend who works with horses, and other animals and I'm going to put a bug in her ear, in hopes she can stir something up as to having a stop to this. In this day and age I can't understand how we can't just round them up if they need to be off the land and let us give them to someone deserving but unable to buy a horse. Lord, it sounds so simple. There must be something we can do. Again thank you for sharing all this.

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    1. You have to understand the massive numbers there are still today in the U.S. Most have been driven/transported/moved to the deserts in Nevada. The Federal Gov. is to take care of the protect them. Nope, not always. There is always greed and graft to get around this. I did read one article about a huge number of these mustangs have been moved to Canada..the wilds of Canada--which might we the best thing.
      I can't estimate how many groups exists in the USA that are dedicated to saving the horses. And bless them every one. I don't know enough to say if they are very successful or not.
      Heartbreaking, isn't it?
      Thanks for your post.

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  14. It's a shame what happened to those horses. Slaughtering any animal is cruel unless necessary for food or sirvival.

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  15. Interesting blog, Celia. I've been through that area of Texas but didn't know it was once known as the Wild Horse Desert. I'm with you on saving the wild horses.

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