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The Wild Horses Of The Flint Hills

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Aileen LeBlanc
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The wild horses of the west are being managed by the federal government with 71 million tax dollars. Some people believe that the herds are growing too large and that the horses are over populating the western public lands, taking up resources that could be used for cattle, wildlife and recreation use. But extra feral horses can't be shot or slaughtered and few are adopted. So thousands are shipped to the Midwest for safekeeping on large ranches. KMUW's Aileen LeBlanc visited a herd of wild mustangs in the Flint Hills near Cassoday.

It’s not hard to see in your mind the Indians that lived in these hills thousands of years ago -  long before there were horses or white men. With the exception of a few widely spaced fences and one interstate which runs through it, the Flint Hills of Kansas carry their history right on the surface.

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Credit Aileen LeBlanc
Mares at the lake in the Flint Hills

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Credit Aileen LeBlanc
Brome hay stacked on the ranch.

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Credit Aileen LeBlanc
Pat Williams with the Bureau of Land Management on the Triple 7 Ranch.

The horses here are all breeds and all colours. On a windy day they wait patiently for a truck to unroll a big round bale of brome hay for breakfast.

Please listen to the link above for the full story.

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Credit Aileen LeBlanc
Geldings in a separate pasture eating brome hay.

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Credit Aileen LeBlanc
Geldings spooked by cameraman.

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Credit Aileen LeBlanc
Geldings finding the best breakfast.

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Fury with her friends.

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Credit Aileen LeBlanc
Geldings having morning meal.

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Credit Aileen LeBlanc
Geldings being suspicious of human in big blue coat.

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Credit Aileen LeBlanc
Fury with BLM neck brand.

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Credit Aileen LeBlanc
Gelding snacking in the wind.

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Credit Aileen LeBlanc
My Friend Fury.

This story originally aired on Morning Edition on Feb. 11, 2014.

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Please check out coverage of the western wild horses from our partner on this story:

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  http://www.opb.org/mustangs/