A 10-year-old in Bismarck traces the lineage of badlands wild horses


Wild horses in the North Dakota Badlands have a long history, and one young girl from Bismarck wanted to trace their lineage.

Tess Aitchison is a 10-year-old fourth-grader from Bismarck who spent a day researching the wild horses for a school project.

“Ranchers used to herd, used to have all these horses and when they didn’t want the horse anymore, they’d let them go and be free,” said Aitchison.

With a little help from a book by the North Dakota Badlands Horse organization, Aitchison cut out pictures of each horse and put them into bands. She says there are about 146 horses, total, and then she connected the mamas and stallions with the babies using an entire ball of yarn like a “crime wall”. So how did they all get there?

“There were a lot of horses in that area for many many years, decades, maybe even hundred years,” said Marylu Weber, President of North Dakota Badlands Horse.

Weber says many horses both wild and domestic were dumped in the badlands because many thought that area of the country wasn’t valuable. When Theodore Roosevelt National Park was established in 1947, a fence was put up and 10 years later, all those horses still roam many acres of the North Dakota Badlands.

So what does she think of the fourth graders school project?

“We were just excited to see all the work she put into that project. It shows a lot of talent and a lot of dedication to do that extent of a project,” said Weber.

And if you want to catch a glimpse of the wild horses you can see them in the north and east unit of Theodore Roosevelt National park in Medora.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park opened back up to the public this past Saturday.

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