Mythical? Moonshadow under the full moon last night
This special black (but will grey out) 2020 filly is very independent. When she wanders off, the band follows her and you can see all of the horses keeping an eye on her. She will even pin her little ears back towards another band and they will actually move away for her, because she has her whole band behind her. Could it be possible, that because only few foals were born in 2020 they are getting a little bit spoiled by their bands? In any case, she has few worries on her mind, and no idea how lucky she is to be wild and free.
Likewise, perhaps the public has little idea of the complexities, the compromises and how difficult it really is, to continue to keep all of this herd wild and free. Once things seem fine from the outside, it is amazing how fast some people will take a status quo for granted and even more amazing how many people want to have their 2 cents to say about it, without actually deepening their understanding of the issues. So let us address a few of the myths and facts as quickly as we can:
MYTH: There are some people blatantly stating that these horses don’t need supplemental feed during this drought, because they are in good shape. FACT: You see the horses in good shape, because they receive supplemental feed.
Our advise: take a horse nutrition class and help us pray for rain.
MYTH: Some people claim that the horses cannot access the river. (Perhaps they themselves don’t know the layout of the 20,000 acre habitat. ) FACT: All Salt River wild horses can freely access the Salt River. Our advise: please go out and take a hike!
MYTH: Some claim the feed stations make horses less wild. (when they are actually the ones approaching horses too close )
FACT: Salt River wild horses have had to put up with millions of visitors for decades, and it will only get busier every year. That is not something we can control and it is one of the management challenges we have been addressing with our government partners. We stand ready to post signs in the forest, hand out educational flyers and work with law enforcement, as soon as the details are worked out by government agencies. Our advice: Don’t visit feed stations if you do not like it there.
MYTH: Critics who show horses hanging out together at feed stations post pictures of horses stating that they look “defeated”.
FACT: horses like the safety in numbers and need at least 4 hours of sleep during the daytime. They are simply getting their much needed naps!
MYTH: There is misinformation of the public in regards to a long ago government project relocating horses out of the dangerous area of Butcher Jones and the fencing that keeps them from returning there.
FACT: The horses are simply not authorized by the Forest Service to live in the rolls and the Butcher Jones area, because they did not historically live there. We witnessed how they became stuck in that area in 2013, which is why we facilitated the relocation in 2019/2020 so that they all could stay free. All of the Butcher Jones horses were born on the Salt River and now again have access to the Salt River. The fences and gates are owned by the Forest Service and are therefore federal property. It is punishable up to $5000 plus a jail sentence to temper or remove those gates or fences. Our advice: Don’t mess with it.
In the future we will address more myths and facts as we become aware of them, but consider this in the mean time:
Why are there 50,000 “federally protected” wild horses taken from public lands languishing in holding facilities, and how come the Salt River wild horses are still wild and free? Among lack of willingness to try humane birth control, it is a lack of solid public/private partnerships.
Sparingly there are also still organizations and entities who are working hard to reduce this cherished herd to a very small sizes. While we cannot embellish, it is true that some still want to take the horses’ freedom along with everything we have accomplished. They work quietly behind the scenes and gladly copy and spread the constant negativity and nitpicking of actual horse lovers who love to bash, and offer the pictures of a feed station as good reasons for removals. It’s a sad game to watch when horse lovers fight the ones on their own side of the playing field and hand the ball to the opposition.
Only the few supporters who pay close attention may realize that there is no long term management plan, as of yet, which means no security for this cherished herd until then. So for the final myth that is out there:
MYTH: The Salt River Horse Act (ARS 3-1491) protects the horses against removals
FACT: The Act protects the horses against harassment and killing, but there is NO clause against removals, should the government deem this necessary.
So we continue to do our work and deal with all of the management challenges, we do our best to balance it all and stay positive, while also appreciating the agencies that make it all possible by working together. We will not throw them under the bus like we may have done in the past, and likewise we hope that some of the “know it alls” can stop throwing our hard work under the bus.
However, it just seems to be the thing to do these days. At the exact same time our volunteers are working diligently on our feed program, our pzp program, our field work, our rescue facility, patrolling Bush Hwy and educating the public, there are unhappy people sitting behind their computers continuously bashing, as if their entire self-worth depends on it.
It only came after our success. They bash everything, even complicated and successful rescue missions that have never been performed elsewhere, by any organization.
If you have seen or heard of these myths, we ask that you think smarter than the average bear and consider the sources. The humane management of the Salt River wild horses is a win-win for everyone, except for those who wished that they themselves had done it.
IF you have questions, be wise enough to ask us first, they will always be answered when you send us an email: SaltRiverHerd@respect4horses.com
FYI, lies, libel, defamation, memes and deceitful pictures and stories will not be answered, but instead be addressed by our attorneys, from several different angles, as there are several different parties participating in the baseless slander. It is a shame we have to spend time on this, but defamation of a non profit organization, who relies on donations to continue good work, is a serious actionable act in a court of law. Yes, even in Facebook world. To protect the horses, we must protect our organization.
Fortunately our end goal and end reward is much greater than the hard to find appreciation of stunningly unknowledgeable critics.
Never ever take for granted that the public can still enjoy the beauty and innocence of a little wild horse called Moonshadow, standing under the full moon in the Tonto National Forest.
The freedom of the Salt River wild horses is not guaranteed and it is also not free.
With appreciation and gratitude to the partnerships with federal and state governments and their patience.
SHINE ON Moonshadow ; )
Thank you loyal supporters, SRWHMG.
Picture by SRWHMG volunteer Christine Antaya