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The Last of the Horse Roundups
 By Winniefield Park   •   29th Aug 2017   •   1,119 views   •   0 comments
Wild horse roundups may be reminiscent of the old west but they still take place today although they may not happen for the same reason as they did back before the turn of the 20th century. Today, roundups may have more to do with maintaining herd health than finding horses for work. Here is where you can go to see wild horse roundups around the world.



North America
Roundups of Mustangs and free-roaming horses happen in both Canada and the U.S.A. Areas like Theodore Roosevelt Park are home to bison and a small herd of horses. Both are occasionally gathered to keep their numbers at healthy levels for the local environment. Every few years a roundup of the horses is done, and a small number is culled from the herd. Ideally, these will be adopted to homes, but the park management admits that in the past some of the horses have ended up with meat dealers. They’ve also come under attack for using helicopters to gather the horses. The park tries to maintain the number of horses to just over one hundred.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) conducts several round ups and tries to rehome horses throughout the mid-west. This year roundups have occurred in the Battle Mountain District and Cedar Mountain areas. Both welcomed the public to witness the event.

The pony swims between the islands of Chincoteague and Assateague is one of the more famous roundups. The ponies are gathered and swum across the channel between the two islands. Their health is checked, and young ponies are culled from the herd and sold at auction. This is a popular tourist attraction, and if you’d like to attend you should plan well ahead for accommodation.

Spain
Every July in the northwest corner of Spain, the people of Galicia round up horses from pastures in the Galician Mountains. Rapa das Bestas, or Capture of the Beasts is a roundup of the sturdy native Galician horses. Ranchers let their horses graze in the hill pastures, and towards the end of the summer, round them up. Traditionally, once corralled their manes and tails were cut to be sold as furniture stuffing and stiffening textiles for clothing and some sold as meat. But today, the local ranchers check their stock for disease, vaccinate them, brand new foals, and set them free again.

They are recognized as an important part of the ecosystem as they trim down plants that other livestock will not eat. This trimming of the undergrowth the locals believe is an effective way to reduce the possibility of wildfires. In some areas, the Galician roundups are a tourist spectacle drawing thousands of people. In others, smaller herds are maintained, and attract only local spectators.

Iceland
Icelandic Horse are tough and fun to ride. Horse owners in Iceland let their horses graze in the mountains during the summer months. As the weather starts to turn colder, they round them up for keeping closer to home. These roundups are tourist attractions and many tours are offered to witness the spectacle on horseback during the months of September and October.

Dulmen Germany
In the Dulmen region of Germany, on the last Saturday in May, the last native German pony herd is rounded up. Once caught, the stallions are removed from the herd. The foals are separated from their dams and auctioned off. The event draws thousands of spectators to watch what is called the "trapping" of this herd of about 300 wild horses.

Australia
There are several herds of wild horses in Australia, known as brumbies. In many places, they are mustered and the herds culled with horses being sold as work or pleasure horses. Horses are herded together by helicopter, which of course comes under criticism from animal rights activities and by passive trapping. Passive trapping is when horses enter pens to get at water, food or salt licks. There is a lot of controversy in Australia about the role of the brumbies and culling can mean the end of a horse's life. But there are activists who encourage adoption and once gentled and trained, many of these horses make excellent pleasure, show, and working horses.
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