When you visit the Tonto National Forest (TNF) and you see Salt River wild horses, please enjoy them responsibly, take lots of pictures, and share them with us!
Here is some general Information if you want to visit and see the horses:
- Salt River wild horses are semi-tolerant of people (because they see thousands of humans yearly), but they are still wild and unpredictable animals that should be respected as such.
- You can see these free roaming horses anywhere in the TNF along Bush Hwy. There are many recreation areas where you can park and take a walk along the river, as long as you buy a Tonto day pass. (Available at Walgreens and nearby gas stations and at machines in recreation areas)
- Keeping a safe and respectful distance of 50 ft from the horses, is the best way to observe their daily behavior, without disturbing them. You can watch them battling, playing, snaking, grooming, grazing, migrating or like this guy, just napping.
- These wild horses roam freely on approximately 19,000 acres that is fenced, and they are humanely managed through a novel cooperation between the US Forest Service, the AZ Department of Agriculture (AZDA) and our -all volunteer non-profit- organization, SRWHMG.
- The Salt River Horses are protected from harassment pursuant to A.R.S 3 – 1491, also called the Salt River Horse Act, passed and signed by Governor Ducey in 2016 and enacted in 2017.
- Because of the persistent drought, and our commitment to treat them humanely, we currently have 4 feed stations in the forest that are supplied with certified weed free alfalfa on a regular basis by our hard working volunteers. The horses know exactly where these feed stations are. This crucial feed program is getting them through a difficult period with very little to eat in the Tonto National Forest.
- Should you come upon a very large group of horses, you probably have entered a feed area. We ask that you stay on the outside perimeter of these feed areas and enjoy the sight of horses happily eating. You are welcome to watch our volunteers distribute the hay, and you are welcome to ask them any questions after they are done with the work.
- SRWHMG is also in charge of a humane birth control program in order to stabilize their population growth, which in turn affords them to stay wild and free. The mares are each on a schedule, and you may see our darting teams out there in the field at any time during the year with a green dart projector, or air rifle. They practice utmost caution and a safety protocol for horses and people.
- Horse back riders should be aware that wild horses are not vaccinated against any disease and may periodically contract any type of virus or bacteria that could be transmittable to your horse or dog through soil, manure or close proximity. Please ride at your own risk.
- Dog owners please adhere to the Maricopa County leash law, as some stallions have been known to attack loose dogs, especially when the dog unknowingly gets close to their offspring.
- Please close all gates behind you to keep horses and people safe, because a horse that gets out, will be on the road and has no way of getting back into the forest.
- Please pack out what you pack in and pick up some extra trash for the horses if you can.
- Heed the speed limit on Bush Hwy and Goldfield Rd., there are speed feedback signs and it is strictly enforced by MCSO Lake patrol.
- Please report any issues or injuries of horses to the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group hotline (480)-868-9301
- Please consider supporting humane management of the Salt River wild horses by making a year-end tax deductable donation on our website. You can also find out more information there and buy all sorts of wild horse merchandise: Visit www.srwhmg.org
- We hope you get to enjoy these Arizona treasures and when you take your pictures, and you want to share them with other people, there’s a page for that too! We invite you to meet other like minded Salt River horse lovers, and share your pictures on the popular page: Salt River Wild Horses- Advocates. Just ask to join and agree to the posting guidelines 🙂
We want to thank everyone for treating these cherished horses with respect and for supporting our organization.
Happy new year from all of us to all of you. SRWHMG.
📷This picture of a handsome bachelor stallion taken by SRWHMG feed manager Rick Blandford.