Our Mission: Ensure Their Protection and Humane Management
The Salt River wild horses are the historic and majestic creatures roaming the lower Salt River in the Tonto National Forest in Mesa, Arizona. They are the pride of the community, a favorite subject of photographers and the icon of the wild, free spirit of Arizona and the American West.
These wild horses were brought into the limelight during the epic battle for their protection; we rounded up large herds of people who gave them their voice, we stampeded congress and we worked toward positive solutions with Federal and State governments. It worked. While almost gone forever, today the Salt River wild horses are protected pursuant to Arizona Revised Statute 3-1491. We are currently under contract to manage them humanely under the AZ Department of Agriculture.
Needless to say that we are forever grateful to the public of Arizona and all of it’s legislators and politicians. We are also grateful for our Arizona State Department of Agriculture and Salt River Horse Liaison Jacquelyn Hughes for the great working relationship.
Most of all we are grateful to all of YOU who continue to support us, and sustain our programs with your financial support. Together, we changed the course of history. Together we are preserving and managing an important historic and recreational resource. It is the culmination of everything we’ve worked for, but also just the beginning.
What is Next?
Managing wild horses is multi-faceted, from rescuing severely injured wild horses, to maintaining fencing, to fighting for improvements in their habitat. With over 100 dedicated volunteers we have a daily presence in the Tonto National Forest. We monitor the herd’s health and keep records on each horse. We deal with any and all situations that involve a wild horse. While we have unofficially been doing this for many years, there were things that we were not able to implement, like our humane birth control program.
Under the AZDA, we can now start to implement every aspect of our humane management plan. Our humane management plan includes the following components:
- A humane birth control program to stabilize and reduce population growth in the Salt River wild horse herd.
- Emergency solutions such as our feed program and diversionary watering.
- Installation and maintenance of fences and gates to keep wild horses off roadways.
- Work to implement safety features to reduce the chances of horse-vehicle collisions.
- Monitor the health of the herd and each individual in it.
- Capture and rescue of fatally injured wild horses to prevent needless suffering.
- Give care and sanctuary to rescued Salt River wild horses.
What is Humane Birth Control and why is it important?
PZP (Porcine Zona Pelucida) immuno-contraception is the acceptable form of birth control for wild horses, as it does not harm nor influence their wild behaviors and herd dynamics. Any other form of birth control, such as geldings or overyectomies, will influence their hormones and therefore their wild behavior, which is why we do not support it. PZP however, can be darted without capturing wild horses and it prevents fertilization for one year. By implementing this fertility control protocol with our certified darters, we can stabilize the population humanely. This is important, because the herd is fenced in by civilization on all sides, and their resources are limited. Therefore they cannot grow exponentially. The program will give the older mares a break from having babies and give the younger mares more time to mature before having a foal. The goal of the program is for each horse born in the wild, to be able to stay in the wild.
Emergency feed program
As a result of the record breaking drought in Arizona, we have had to start an emergency feed program to improve the condition of the Salt River wild horses and keep them healthy. Together with the AZ State Department of Agriculture, we designed feed stations in strategic locations. The program is planned so that the horses stay out of the more public areas. The locations are undisclosed to the public, so that they can eat in peace. We feed certified weed free hay. We kindly ask from the public to respect the horses, heed the viewing guidelines and not to feed wild horses themselves. We need your help as the program is high in cost and intensive in manpower. To buy a bale of hay for the Salt River wild horses click here!
Giving care and sanctuary:
When we rescue a suffering wild horse we are committed to providing that horse a quality life. With their Salt River horse family, lots of room to run and lots of love from many volunteers, we hope it is a close second best to living wild and free. We have two locations where our volunteers take care of our rescued wild horses, one is in Fountain Hills and the other is in the cooler temperatures of Prescott.
GIDEON UPDATE: We want to thank you all so much for the interest in the smallest foal of the Salt River ever found. He was found alone under a tree as a newborn, very dehydrated and overheated. All of his new sponsors helped decide on his name in a vote, Gideon means “little warrior”, so it is very appropriate. He is doing fantastic and is steadily growing from his mere 33 pounds. If you would like to become Gideon’s sponsor, CLICK HERE! A newborn orphan foal needs around the clock intensive care, which we have become experts in. All of our former orphans with health challenges are now healthy young adults. If you want to receive our alerts and updates click here.
YOU can make a difference!
PLEASE Join us in this historic movement to ensure that these beautiful wild horses remain wild and free and managed humanely. All of the SRWHMG non-profit programs are dedicated to safeguarding wild horse habitat and using humane standards of treatment. Every dollar of your donation will go towards the horses directly. To donate click here. Or if you like real mail, our address is: SRWHMG, 4610 N. 68th street #477, Scottsdale, AZ 85251.
Background: When the impound notice for their removal was posted, in 2015, we were devastated. We knew that it would take an unprecedented public outrage to prevent this disastrous fate. We gave it our all; we alerted the media, we held rallies, we filed a lawsuit and we negotiated. What happened next was amazing, it was the unprecedented public outrage we needed, and then some- the people of Arizona and its politicians gave these iconic wild horses a voice. Eventually, the Forest Service agreed to rescind the impound notice. Together, we changed the course of history for the Salt River wild horses, who now have a legal right to live on the Salt River in Arizona and are protected under State law and will be managed humanely. More than 100 news pieces can be found when you search “Salt River Wild Horse Management Group” , including pieces on CNN, the New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Times and our very supportive local stations ABC15, FOX10, CBS5/3tv and 12News.
There are so many jobs to do, from monitoring horses on the river, to fixing fences to keep horses off the roads, to organizing and fundraising. We have sales booths and events and also there is lots of mucking to do at our Facility!