On July 31st 2015, a wild horse was born on the same day of the impound notice for the removal of all of the Salt River wild horses. He stole many people’s hearts and at just a few days old, he looked in the cameras, whinnied, and ended up on every News Station as the top of the hour story about the pending removal of his herd. That was over a year ago.
We believe that partly due to his charm, he and all of the Salt River herd were saved by the enormous outcry of the public of Arizona.
Tragically, a year later Diamond now needed saving himself. He very horrifically ripped off his hoof, most certainly by getting stuck in the cattle guard.
When the SRWHMG noticed that Diamond was missing from his band on Thursday July 7th, our team went out to search for him. After many hours he was located, but not until it was dark. He was down, but alive. Eventually he got up and we tried to assess his injuries, even in the dark it was clear that he could not put any weight on his right front leg and our hearts sank.
Our team went home exhausted and with heavy hearts. The next morning after searching and finding him again, the SRWHMG photographers took many detailed pictures to send to our veterinarians and farrier. Half of his hoof was torn off of the coronet band and we did not get much encouraging news from anyone we consulted with. A hoof injury this serious is painful and will most certainly infect the bone and slowly kill the horse.
SRWHMG president, organized the rescue operation and received authorization from the authorities. Then 40 of our volunteers including a few brand new ones, dropped everything they were doing and came to Butcher Jones… but then, he was nowhere to be found. The vet, the darter, the lasso-er, the trailer, were ready, but Diamond was not….
We split up in groups and combed all of the forest and eventually that afternoon we found him again, in worse shape than the day before. The rescue mission now had to be canceled as it had gotten too late in the day, it was rescheduled for 10 am the next morning July 9th. But we were not about to lose him this time. By slow and patient natural horsemanship techniques he was moved from the wash to the beach, where we then formed a human round pen and kept him on the beach for the duration of the afternoon, evening and throughout that night. SRWHMG volunteers took shifts taking short naps in their cars and made sure he got water and gave him enough space to lie down and sleep, but not enough space to escape.
By morning, the very tired SRWHMG volunteers drank a lot of coffee, and were ready for action…
We joined hands and formed a human round pen again… our darter took aim and shot the dart with sedation in his muscle. We were able to keep him within the round pen and then waited for the drug to take effect. Then it was time for our roper, to get him to the ground as gently as possible. Diamond had a little fight left in him and gave a bit of a challenge, but the vet was able to find a vein for the full anesthesia, so that he could thoroughly examine his hoof.
It was not repairable on the scene and infection had already set in. The hoof was quickly cleaned and bandaged, after which he was carried into the SRWHMG trailer. There were cheers, high fives, hugs, tears, and many sighs of relief.
Diamond was then driven to our surgeon in Prescott with a pit-stop at the Chapparel Clinic for more calming drugs. After the long drive to Prescott the surgery was very quick. He now has a cast and was released for 24/7 care at our Prescott facility. He is safely in a stall next to his Salt River cousins, for company and comfort.
If you think this is a long story to read, imagine how our SRWHMG team feels after this 3 day ordeal. It was the most difficult and suscesful rescue to date. His survival is by no means a guarantee and he needs YOUR help saving him.