The Nokota® Horse Conservancy

The Nokota Horse Conservancy® is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to preserve the unique and historical Nokota® Horse. These wild horses of the northern plains inhabited the Little Missouri badlands, now encompassed by Theodore Roosevelt National Park, for more than a century. They were removed by the National Park Service and sold during the 1980s and 1990s. The vast majority of the remaining Nokota® horses now survive on the overburdened Kuntz Ranch. The goals of the Nokota Horse Conservancy® are to preserve these important horses by caring for them, promoting awareness of their plight, value, and use to others, and by working to establish a sanctuary where they can survive into the future.


What We Do

The Nokota® Horse Conservancy exists to preserve Foundation-bred Nokota® horses. We don’t sell or train horses, although the Kuntz family and other members do that on a limited basis — there aren’t a lot of Nokotas in existence (and virtually all of the money from Kuntz family horse sales goes to supporting the rest). All of our activities are organized by members, who volunteer to keep things running and who raise funds to care for the horses and publicize our mission. So far, we’re still working hardest at just keeping the horses alive and well. We are developing a number of collaborative projects that we hope will help us reach our ultimate and most essential goal:   acquiring land for a sanctuary. You can read about some of our partnerships here on the web site, and we’re always open to new ideas.


This is why we do what we do!

Here’s a brief look at the kinds of activities that keep us busy:

  • HORSE CARE: Leo and Frank Kuntz do this all day, everyday, with assistance from Seth Zeigler when he's here. They grow much of their own feed, maintain all of the farm and pasture land, ranch and haying equipment, fences, wells, corrals, etc., feed and water, do a lot of the doctoring and anything else that needs doing. Most donations are spent right here!
  • NHC OFFICE: Shelly Hauge, Frank’s wife, manages the day–to–day NHC business with occasional help. This includes responding to email and phone inquires about anything Nokota–related, as well as filling merchandise orders and working with the databases and registry.
  • NHC BUSINESS is otherwise divided among officers and members of the Board of Directors, who have formed committees to manage aspects of our operation. The entire board meets annually along with dozens of other interested parties to discuss our mission and projects, and to view the horses.
  • FUND RAISING AND OUTREACH: dedicated Team Nokota! members organize many of these activities. These supporters rent booths at horse events and expos, including Equine Affaire in W. Springfield, MA and Columbus, OH, Dressage at Devon, and the PA Farm Show, where they talk to people, sell merchandise, and present horse demonstrations. They have also organized a number of specialty events, including a charity polo match, and have held auctions and raffles.


The Nokota Horse Conservancy®


The first Board of Directors, 1999.

The Nokota Horse Conservancy®, Inc., was formed in June, 1999 by a group of people dedicated to preserving this unique strain of horses and ensuring their survival into the next century. Prior to the establishment of the Conservancy, the Kuntz brothers had been saving and supporting as many horses as they could through their own efforts. After fifteen years of struggling with minimal resources, they were on the verge of giving up. The Nokota Horse Conservancy® is in need of basic resources such as feed for the horses during the often brutal North Dakota winters, and equipment to help provide feed, shelter, and water to the horses.

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If you are interested in helping to save the Nokota® Horses, we would love to hear from you. We need people of vision and with skills of all kinds to help us accomplish our goals. The NHC is always open to those who may also want to visit us and see the Nokota® Horses so please call 701-254-4205 to make an appointment for a prairie pasture tour.  Please check the menu item called "We Need Your Help" for the many ways you can contribute!!

The Nokota Horse Conservancy® was officially granted non-profit status in early 2000; fund-raising efforts have since been, and currently are, underway. The primary long term goal of the Conservancy is to purchase land within North Dakota and form a sanctuary where the horses are ensured a place to survive in a natural setting with minimal management. Secondary goals include establishing an interpretive center on Conservancy lands as well as public and educational programs.

A Nokota® Horse Breed Registry has been developed and currently tracks over one thousand horses, both past and present, and more than one hundred owners. The registry formally establishes the Nokota® as a breed, and is crucial to ensuring the purity and continuance of the breed. Several registration categories have been established to reflect the different types of Nokotas®. Detailed information can be found on The Breed Registry page. If you have any questions or need your horse registered please contact the Conservancy and we will be glad to help.

NHC Officers
Geoff Roehrs - President
Shawna Lichtenwalner - Exec Vice President
Seth Zeigler - Vice President
Castle McLaughin- Vice President
Leigh Garber - Treasurer
Kim Hagen - Secretary

NHC Board of Directors
Elizabeth Bell
Christa Kuntz
Frank Kuntz
Shawna Lichtenwalner
Francois Marchal
Christine McGowan
Castle McLaughlin
Rory Schneider
Jerusha Steinert