Amicus Brief Filed By Dr Phillip Sponenberg in support of Louisiana’s Unique Wild and Free Roaming Horses 

On April 16th, 2018 Dr Phillip Sponenberg, a Choctaw Horse expert with 45 years of experience studying Choctaw Horses, filed an Amicus Brief in support of  the protection and preservation of Louisiana’s unique wild and free roaming horses.

The Brief states:
In the Army’s Environmental Assessment (EA), the Army failed to consider:

  1. the impact horse removal would have on the genetic diversity of the Choctaw Horse population at Fort Polk
  2. the impact on genetic diversity among the remaining Spanish Colonial Horse type worldwide and 
  3. proper management to assure conservation of the type and strain. The Plaintiff has already briefed the Army’s failure to gather general baseline data on the horse population at Fort Polk for their EA. 

The Brief further states:
“Throughout much of the 20th century the Choctaw Horse strain was well preserved through careful breeding by a small number of families. By 1988, less than fifty pure Choctaw Horses remained, due to the dispersal of many of the large Choctaw Horse herds. Recently, pockets of Choctaw Horses and potential candidates of Choctaw Horses have appeared in Mississippi and Louisiana, including the population at Fort Polk. The discovery of these new populations could provide great potential to reestablish the genetic strength of the Choctaw Horse….. There is no question that the Colonial Spanish horse is of great historic importance in the New World and worldwide. If the horses at Fort Polk are confirmed to be of the Choctaw Horse strain (and all present indications are that they are such a strain), the horses themselves would be found to be eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. The Army also failed to consider that Choctaw Horses are themselves historic objects and are eligible for inclusion in the NRHP under the NHPA….Some of the remaining Colonial Spanish Horses were preserved as distinct tribal strains, including the Choctaw Horse. The Choctaw tribe acquired the horses from early Spanish missions that dotted the South. The Choctaw tribe was instrumental in facilitating meetings between the U.S. government and tribes from further West, and it is believed the exchange of Choctaw Horses occurred during these meetings. The Choctaw tribe has a well-documented
horse breeding history, and the tribe continued to breed Choctaw Horses even after their removal to Oklahoma in the late 1800s. Most of the remaining Choctaw Horses of Oklahoma are descendants of horses that were brought west via the Trail of Tears….The Army failed to properly consider the historical and cultural significance of Choctaw Horses or their eligibility for inclusion in the NRHP. It is clear that the Choctaw Horses at Fort Polk are eligible for inclusion in the NRHP and the Army’s failure to even consider the horses’ eligibility amounts to a violation of the NHPA and the APA….”

See full brief here:

April 7th, 2018 Local reporter, Rickie Smith, from The Leesville Leader, has published an article about the unique herds of wild horses seen on Peason Ridge. The article, Wild Horses Embedded in Peason History   highlights the uniqueness of the this area and its wildlife, especially the wild horses who have thrived here for over a century. Please take a moment to read and share the article, as well as show your appreciation to Mr. Smith for getting the word out about the unique herds of culturally significant wild horses in Louisiana.

Video Footage of Louisiana’s Wild and Free Roaming Horses – March 2018 
During the last weekend of March  I was able to capture video footage of the horses on Peason Ridge,  as well as received several photos from the Drop Zone area of Fort Polk. The video above shows the two distinct areas of concern, which are approx 30 miles apart.

  1. Peason Ridge
  2. Main Base / Drop Zone.

The video is rather long but there are so many wonderful pictures that needed to be shared for everyone to see the remarkable beauty of one of Louisiana’s best kept secrets.

The majority of the public is against these wild, free roaming horses being systemically removed from these wildlife areas, where they and their progeny have coexisted in this rich environment for a century . The locals, as well as all who have come to know and appreciate them, view the wild horses as a unique reminder of days gone by in this historic region of precolonial Louisiana.

It is vital that the public CONTINUE to engage decision makers.

Make your voice heard TODAY.

Please take a moment to contact federal and state officials asking them to protect Louisiana’s wild and free roaming horses!

1.) Take action by ALDF:

2.) Contact Armed Services Commission Today:

3.) Contact Louisiana State and Federal Officals:


Mike Strain
(225) 771-8942
File a Complaint: 225-922-1234
Buying/Selling/Transport without certificate
Livestock: 800-558-9741

Bill Cassidy
(202) 224-5824

John Kennedy
(318) 445-2892
(337) 436-6255
(202) 224-4623

John Bel Edwards
(844) 860-1413
(866) 366-1121

Jeff Landry
(225) 326-6079
(225) 326-6200

Billy Nungesser, Lieutenant Governor
(225) 342-7009
(504) 433-1200

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