Blaming Wild Horses For the Spread of Invasive Species Weeds is a Twisted Tale
By: William E. Simpson II
In a paper titled ‘Potential spread of cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) by feral horses (Equus ferus caballus) in Western Colorado’ by Kate Schoenecker and Daniel Manier, who work for the United States Geologic Service, wild horses are alleged as the problem in regard to the spread of invasive species plants and grasses.
A wild foal begins life as one of Nature’s evolved re-seeders. Photo: William E. Simpson II
It is a fact, native species wild horses are evolved re-seeders of native plants and grasses in North America, and invasive species ungulates (cattle and sheep) and not.
This is one of many reasons why wild horses should not be managed on the landscape commingled with cattle and sheep, and must be managed in separate remote ‘designated’ critical wilderness areas (true wilderness vs. traditional grazing lands) in a manner that is ecologically and economically appropriate. More about wild horse ecology HERE
In most ‘critical’ or ‘designated wilderness’ areas, where in most cases there is no cheat grass (yet), because it hasn’t yet been imported into these areas by livestock producers, horses are the ideal wildfire grazers, and reseed native species plants and grasses as co-evolved keystone herbivores.
The introduction and spread of invasive species plants and grasses from contaminated bales of hay being hauled into remote areas for livestock was the genesis of the spread of invasive species plants and grasses. From there, the seeds spread, and that practice still continues in many areas today.
It’s clear, the problem was not initiated by wild horses.