This is a follow up on our previous post. We decided to name him Kindness at the popular advice of our supporters, and also as kind of a sign of the times. We hope that we can all keep Kindness in mind at all times.
Q and A: So why do we give wild horses names, why are they themed, and why don’t we give this information out freely?
We use each horse’s unique individual name to ID them and track the genetic health and bloodline of his/her family. We track who is breeding whom, what the sex ratios are, band changes, if there is inbreeding and if so the percentages, etc, etc.
We have a number for each horse as well, but that is not as easy to remember as; oh there’s Wisdom’s Legacy (an obvious Wisdom offspring) or there’s Guinnevere (from Lancelot’s old band), there’s Tequila from Champagne’s band, or, there’s Kindness, Highness’ 2020 colt, and then from Highness name, we remember her parents King and Duchess, etc etc.
Even once these animals are all grown up it’s easy to remember where they came from in an instant. It’s also easy to recognize for example that we don’t want Shiraz breeding with Tequila because no good will come of that, lol. (The names are too similar which means they are too closely related.)
What keeps us marveling at nature is that that never happens. Somehow someway, stallions always end up with mares that are far removed from their own bloodlines. (We have up to 8 generations of bloodlines) How they do that, we truly do not know yet. Should the herd ever become too small, then it would be harder for them to find mares outside their own bloodlines.
We don’t have to remember it all by heart because our database helps us keep track of every change, and helps us find patterns and genetic traits. Each horse has it’s own file with it’s history, injuries and band changes. It is detailed and comprehensive, yet easy to use. We have our awesome software engineer to thank for that.
We believe our database also had a great deal to do with saving this herd. Had they ended up at an auction, we would have recognized each horse and fought for it. When we went to legislators and showed them the beautiful family’s, they were amazed at how well we knew them and felt like they should be protected.
We are now stepping into a larger scientific role as well in preserving the genetics and keeping the herd viable, while also balancing the needs of the government and staving off a future want/need for removals.
We have never felt yet that this herd is 100% safe in its entirety. Right now there are still organizations who were invited to the Salt River Horse collaborative, that have set their goals on large removals off Salt River wild horses. Those options are not completely off the table, and depending on who our next governor is, might never be.
This is why we are always on our guard, much like the protective stallions watching over their bands. This is why we have never made our database public yet. This is why we release names only very occasionally. But one day, the Salt River wild horses will be safe. One day, they will be at a sustainable number that makes everyone happy, or at least satisfied.
That will be the day that we will have an app that you can download so that you can look up every horse you come across and learn its history. We are not there yet, we have a lot of public education to do, because it is up to all of us to keep them safe. For now, we will release a name every once in a while. Those horses automatically gain a status of “fame”, which we hope will not work against them.
We hope that all photographers can keep their FOCUS on the well being and longevity of their willing subjects, rather than on that perfect one time shot.
We also hope that people can understand why not to approach them closer than 50 feet; not just for their safety and yours, but to prevent that they become too tame, because that will cause their removal too.
Together, we are responsibly protecting and preserving a priceless historic resource for the State of Arizona.
Always grateful to our supporters, our Governor and to the AZDA for their partnership, SRWHMG.
Picture by SRWHMG photographers GPWalshPhotography
To purchase prints visit www.azwildhorses.com