Horse News

Wild Horse Fire Brigade Educates the USFS on the History of Wild Horses in North America

An enlightening email thread between Jeffrey Todd, USFS Public Affairs Officer at the Apache-Sitgraves USFS Office and William Simpson II, founder of Wild Horse Fire Brigade

—–Original Message—–
From: William E. Simpson II <>
To: <>
Sent: Sun, Oct 23, 2022 7:42 pm
Subject: Re: [External Email]Sunday Editon – NPR Radio National – Stopping the next wildfire

Howdy Jeffrey:

You ask a very important question, the answer to which has many important ramifications, and as such, worthy of more than a quick answer, that would be shamefully incomplete.

As the very latest combined disciplines of science (genetics, paleontology and cultural anthropology suggest, several things happened:

  1. Horses crossed the Aleutian land bridge the very first time into Asia sometime around 17-22-thousand years ago, after evolving exclusively in North America for millions of years. The modern horse (E. Caballus) evolved in North American about 1.7-million years ago, according to the most compelling recent science.

We also know that other species crossed the opposite direction from Asia and into North America, as well as humans.

All indigenous peoples have an Asian gene for that reason. And over a period of a few thousand years that the land bridge was usable, some horses, having been in Asia for generations, crossed back into N. America.

  1. Around 11-12 thousand years ago, the Ice Age ended and the land bridge was no longer available as it was below sea-level.

At the point, animals and most humans could no longer cross back and forth, and horses at that time, were living in both Asia and North America.

Some older science that has been rendered obsolete by recent discoveries, suggested that Horses in North America went extinct during the Ice Age. But, as we now know, horses were crossing the Bearing Straits land bridge, back and forth for thousands of years when the bridge was above sea level. And, we now have discovered horse fossils and DNA that are just 5,000 years old. Which proves horses lived well past the end of the Ice Age, for about 6,000 years after the Ice Age ended.

3.  We now have reliable cultural archaeology and historical documents, which documented observations of what would be ‘splinter populations’ of wild horses living among the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest, in the immediate region where I am doing research.  In 1580, captain Sir Francis Drake careened his vessel on the Southern Oregon coast to clean the ship bottom, re-caulk and tar the hull of his ship. A job of many weeks. During that people, and according to the ship’s log, he sent scouting teams inland who explored the areas of what are now today the Cascade Siskiyou mountains and the Rogue River Valley, where they observed indigenous living among wild horses.

Drake was a British Knight and considered one of the greatest navigators. His log provided factual accounting of wild horses on the west coast, just 90-years after Columbus first discovered America in 1492. There is no way possible the few horses landed by Columbus and subsequent Spaniards on the eastern seaboard could have all escaped, gone feral, bred into tens of thousands of horses, and then crossed 2,500 miles of land with deep rivers, mountain ranges and millions of indigenous people who would grab and loose horse for food or utility… And of Note, the Spaniards didn’t even make it to San Diego from Cabo San Lucas until 168-years later in 1748, with some horses.

This is an extracted quote from the dissertation by Dr. Yvette Running Horse Collin, titled;

The relationship between the indigenous peoples of the Americas and the horse: deconstructing a Eurocentric myth 

It can be read in it’s entirety at the following URL:

Page 39:
“The Spanish conquistadors were not the only European explorers to have noticed and recorded early sightings of horses in the Americas. In 1579, the Queen of England sent Sir Francis Drake to “The New World.” Drake also recorded having seen herds of horses in the Americas during his voyage off the coasts of what are now known as California and Oregon. An account given of Drake’s landing in the geographic areas now known as Northern California and Southern Oregon includes the English explorer’s description of the homes of the Native Peoples, as well as the animals that he encountered. “It related his wonder at seeing so many wild horses, because he had heard that the Spaniards had found no native horses in America, save those of the Arab breed which they had introduced.” 116In addition to accounts from explorers appointed by European kings and queens, there are accounts of native horses in South America in the area now known as Argentina. One such account even includes an explanation as to why the Spanish may have been motivated to hide the fact that the Indigenous horse of the Americas existed and had a relationship with Native Peoples.According to an article entitled Antiguedad del Caballo En El Plata (The Antiquity of the Horse in the River Plate) by Anibal Cardoso as cited by Austin Whittall on his blog site article

115 Ibid., 53.
116 Henry S. Burrage, Original Narratives o f Early American History. Early English and French Voyages (New York: Unknown Binding, 1906), 23.———————

As it is clear, there were native wild horses in America that survived the Ice Age, as well as the re-introduced Spanish horses, the descendants of horses that crossed the land bridge from America during the Ice Age, which were subsequently domesticated over the last 4-6 thousand years outside of America, and then re-introduced back into America when some of those horses eventually escaped and over hundreds of years commingled with some of the established post Ice Age survivor horses in America.

So today we have many imported domestic-breed horses whose origins nevertheless stem back into the years of the Ice Ages and their ancestral evolutionary home in North America.

And we have some cross-breeds that are a blend of non-reintroduced native species horses with domesticated breeds. Some of these wild horses are genetic reservoirs containing some of the Ice Age horse genetics… and they exhibit non-domestic traits, characteristics and morphology.

These wild horses are for instance, exceptionally fearsome and unbelievable hardy, able withstand injuries that would surely kill most domestic breeds. I have seen this amazing survival capability and instinct in some of our local wild horses… and I have documented it on many occasions during my 8-years (continuously) living-among and studying wild horses in the wilderness.

Given that virtually every domestic breed of horse has some genetic defects attributed to the breed as a result of inbreeding for desired traits and characteristics, their genetic vigor is fragile at best.

For instance, thoroughbreds are extremely fragile. We also see the same example in dogs: breeding for standard in German Shepherds, we now see the genetic defect of hip dysplasia.

As someone who raised and bred animals on a ranch and studied animal husbandry and related sciences, I can tell you with complete confidence, at some point very soon, domestic horse breeders with need to be able breed-back to the genetic vigor of the wild horse genetics, assuming there are any left in America.

As it stands today, there are relatively few remaining wild horses that are unmolested genetically via castration or chemical sterilization.

All of the wild horses in off-range holding are genetically dead. And many of the horses left on the range have already been treated with the genetic poison (PZP) or GonaCon (chemical sterilization), both of which are considered dangerous toxins by the EPA, as listed on their labeling. Moreover, the EPA allowed the HSUS (patent holder) request to ‘waive’ all the normally required safety studies, which should send up the yellow flags all around.

And it is listed in the EPA literature (excerpt herein below) as potentially having indirect toxic effects on threatened and endangered species in areas where it is used, and as such, the EPA provides a table of those species.

Clearly, shooting this chemical into any wildlife is a reckless compromise at best, with no vision for the future genetic failure that will surely result.

Here is one example of many I can make about the unbelievable genetic toughness of a wild horse:

Regards, William E. Simpson II – Wild horse ethologist


—–Original Message—–
From: Todd, Jeffrey – FS, SPRINGERVILLE, AZ <>
To: William E. Simpson II <>
Sent: Sun, Oct 23, 2022 2:09 pm
Subject: RE: [External Email]Sunday Editon – NPR Radio National – Stopping the next wildfire

Hello Mr. Simpson,

Thank you for sharing. Just a quick question:

It is a fact that horses were transported here after European contact, would you agree?

Would horses then be a re-introduced species? I have read that they did go extinct in North America a few thousand years ago. Have you read that also?

Thanks for your insight,


Jeffrey Todd
Public Affairs Officer
Forest Service

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests

p: 928-333-6263
c: 928-245-3058
f: 928-333-5966
30 S. Chiricahua Drive
Springerville, AZ 85938
Caring for the land and serving people


From: William E. Simpson II <>
Sent: Sunday, October 23, 2022 1:53 PM
To: William E. Simpson II <>
Subject: [External Email]Sunday Editon – NPR Radio National – Stopping the next wildfire

[External Email]
If this message comes from an unexpected sender or references a vague/unexpected topic;
Use caution before clicking links or opening attachments.
Please send any concerns or suspicious messages to:


This story is just out today on NPR National Radio; feel free to share it on social media, etc..


Meet the man who says wild horses could help prevent the next wildfire

October 23, 20227:54 AM ET

Heard on Weekend Edition Sunday

Stephanie O’Neill

We must stop the destruction to our forests and wildlife therein by worsening catastrophic wildfires, as well as saving the relatively few remaining, genetically intact (many are now castrated and chemically sterilized) native species American wild horses.

Regards, William

Capt. William E. Simpson II – USMM Ret.

Founder-CEO  Wild Horse Fire Brigade

Ethologist – Author – Conservationist 

Wild Horse Ranch

P.O. Bx. 202 – Yreka, CA 96097

Creator: Wild Horse Fire Brigade (

Author @ HorseTalk

Member:  IMDb

Muck Rack:

William E. Simpson II is an ethologist living among and studying free-roaming native species American wild horses. William is the award-winning producer of the micro-documentary film ‘Wild Horses.  He is the author of a new Study about the behavioral ecology of wild horses, two published books and more than 150 published articles on subjects related to wild horses, wildlife, wildfire, and public land (forest) management. He has appeared on NBC NEWS, ABC NEWS, CBS NEWS, theDoveTV and has been a guest on numerous talk radio shows including the Lars Larson Show, the Bill Meyer Show, NPR Jefferson Public Radio and NPR National Radio (Short Wave).

Check out William’s Film Freeway account for films, studies, TV & radio interviews, and more HERE:

3 replies »

  1. The description of Buck’s injury & his recovery do tell the strength & ability of Wild Horses to exist & be wild & free. You only have to read the types of “injuries” that the BLM use as an excuse to “euthanize” these wild horses after they have not only lived with them for sometimes 15-20 years, but have survived the running down by helicopter for many times, miles, then pushed into a small corral with other band stallions & their mares & foals. The fact is NOT that they survived in their wild free lives – but that they thrived! Until – until the BLM or FS decided they didnt deserve to live.
    And yes – topping off the roundups with treating mares with pesticides – then for far too many, only shoving them into what actually are feedlots to exist for the rest of their lives. Well if they’re lucky that is – too many seem to have disappeared “out the back gate” of these feedlots.


  2. I have to add – that catastrophic injuries happen to many wild animal species – I had a deer in my neighborhood that I believe had been hit by a car (happens far too often) one of his front legs was broken of no use – dangling – he managed to survive that for well over a year – it was a young buck. He of course did not survive the next hunting season. But the fact that he managed to live, eat & learn to get along in that manner says much about a wild animal’s strength. They know no other way to survive – other than that.


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