Wild Horse Annie
PC: Denver Public Library, Western History/Genealogy collection……

Velma Bronn Johnston “Wild Horse Annie” spent most of her life trying to protect wild horses. After stumbling across terrible cruelty to a truckload of wild mustangs, she vowed to bring justice to these majestic animals. Johnston had a true pioneer spirit. She’s an amazing representation of the American West.

Check out these fascinating facts about this influential horsewoman!

1. Velma Johnston was born in Reno, Nevada on March 5, 1912. Her father ran a freighting service with the use of horses. Many of them had mustang lineage.

2. At age 11, Johnston was stricken with polio. Ultimately, this left her disfigured. She developed great empathy for animals that were confided or suffering, due to her many months in the hospital.

3. In 1950, when driving to work, Johnston witnessed a truck crammed with wild horses heading to slaughter. In a gruesome event, a yearling on the truck was trampled to death. It was this moment she decided to expose the cruelty to the public.

4. Johnston was a charming and skilled public speaker. She began her campaign in her hometown of Storey County. It was around this time she received the nickname “Wild Horse Annie”. And in 1959, the “Wild Horse Annie Act” was implemented. This stopped the use of motorized vehicles (planes and trucks) in the capturing or killing of wild horses.

5. With encouragement from Johnston, the public wrote thousands of letters to Congress in hopes of saving wild horses. The Wild-Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act was then signed into law in 1971. Johnston played a huge role in making this happen!

Johnston is a national hero. The movement to save mustangs started with a caring and kind woman. What an inspiration!

You can see pictures of these beautiful animals by heading over to ‘The Remarkable Beauty Of America’s Wild Mustangs‘!