It is a beautiful day in the Tonto National Forest (TNF). Please enjoy Salt River wild horses responsibly. Here is some important information:
When you see Salt River wild horses please give them their space and stay a safe 50 ft distance from them at all times.
Please adhere to the Maricopa County Leash law and keep your dogs leashed for their safety (horses have been known to attack dogs and vice versa)
Please do NOT feed horses, especially not carrots or apples, since that can upset their stomach. The Salt River wild horses all know where to find an approved feed station and they are not hungry.
You can find these free roaming horses at the following recreation areas off of Bush Hwy; Water Users, Pebble Beach, Blue Point, Goldfield and Coon Bluff, plus anywhere in between and along the river. Tonto day passes are available at Walgreens and nearby gas stations.
These 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. When you enter their habitat, you do so at your own risk. Regardless if you are watching them on foot, by air, from the water or from horseback, please remember that you are in their home. Do not harass them, chase them, disturb them, or interfere in their daily routines.
Horse back riders should also 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. When you enter their habitat, you do so at your own risk.
The Salt River wild horses are humanely managed by the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG), overseen and under contract with the Arizona Department of Agriculture (AZDA) and through an intergovernmental agreement with the Forest Service.
The Salt River wild horses are protected 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.
These wild horses roam freely on approx. 20,000 acres of the Tonto National Forest (Forest Service land). They are fenced in and surrounded by civilization on all sides, but they are safe within their habitat, and all Salt River wild horses have free access to the lower Salt River.
Because of the persistent drought, SRWHMG has 4 feed stations in each quadrant of the forest that are supplied with certified weed free alfalfa by our hard working volunteers. The horses know exactly where these feed stations are. This crucial feed program is keeping them healthy through a difficult period with very little forage to eat in the Tonto National Forest.
Should you come upon a very large group of horses, you probably have entered a feed station. We ask that you stay on the outside perimeter of these feed areas and enjoy the sight of happy horses, but please keep your distance.
SRWHMG also administers a humane birth control program in order to stabilize the horse population, which in turn affords the horses to stay wild and free. 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. The darters are certified and follow a safety protocol for horses as well as people.
Our volunteers work hard on a number of different tasks, you may see them fixing a fence, helping horses cross, closing gates, or giving out information. You may also see them treat or check on an injured horse. They always do their tasks under oversight and authorization of the AZDA and Forest Service. We ask that you heed their advice and be kind and courteous to them. Their jobs are time consuming and they do not get paid for it. You are welcome to watch our volunteers, and you are welcome to ask them any questions after they are done with their work. (However you should not interfere with the tasks they are trying to accomplish.)
You can help keep the horses safe by:
Closing all gates behind you, because a horse that gets out, will be on the road and has no way of getting back into the forest.
Keeping the forest clean; 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 limits are 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 the horses by making a tax deductible donation on our website or through Facebook. You can also find out more information or buy great wild horse merchandise and prints: Visit www.srwhmg.org
Have a beautiful day, SRWHMG.
Photo by supporter Chris Markes