We have talked to this gentleman who took this video and as we suspected, it is someone who loves the horses.
He explained how his friend meant to move the horses for another couple friends to get by, but how they will definitely not ever do that again. Thank you!
We explained that next time it is best to move to the other side of the river long before you run into the horses, so that the bands can stay in the water to eat their much-loved green spaghetti.
No one is upset and we really appreciate this. Everything is all good and he even wants to become a volunteer.
We want to thank every person who contacted us, it actually makes us feel hopeful that the message is resonating.
Slowly but surely maybe there won’t be a person left, who doesn’t know that these horses are protected, and if we want to keep them around forever, we simply have to learn to respect them, the way they respect us.
We will continue to educate in a kind way. Thank you everyone!
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We were sent this video and we were asked if these seemingly well-meaning guys did anything illegal.
The answer is yes, this can be considered harassment and/or interference, and both are illegal per ARS 3-1491.
The Arizona law, also called the Salt River Horse Act of 2016, makes harassment and interference with a Salt River wild horse a misdemeanor punishable by fine or jail time.
In this video, it appears that many bands were peacefully socializing and eating eelgrass in the river, when at least two men floated by very close to them. The men who posted this themselves came within 10 feet of the horses and then started “herding” them out of the river purposely, as you can also hear him saying. You then see an individual push horses with his paddleboard and then the video cuts off. This incident involved at least 5 different bands of horses.
The men did not seem to want to hurt the horses and their statements appeared more like they were having a great time seeing the horses.
Still, moving wild horses away from where they want to be, or “herding” them, definitely interferes with their important feeding habits and likely changed their entire pattern for that day.
Rather than scold people, we would rather they understand for next time, that they really disturbed these horses and that is at the very least, ignorant and inconsiderate.
The Salt River wild horses are peaceful and they bother no one. They are family-oriented animals with intricate social structures. They need the river more than you do. They eat eelgrass out of the river, which is an important part of their diet. They also socialize with other bands in the river and that is very important to their herd dynamics and keeping things peaceful between stallions.
Please consider that this was their home, long before millions of people came to float down the river. Salt River wild horses have been pushed into a much smaller habitat than they used to have, and they have to deal with thousands of people every day. They have learned to share with grace, but they still deserve to live their lives with a little bit of peace.
If everyone did what you did, they truly could no longer live their lives on the river and we all couldn’t enjoy them anymore.
So please keep a distance of 50 ft from wild horses at all times.
Don’t “herd” them, don’t chase them, don’t pet them, don’t feed them, don’t throw things at them, don’t yell at them. All these things are considered harassment.
Just enjoy them, watch them, and be glad we still have them around.
Everyone has a learning curve and we give first-time offenders the benefit of the doubt, because it is usually because they love the horses so much.
If you love the horses, watch them respectfully and stay 50 ft away or more, and let them live their lives in peace. Thank you.