An aging, domesticated brown and white Paint horse was found abandoned by a volunteer for the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group.
Author: Pete Scholz
Published: 4:53 PM PST April 2, 2018
Updated: 6:42 PM PST April 2, 2018
TONTO NATIONAL FOREST, Ariz – Lester Walker put the call out around 8:30 Monday morning.
“We need to get somebody out here. There’s a horse out here that’s not one of the Salt River’s,” he said.
Walker volunteers with Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, which ooks after the health and welfare of a herd of wild horses that roam near the base of the Superstition Mountains east of the greater Phoenix area.
But on this morning, the unmistakable brown and white markings of a Tobiano Paint horse caught his eye.
The group’s president, Simone Netherlands, got word and quickly mobilized her volunteer network. Getting this particular horse out of this environment was paramount.
“Domestic horses absolutely cannot survive out here,” Netherlands said.
The aging Paint horse was found attempting to forage for food along Usury Pass Road just south of the Bush Highway in the Usury Mountain Recreation Area.
“This is definitely a tame horse that’s used to people,” Netherlands said after assessing the health and make-up of the horse. “But you don’t know that when you first walk up.”
In her opinion, this Paint horse was “irresponsibly dumped” in the Tonto National Forest by someone who lost interest in an animal they could no longer ride and chose not to care for anymore.
She and her volunteers set up a human perimeter to corral the horse in case he decided to head for greener pastures, but that wasn’t case for this wayward equine. He, like other domesticated horses that get dumped, are merely “waiting to get picked up,” Netherlands said.
After a patient, genteel approach, the group’s president was able to slip a halter on him, and then slowly lead the Paint to the safety of a corral and a trailer.
A veterinarian examined the horse and determined he was about 20 years old and suffering from an advanced case of arthritis is his front legs.
Netherlands and her group are eager to find out who is responsible for abandoning the horse between March 31 and April 1, 2018. Contact the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group if you have information.