Feral Horse Roundup in Theodore Roosevelt National Park - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Feral Horse Roundup in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

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Around half of the wild horse herd in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park will be sold at auction in Wishek this weekend.

This is the first time all of the horses are being corralled in--since a 2009 roundup.

The rain hasn't slowed a horse roundup in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, in fact, park officials say the weather keeps things cool and calm.

"If we're calm the horses will be calm." says Eileen Andes, Chief of Interpretation.

There are around 211 wild horses total in the park.

Instead of on horseback, they wrangle in the horses by helicopter, for safety reasons.

"If you just think about how difficult it is to get a wild animal anywhere, the more people you have following it, the more chance you have to stumble on the ground or fall off your horse..." says Bill Whitworth, Chief of Resource Management.

When the chopper and the horses come in, this busy stretch of road in oil country gets shut down because they don't want any loud noises to spook the horses.

"We try really hard to have minimal noise and keep people away from the horses." says Whitworth.

They use low stress animal handling techniques as veterinarians make sure all the horses are healthy.

They give them a check-up through a new hydraulic shoot, which is safer, quieter and more efficient.

"We got the hydraulic shoot because it is easier on the horses and it's easier for us to handle them." says Andes.

"It's quick and it's firm and the horses seem much calmer with this than the other one." says Whitworth.

Overall, park officials say they have to keep the feral horse population balanced and controlled, while still keeping a wild part of state history alive.

"It's one thing to see a picture in a book, it's another thing to see them out there roaming around, we only have one fence in the park, that's the one on the outside, so they can be free to move wherever they like." says Whitworth.

Around 110 of the horses will be sold at an auction in Wishek this Saturday.

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