Roan horses are nice!

Horses with roan  coats are very rare among most breeds, but among Nokota horses roan is the predominant coat color.

Rosie (born 2011) in her blue roan winter coat

In winter the colored hairs grow longer, so the coat looks darker. In summer the long winter hairs rub off and the shorter light grey hairs comes to light.

Blue roan - Red roan

Dark horses collect warm sunlight in winter to keep warm, light horses reflect warm sunlight in summer to stay cool!

Bluebell's darkblue winter coat is shifting to a lighter summer version

Nokota horses are used to the extreme cold and tough winter climate in the Little Missouri Badlands. Now it’s obviously not cold enough here in Sweden and the daylight is coming back from the mid winter darkness, so our horses have a feeling that spring is on the way!

Roan - dark colored hairs mixed with light grey hairs underneath

Roan coats feels nice and smells good, but thats a kind of universal feature among wild horses. Besides, deep roan horse coats are nice to look at, thats what we think anyway!

Wild Prairie Rose – by a blue roan sire and a grullo dame

Wild Prairie Rose

The Official State Flower and The Official State Horse of North Dakota!

7 thoughts on “Roan horses are nice!

  1. I love your horses! I tried very hard to acquire a Nokota. I spoke to Frank Kuntz about a year ago, but found it very difficult to get any information or help in locating a Nokota that I could afford to buy. Sadly, the ones around here were all priced WAY over the moon, which after months of trying to connect with people involved with this breed began to make me feel like nobody really wants to find good homes for them. I’m not saying that to be super critical nor was I expecting something for nothing, but if you have someone who is willing to buy a horse and will provide lots of references that it’s going to a great home where it will get lots of use, why charge three times the going rate? Because the Nokota is”different”? That’s the feeling I got. They have a surplus of Nokotas that need good homes, but you can’t get one for a fair price even if you try. Hm. I found that very odd indeed. I did locate and converse (at length) with a woman several states north of me who had three, but it turned out that the Nokota she wanted to sell was probably not the one best suited for me. I can respect that .. at least she was willing to talk to me and see if it was something that might work out here. And her price was in line with the age and amount of training and experience the horse had, which is to say it was three times less expensive than any of the other Nokotas that I saw for sale anywhere in the North East area. So I guess I’ll just have to live vicariously through your pictures and experiences. Every time I see a Nokota I still wish I’d been able to get one, but I guess it was just not to be. 😦


    • Hi, First I must say we’re glad you like the Nokota horses so much and don’t give up about it just yet. Sometimes you must be at the right place at the right time. We didn’t recognize the prizes different from any other unhandled horses, so that must have been some misunderstanding and the preservation of the Nokota needs all support it can get. Sometimes there are horses not necessary for the preservation herd, so they are better of to be sold to someone like you. If I were you I’d contact the Zeigler’s, they are nice people, you’ll find their webpage.


  2. Thanks for your kind response! I kind of had to let go of getting a Nokota even though for some strange reason I felt deeply drawn to them. I met Frank in the fall of 2010 at the MA. Equine Affair after I just happened to catch the Nokota breed demo. I was enchanted by the breed right from first sight and couldn’t get them out of my mind. I came home and did a ton of research on them and started thinking that maybe someday I might look into owning one myself. I thought the type of riding I do would be very well suited to the breed. Two months later I suddenly lost my Arab (I’d had her 23 years) and after that loss I began to think that I might try to find a Nokota as my next trail companion. When I ran up against so many obstacles I was surprised. It seemed like everything I read was saying the needed lots of help, but then I found most of the people connected with the breed were unreachable and their online information and contacts were almost all terribly out of date or disconnected. I exchanged several Emails with a trainer in SD who had taken a young Nokota in for training. The horse had been abandoned there by it’s owner and so she decided to list him for sale. She said great things about the little roan, but in the long run I decided that the distance was too great to work with someone I really didn’t know at all. I was also worried how stressful the shipping might be for a young horse so far away. (I think he was 3 or 4 years old) Eventually I decided to let that one go too.

    I don’t know what the future holds, but maybe some day if this breed gets a little easier to acquire I’d sure love to find one! Meanwhile, I’ll just have to keep reading your blog!


  3. Love your horses and photos of them:) I call my bay roan my horse of many colors…her head, mane, tail, four legs all remain black and dark through the year but her body goes through several colors….she is striking.


  4. It is considerate and wise to think twice about shipping a horse as long as from the Dakotas to the east coast, and there is no way to candy coat the fact that transportation is tough in many ways, but as with most things the psychological factor is most crucial. So I can testify from much experience that if the horse is prepared mentally first, is given the same consideration throughout the journey with frequent rests, and is as tough physically as a Nokota then one need not feel guilty or worried; it is simply another minor obstacle that once overcome opens the doors to many more possabilities  Because there is a small but growing group of Nokota supporters scattered across the east Frank Kuntz usually makes at least one trip a year with several Nokotas at one time, which lowers the cost per individual and makes the journey much easier for the horses to always be among other equine friends.
    Pricing is even more of a doozey of a topic that I know they have all struggled with for a long, long time. But after spending a decade living among them I can guarantee that Frank and Leo are not in it to get rich; that they sink every dollar they can put together (including their Veterans’ Association disability checks for the hardships Vietnam left them) into the Nokota cause and do it sincerely from the bottom of their hearts because they want the horses to succeed and thrive.
    So considering the economics, they had an advantage going into this of a generous and close horse loving family that basically gave up the ranch for this cause alone, and that is one heck of an opportunity cost as they could pay off many of the loans they have built up feeding these horses by simply renting or selling some of that land amid a strong local ag market. Everything that 1350 some acres can produce goes into a Nokota. But in spite of all the coaxing from neighbors who are making big profits to forget this crazy wild horse dream, Leo and Frank have not given up on these horses for 3 decades, even when everyone else had.
    The original horses out of Theodore Roosevelt National Park were a type of wild which I can not put into words. They had been shot from aircraft, rounded up by cowboys on sharpshod horses during the most icey days of winter, trapped numerous ways, even offered poisoned hay (which they refused but the bison ate). They were nothing like what you see there today in great close up photos and where you can walk right through the middle of a band; that is the product of the introductions and several generations without this persecution. Furthermore, the Little Missouri Badlands are a brutal environment, so it is very natural for these horses to have few foals, always careful and concentrated. Some mares captured in the Park foal the next spring, but most often they abort from the stress of the roundup and sale (in a regular sales barn where many pick up some disease that was entirely foreign to them in the wild). Others don’t even survive the transition themselves. Case in point, I bought a wild mare of the old school and a filly of old bloodlines but casual appearance in the 2003 roundup sale, and the filly cut herself in the night while we had her quarantined in a fine facility and quickly bled to death (no matter how much you try to prepare nothing can be perfectly safe to a wild horse “contained” for the first time). The mare spent many years barren before she finally was comfortable enough with the half wild life on the ranch to have foals again, and she had been fecund by Nokota standards before that with nearly a foal a year. In 2011 she gave us “Wild Prairie Rose”, now with this wonderful Werner family  And though that story gives me many smiles, I have seen numerous mares from the Park pass away aged but without producing a single foal on the ranch, and many more leaving scant few.
    Nonetheless, Leo and Frank spent much money buying the horses from the roundups and then caring for them to get very, very few but immeasurably precious offspring through the early years. And even now our emphasis is on the quality of the breed, so it is normal for us to only expose mares to stallions every other year and let the foals stay with their mothers as long as possible. Naturally, that builds a lot of costs into each and every foal.
    Considering supply and demand, the viable base of the entire Nokota breed is well within the “critically threatened” category, and the demand from those interested in preservation breeding outstrips the supply of suitable fillies, so that would also tend towards a higher price, as would the insistence by some that only high priced horses are “valuable” horses worth considering buying. I had to work many, many months with the Kuntz family and at a regular job before I could buy my first Nokota, and I know it is a hurdle but also feel that there is some truth to the old saying about only truly cherishing what you had to work the hardest for. It sure holds true for Frank and Leo and their horses…
    Yet the recent economic downturn has made it acutely apparent that the horse world at large has overproduced, and this is reflected in the lower than cost prices of horses many places, including in the east. And I can certainly acknowledge that some of these are great horses and very much worth owning. The primary difference I see with a Nokota, what makes them worth so many times more than their price, is the very consistently cooperatve, honest, and open disposition. Life in a harsh environment put a premium on teamwork and communication, and this is an invaluable asset in any mount. And it exists in all breeds, but I have found none nearly as strongly so as the Nokota.
    But these higher priced individuals are not the only chance to own a Nokota, for as is wisely pointed out here there are also individuals who are not critical to the perpetuation of the breed and thus can be had for lower prices. Leo and Frank have kind hearts, and the price is surely negotiable, Nokotas have even been donated to good causes without the means to purchase like Diamond Willow Ministies.
    So I encourage anyone wishing to explore the possibility of owning a Nokota to give Leo a call at 701-782-4239 and Frank at 701-321-2320 , and although distant I may be able to help, too, since I know many of the horses and get online more often 😉


  5. The love of my life is a blue roan gelding named “Blue”. I know not to imaginative but he is an amazing animal. I get offers to buy him every time we are out in public together.
    Great job on the blog, very informative and I love the pics. Maybe my next trip abroad will have to be to the West Coast of Sweden.


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