They are amazing athletes, our Salt River wild horses. For centuries they have evolved in and around this river. They teach their foals how to swim on the same day they are born. They eat and graze from the river and they sleep in it. When they are injured, they stay right next to it. This kindof equatic adaptation takes years and is taught from generation to generation. This is their river much more than it is ours.
For years SRWHMG has been collecting DNA from every deceased Salt River wild horse and we finally have a large enough number where Dr. Gus Cothran, can say something about it pending a full study. He is professor emeritus at the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) and a leader in the field of equine population genetics.
Here’s what he has to say: ” So far I can say that there is evidence of Spanish ancestry in the Salt River horses. That the Spanish influance seems to be widespread in the herd, suggests that it could trace back to the founding of the herd, unless there were spanish horses in the area that could have been the source of the Spanish blood. Even if that is the case, it would have had to have taken place many generations ago”. Dr Gus Cothran (CVM)
We strongly suspected this all along, just by the way their conformation is, and also through research of historic articles in the Arizona Archives. However, it is great to have it confirmed through DNA research at this crucial time, while this herd is being attacked and targeted in court, by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Audubon Society plus sport hunters, who – no surprise – claim that they are feral ranchstock. We wonder how many horses’ DNA they have sent in? Actually we of course know that’s none.
The Salt River wild horses most likely originate from the horses father Eusebio Kino left behind when he came through this exact region and set up his missions in the 1600’s.
This means that their ancestors were here, before our ancestors were.
So who wants to help preserve such an amazing remnant of our Arizona history?
If they are worth ten minutes to you, here are some important phone calls you can make:
Just let them know that Salt River wild horses are historic, and that you will not stand for any removals. Keep things very polite but urgent and ask them to call you back too and just tell them how you feel, these officials want to hear from you.
- Governor Katie Hobbs – 602 542 4331
- Senator Kyrsten Sinema – 520 639 7080
- Senator Mark Kelly – 602 671 7901
The horses are counting on you Arizonans!
Photo by Jenny Van Kuren Garrison from Salt River wild horses – Advocates, written by Simone Netherlands.