ECHO BLUFF STATE PARK, Mo. — A herd of seven wild horses that were causing problems at a Missouri state park have been rounded up and adopted by Missouri horse lovers.
Visitors to Echo Bluff State Park in Eminence were feeding the horses, raising concerns that someone might be seriously injured, the Springfield News-Leader reported .
While that didn’t happen, one of the horses chewed up a park visitor’s motorcycle seat. Several cars received paint damage from wild horses in the lodge’s parking lot, said Carolyn Dyer, secretary of the Missouri Wild Horse League. One of the horses even seemed to figure out how to press the button to open the lodge’s front door with its nose.
The league has an agreement with the federal government to manage wild horses that have been living along the Current and Jacks Fork rivers for more than 100 years. The Echo Bluff horses were among them.
“I’ve seen pictures of people letting their children feed them out of their hands,” Dyer said. “With a child, their whole hand can fit inside a horse’s mouth. We’re glad nothing happened.”
Dyer said the horses that were rounded up, including three that had caused the problems, were descendants of a wild appaloosa, a breed famous for spotted coats. She said it was the “best outcome” that all of them found new homes.
Dustin Lyon adopted a white mare he named Mystique and says she has “gotten to where she thinks she’s a member of the family.” Lyon is now able to ride the once-feral Mystique on his land in Shannon County.
“It’s like she was a mystery,” Lyon said. “We didn’t know her background and we weren’t sure what her color would be after she lost her winter coat. The more we brushed her the more her spots showed off. It’s like Mystique on X-Men. She’s always changing color.”
Even after the roundup, about 30 wild horses in four or five herds still roam in Shannon County, where traffic signs caution motorists to watch for them.