The Nokota Horse.
A breed often referred to as “historically correct”.
A war horse who’s bloodlines date back to Sitting Bulls’ own herd — and fought in the battle of the little big horn.
August 12th, the man who was instrumental in saving the Nokota horses passed away unexpectedly.
It’s because the Nokota’s live on that Leo Kuntz’s memory will too.
Frank Kuntz/ Exe. Dir. Nokota Horse Conservancy) “He touched alot of people lives and he helped change alot of peoples lives through these horses.”
Here in horse country in Emmons County, history roams these pastures, in the Nokota Horse…
(Frank Kuntz/ Exe. Dir. Nokota Horse Conservancy) “We came close to destroying this type of horse.”
Frank and his brother Leo were a team, and over 30 years ago, started their fight to save these horses from extinction.
In 1986, after a Theodore Roosevelt National Park Round-up the horses were going to be sent to slaughter.
But Frank and Leo knew a good horse when they saw one
(Frank Kuntz/ Exe. Dir. Nokota Horse Conservancy) “We weren’t financially ready”
But bought 52 of them that day from auction anyway.
(Frank Kuntz/ Exe. Dir. Nokota Horse Conservancy) “They’re generally roan color, the blues and bays and strawberry these were the colors of sitting bulls.”
Not only are they strong, they are smart, survivors with bloodlines that can be traced to the war ponies of sitting bull.
Leo, passed away three weeks ago, after an accident that happened right along side the horses he dedicated his life to.
(Frank Kuntz/ Exe. Dir. Nokota Horse Conservancy) “Like all of us at times, he felt like he hasn’t accomplished anything”
Leo was featured for his work with the Nokota horses on a national level.
(Frank Kuntz/ Exe. Dir. Nokota Horse Conservancy) “He’s been a horseman all his life.”
It was Leo, that brought home the first horse from the badlands, and started a movement that would spread worldwide…
Today they are used in the United States to as far as Europe, for trail riding to fox hunting, even therapy horses.
As for the fight Leo started.
(Frank Kuntz/ Exe. Dir. Nokota Horse Conservancy) “We’re working to save the Nokota name period.
It’s up to Frank and the rest of the Kuntz family to finish.
But Leo’s legacy, will surely live on through the Nokota horses living on.
Leo never married or had any children, but did leave behind about 200 Nokota horses who were his family.