We did not get a drop of rain for most of the past year and a half in Salt River horse habitat. (the TNF). But now that it is finally raining, it is pouring and does not want to stop.
We are so thankful for it, because the earth needs it badly, but at the same time we were dreading colic season, which happens every year after the rains come. When it rains, it soaks the mesquite beans, which the horses sometimes eat too many of. This causes impactions that we know can be fatal about 50% of the time.
We have been monitoring more than a dozen severe colic cases, and tragically have found 3 of the colicking horses deceased in the past 2 days. These cherished Salt River horses have perished:
💟 Ruby, a 20 yr old mare from Hook’s band, died across the river at Coon Bluff. She leaves a 10 month old filly, whom we are monitoring.
💟 Norman, a two year old son of Neiman, died at Mud Cliffs. He leaves his little sister Nala and his mother Ayla grieving.
💟 Timber, a 16 yr old beautiful lead stallion and a great loss to the herd, died at Coon Bluff in the mesquite forest. He leaves his beautiful offspring: Aspen, Cedar, Acacia, Thorne and Maple. His band has been split up with each mare/yearling pair being adopted by young and upcoming bachelors. All of the yearlings are being treated well by their new adoptive stallions.
We regret so much to have to bring you such bad news and we know it is difficult to hear. What always gets us through, is to remember that each Salt River wild horse is born free and dies free in the home they know and love. They never had to know the terror of helicopters or the heartache of seperation from their families, like thousands of other wild horses across the country. This is the wild after all, and it is a natural attrition rate. It is what makes this herd sustainable, which is what makes their freedom possible.
The rains also will bring renewal and we are hoping for more forage for the Salt River wild horses and all wildlife.