German TV crew films program about Nokota horses
North Dakota: Many people say the Nokota horse is descended from Sitting Bull's buffalo ponies. The Nakota story and efforts to save them has captured the attention of ARD. Located in Germany, ARD is one of the world's largest television networks.
ARD recently spent several days near Linton filming a segment on the Frank Kuntz farm. In 1999 Frank and his brother, Leo, established the Nokota Horse Conservancy to save the bloodline of horse that once roamed the Badlands.
The brothers own about half of the 1,000 Nakota horses remaining in the world.
"I was very impressed with the Nokota conservancy organization," said Angela Andersen, producer of the show "Panorama. "These people have put their money, their hearts ...everything into this. They are amazing people."
Andersen said the show has many layers that will appeal to the German audience. It's about bringing back the Nakota from the brink, and the story two men dedicating their lives to the horses' survival.
Correspondent Klaus Scherer added that Germans are especially enamored with the history of the American West. He hopes the segment will reflect what the Kuntzes and others are doing to preserve that history.
Scherer said watching hundreds of horses running across the vastness of North Dakota offers the audience a unique perspective of the state.
"Watching three, four, five hundred horses running ... it was good to the camera," he said. "This is not a country -- it is a continent."
Anderson said a farm near Linton, N.D., is the perfect setting from which to tell that tale.
"It's been a long time since I have seen something that beautiful," she said.
The Nakota segment will air in Germany during the Christmas holiday season. Andersen said the Nokota and the effort to save them is a story of spirit and passion.
"To see these horses move as one, in the open fields of North Dakota ... that's where they belong," she said. "These are beautiful, healthy horses. To bring them back ... back to where they came from in North Dakota ... it is inspiring."
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