July 2nd @ 1PM
As the contractor for the State of Arizona and in cooperation with the US Forest Service, the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG)has gradually and successfully relocated a total of 60 wild horses back to the lower Salt River. The move spanned 6 miles walking distance (or 4 miles as the crow flies), from the Butcher Jones area back to the Salt River area, where they originated in 2013. The two areas are separated by Bush Hwy.
The reason for the careful move out of the Butcher Jones area and the rolls, was a consideration of what was best for the horses as well as the public.
Relocating wild horses is not as easy as loading them in a trailer and bringing them to the desired area. This strategy was tried and tested by the AZDA who bait trapped Mick’s band carefully at Butcher Jones. Yet upon release at the river, the band immediately walked 6 miles back to exactly where they came from.
Wild horses also should not be chased to a desired area, because they will just scatter and return to their own desired area. They have a mind of their own and are very rooted in their patterns and home territories. A sign of a sentient and intelligent animal species is the making of conscious choices. Therefore permanently moving wild horses is more a process of convincing, than it is of moving.
We slowly but surely changed their patterns and comfort zones by baiting them with large water troughs and feed, moving the troughs gradually, until they felt comfortable to explore wider and wider patterns. We eventually got them close enough to where they decided on their own to make the river their home territory again. The horses were never in any danger and all are accounted for along the lower Salt River.
We’ve encountered many challenges during this project and we are celebrating the finish of it. Hooray!
SRWHMG would like to thank the AZDA for the great working partnership and the Forest Service for their patience. We would like to thank Dennet’s Water Service for the delivery of thousands of gallons of water at a discounted price. We would like to thank our volunteers for their hard physical labor in sometimes unbearable temperatures. We would like to thank all of the public for the support, and for the nice interactions when stopping to photograph the horses.
Total cost of this project:
- $8600 in delivered water.
- $2200 in equipment and water troughs.
- $900 in gates and over 2000 volunteer hours.
The result: 60 happy re-homed horses that were able to stay wild and free. PRICELESS.
Managing them for the public and by the public,
Update, July 6th, 4 days later
The band is getting used to their new surroundings. Do you think they look comfortable enough? Lol. : )
Picture by SRWHMG Deb Mykitiak