These horses are from the area near Virginia City, Nevada where Wild Horse Annie’s ranch was once located and are often referred to as “Annie’s Horses.” They were the first wild horses to be protected when Annie was able to push through the 1952 Storey County law that prohibited the poisoning of water holes and the use of aircraft to capture wild horses. Ironically when the 1971 federal law passed to protect wild horses and burros, these horses were not protected because they were not on federal land.
Today, the horses’ current range is being threatened by the continual expansion of homes decreasing their habitat area. In 2001, ISPMB answered a call to save 82 of the wild horses from starvation and placed them on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal land with an agreement signed by the Tribe and ISPMB. The gift of the horses was to assist the Tribe in developing their Tribal Park helping to stimulate their economy through tourism and to keep numbers in check, some of the off spring of the original horses were to be gathered to be given to the Lakota youth. When the horses arrived in November of 2001, the spiritual leaders of the Tribe conducted ceremonies to welcome their arrival on the reservation. Songs were sung that had not been sung in over one hundred years. Many elders believed that the return of the horses signified the fulfillment of prophecies that the buffalo and the horses would once again return to the people.
Over the six years that the horses remained with the Tribe, the programs were not established and numbers of wild horses increased. Now with the Tribe facing losing the nearly 22,000-acre ranch where the wild horses once roamed, they have returned to leasing the land for cattle grazing. In keeping with their agreement with ISPMB, the Tribe returned the horses, now numbering 300, to ISPMB.
The return of the horses to ISPMB comes at a very difficult time. In 2006, ISPMB and its three herds survived the worst drought in the history of our state. This created a financial hardship for ISPMB. Because these are “Annie’s horses,” and following our mission to protect wild horses, ISPMB is committed to saving these horses. We hope you can help us raise the $50,000 needed to save “Annie’s” horses.
PO Box 55
Lantry, SD 57636-0055