Letters from Kids Helped Create Law!

Velma Johnston, “Wild Horse Annie” (photo NV Historic Society)

Long before there was the internet and emails wild horses were in serious trouble.

A woman named Velma Johnston started working to save them. Kids all across America helped her do it!

Wild Horse Annie got newspapers, magazines and television interested in the plight of wild horses. 

Velma encouraged grade-school children across the nation to write to Congress.

The massive letter-writing campaigns paid off.

In 1959, the hunting of wild horses by airplane was banned.

In 1971, the United States Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act protecting these living remnants of the Old West. On December 15, 1971 the President signed it into law!

Amado, Summer and Fritz at Little Brook Farm

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is the federal agency that manages wild horses today. They write this in their educational material about Velma!

Sometimes, one person really can make a difference.

In 1950 Velma Johnston was a shy, middle-aged secretary from Reno, Nevada. One day, on her way to work, she noticed blood leaking from the back of a truck. She followed the truck to a factory where horse meat and other items were produced. Johnston was horrified by what she saw there, and she began a campaign for the humane treatment of the wild horses.

Johnston started a letter-writing campaign that generated more letters to Congress than any other subject but the Vietnam War.

With her encouragement, thousands of schoolchildren wrote letters about their concern for the welfare of the wild horses. Velma’s opponents mockingly nicknamed her “Wild Horse Annie,” but she welcomed the name and it stuck.

Wild Horse Annie’s efforts led to the passage of the Wild Horse Annie Act of 1959 and the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. These laws protect wild horse and burro populations and are still in effect today

A beautiful drawing sent with a letter to Amado

Today our wild horses are in trouble again. 

You can use your email and send us a letter, poem or a picture to WHEKids@gmail.com or you can send a letter to a mustang named Amado that was born free, captured and now lives on a farm. He has a friend named Fritz, a miniature horse, that takes letters to Congressman!

Here is Amado’s and his friends’ list ​of what they want you to know and to tell everyone!  HAVE EVERYONE YOU KNOW SEND LETTERS! 

  1. All Wild Mustangs and all Burros must be protected and never harmed or hurt.
  2. Wild Mustangs and Burros have friends and family and they need to stay home with their families on our public lands.  Our public lands should be protected just for our wild horses and burros to share with other wildlife.  Everyone needs a home!
  3. Wild Mustangs and Burros need and deserve their own clean water and food that is found on the range. Wild horses are great at sharing their food and water – and go a long ways to find it – but they need to be able to find it without fences in the way.
  4. All the Mustangs and Burros that have already been taken from their homes and are now in big pens without their families – must be protected and be safe and never hurt. They lost their home and miss their families
  5. All the Mustangs and Burros belong to every American… we all own them and it is not OK for anyone to take them from us.

Post them on social media too and tag us, @WHEKids @WildHorseEducation and your Senators and Representatives. 

Amado’s Address is:


c/o Little Brook Farm            

  PO Box 127                                        

Old Chatham, NY 12136