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Broadfoot – Wild Horses of Missouri

Broadfoot was a farm from the Civil War until the National Park Service acquired the land in the 1960s to be part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.

According to county records, this land was last owned by farmer Darrell Broadfoot before the sale to the park service. Some people believe the herd in the 1960s may even have included some of his animals.

The best way to stay up to date with the Broadfoot herd is to be part of the Wild Horses of Missouri Facebook Group, where I post my latest photos, videos, and tips on the horses.

According to the National Park Service, Broadfoot is now considered a primitive campground and horseback riding area.

The Broadfoot herd is probably the second most popular herd because they are frequently found in and around the Broadfoot fields.

Don’t let that statement fool you because I have gone for months without seeing them. Until this spring, we didn’t see them for about five months after a big roundup in 2019 as part of the management protocol.

The members of each herd change over time because of several factors. Lead stallions are known for visiting other herds and bands to steal mares. Yes, that is correct; the stallions swoop in and steal mares from other herds.

Also, because of the monitoring and management of the herd per the law, sometimes members are gathered to keep the size of the herds within the bounds of the legal agreement.

The best way to stay up to date with the Broadfoot herd is to be part of the Wild Horses of Missouri Facebook Group, where I post my latest photos, videos, and tips on the horses.

INFORMATION & DIRECTIONS

The Broadfoot herd is the third easiest to find and your chances of seeing them have been pretty good until recently.

After a recent capture event, the remaining horses, except for an old mare, fled the area. Captures happen because of herd management requirements, which are administered by the nonprofit Missouri Wild Horse League.

The Missouri Wild Horse League cares for the captured horses and manages the adoption process to find them loving and good homes.

The horses returned after about a month only to leave again after the fields were mowed and baled. They will return, so be sure to visit this location during your visit.

This location is a great place to ride your own horses as well as camp. The horses here are not quite as friendly as the Shawnee Creek herd and they are a little more difficult to see. I can find them here several days in a row and then nothing for weeks or sometimes even months.

They are very aware of humans in their space and they typically will either slowly move to another area in the fields if they see you or quickly exit the area and find cover in the woods or out of sight somewhere. You can drive the main loop around the fields in your car, so this location is kid and elderly-friendly.

The best way to stay up to date with the Broadfoot herd is to be part of the Wild Horses of Missouri Facebook Group, where I post my latest photos, videos, and tips on the horses.

Difficulty Rating: Easy

Frequency: Medium

Tips: Peaceful location with an easy-loop road, but the 4.4 miles to get there can be a little challenging in the rain or snow.

Directions: Located off of Highway 19 and Country Road 19-205 follow the gravel road, always staying to the left at forks until you reach the Broadfoot campgrounds in about 4.4 miles from the intersection of 19 and 19-205. While on 19-205 at 3.0 miles you will fork to the left and then again 3.2 miles and then continue to you arrive at Broadfoot.

Wild Horses of Missouri Map by Tim Layton - www.timlaytonfineart.com

Additional Tips & Helpful Information: During some seasons, you will want a 4WD vehicle to be able to fully explore this location, and if this is not an option, a regular 2WD automobile will allow some access to the dirt road around the main field.

The gravel and dirt roads to get to Broadfoot can be decent, but it can also be very difficult and feel like you may lose a kidney before you get there because the roads can be very rough. I travel this road in the winter and when there is ice and snow, it can be dangerous because you could very easily slide off the road and in some places, this could mean a very serious drop to the bottom of a valley. Unless you are experienced and have the right vehicle, keep these things in mind before heading out in difficult weather conditions.

During the seasons when the loop road has deep ruts, be careful about driving through the seemingly innocent looking mud puddles because some are much deeper than you probably expect. I’ve seen one person in a regular car get stuck, and water got inside their car because of how deep it was.
The location can be a little confusing to find on your first visit, but after you get it figured out, it is pretty easy. From the turn off at highway 19 and 19-205, just keep veering left until you reach Broadfoot in 4.4 miles.

The location itself is wonderful because you can drive around in a loop on the main field and there are public restrooms, and a few campsites are available.
The herd here is much wilder than the group over at Shawnee Creek, and you probably won’t get very close to them. Also, keep in mind during the spring, summer, and fall seasons, people frequently ride their horses along the roads to get to Broadfoot, so this can be challenging and you should always be alert when driving these backroads.

If you want to photograph the wild horses at this location, you will want a long telephoto lens because of the distance between you and the horses and the vastness of this location. The horses will look very small in the frame without a telephoto lens. I use my 600mm F4 and 800mm F5.6 lenses frequently at this location.

As with the other locations, the early morning and late evenings provide the best opportunity to see the horses. The river runs along the backside of the fields, and this area can flood, and the insects can be maddening during the summertime, so keep that in mind.

The best way to stay up to date with the Broadfoot herd is to be part of the Wild Horses of Missouri Facebook Group, where I post my latest photos, videos, and tips on the horses.