We were once so proud of horse advocates. Horse advocates, they stuck together for one common goal, but right now, we are ashamed, and we have to tell you why.
As most everyone knows, we are humanely managing an incredibly cherished and popular herd of wild horses in the Tonto National Forest. Not one of them has ever been removed, unless it had a detrimental injury and needed to be rescued.
This arrangement is unheard of, and has literally never before happened in America with a wild horse herd that was NOT protected by the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act. As we speak, thousands of wild horses are languishing in BLM holding pens, wild horses who get rounded up by the thousands from our public lands. That’s the norm in America.
But we said; ” there is a better way, it will be a win win for everyone, and we will prove it”. Yes we worked our butts off to preserve these historic animals, and still do, but we were also very lucky.
We were lucky to have a Forest Service Supervisor willing to listen to the public (he did not have to) and we were lucky to have a Governor willing to put his reputation on the line for these wild horses. Governor Doug Ducey ended the debate pretty much with one single tweet, and then signed a bill to protect them. On top of that, we were incredibly lucky to have an Agriculture Department willing to take on such a controversial issue, in a humane way.
So while almost gone forever, the Salt River wild horses get to live wild and free instead. They get to be treated humanely.
Our idea of humane management is pretty progressive. Control the population but also help them if possible whenever they suffer.
On average our volunteers monitor 10 horses per month with some kind of injury or colick or ailment. We have rescued 16 Salt River wild horses who would have otherwise died a terrible slow death. We have also saved the entire herd from starvation during drought.
All of this, under the overseeing eye of the Arizona Department of Agriculture, AZDA, and with permission of the US Forest Service, on whose land they live.
So we are just wondering: DO ANY OF THE CRITICS UNDERSTAND HOW RARE THAT IS AND HOW LUCKY THESE HORSES ARE?!!
This is little Gwenn in the picture, she is Lancelot’s youngest and last offspring. She suffered from terrible colick, so bad that she could not get up. Her band was about to leave her, because they needed to go to water and had waited for her for a day and a half already.
We were heartbroken as it looked like she would not make it. So we asked permission to interfere. With lots of patience, Simone, our president, was able to administer a strong dose of banamine. Banamine is an anti- inflammatory that relaxes the colon and a very efficient drug for colick.
After 30 minutes, Gwenn was able to get up and go to water with her band. We watched with great hope as she rehydrated, kept up with them, and eventually got better. This is 8 months ago now, and she is living happily ever after with her band, still protected wild and free.
Now please tell us, does this sound like an Agriculture Department (AZDA), that would just go kill a horse for the heck of it, a group president who does not care, or volunteers who would be accomplices to murder??
Seriously, that’s is what we are getting accused of right now, by several internet local self proclaimed “horse advocates”. Baseless accusations that are farther fetched than the moon and thrown around with not a grain of decency or honest intentions. So called activists, who are too nimwitted to see that they are fighting the ones on their own side of the battlefield, making it way easier for the opposite side to win.
We are ashamed, because they are using the Salt River wild horse platform to gain popularity for themselves pretending to be some sort of “hero” by finding fault with the current arrangement, no matter what.
The attacks are to the AZDA as well as to the SRWHMG and they are even bothering the governor. It is all over an injured horse that is being monitored that we have no intention of euthanizing, unless he deteriorates further.
So we are sorry if we sound a little teed. We would not blame the governor right now if he thought horse advocates were crazy.
This is an important time that local horse advocates need to get it together. That does not appear to be happening.
Maybe you can help us. We know that we have way more awesome supporters than the few crazies, so we need your help making up for their bad behavior.
Help us make up for it by thanking Governor Doug Ducey, the AZDA and even the Forest Service, for the preservation and humane management of the Salt River wild horses. Ask that the current status quo may continue into the future.
Please go to their pages and thank them, yes even the Forest Service. The cooperation between the AZDA, USFS and SRWHMG is the only arrangement that can and will save these precious national treasures into the future.
Sincerely and humanely yours, SRWHMG.