A WILD LIFE.
Life in the wild can be extremely harsh and not every wild horse makes it to an old age. But let's talk about the quality of life of a wild horse.
To never feel a bit, a spur or a whip, to be able to go anywhere, do anything, and be surrounded by family and your friends. To know love, joy and freedom without bounds. How glorious to be a wild horse.
We watched Cheyenne grow up and turn into one of the more amazing mares on the river. This is her at 3 months old.
We are glad for the wild life she lived. We are glad she was never chased with helicopters. We are glad to be able to give her protection and security when she needed it in the end. Run forever free Cheyenne.
Picture by SRWHMG Simone Netherlands.
You did good Mamma, good girl, rest peacefully now.
We are so very sorry to inform you, our amazing supporters, that we had to lay Cheyenne to rest.
We were working hard for a different outcome, but the angels wouldn't have it.
Background: On July 7th, our field team, with the help of Jacquelynn (and Sonora) Hughes, rescued this beautiful pair from Butcher Jones. Cheyenne had torn her tendon in her right front fetlock, and was being fought over by many stallions,.. which we knew would not end well for either one of them. (See their amazing rescue story from July 7th)
We made them a comfortable space at our rescue facility and fought the battle with Cheyenne's injury for over a month, together with Shelley and James, our SRWHMG caretakers team, and the support and prayers from all of you.
While we knew it was a long shot and a definate challenge of patience, it was worth giving her a chance, because Nakota, at just 8 days old needed her mom.
James and Shelley worked their magic using the trust technic and within 24 hours, Cheyenne was able to have our veterinarian take x-rays of her badly injured leg. After antibiotics, she beat the infection and was putting pressure on her hoof again. It was starting to look like another succes story and it felt good to see both of them feel safe and happy together. (See trust technique videos) That's why after this journey, it was shocking to find that she had somehow retorn the tendon this morning, ..this time completely. We quickly explored every option with our veteranarians. We knew you would all pitch in and we could raise the money for surgery if we had to,.. but sometimes even all the money in the world, can't buy the outcomes that we want. We had to accept that Cheyenne was telling us, that we had tried enough.
This afternoon we laid Cheyenne to rest; her SRWHMG caretakers and 6 week old Nakota surrounded her as she took her last breath.
Cheyenne was one of those amazing mothers. Her love and devotion to Nakota, you could see it in every move she made, you could hear it in every soft nicker. We are happy that Nakota had her mothers love and nutrition for an additional month.
The climate is not cooperating. We either get not a drop, or we get completely washed out. These are our beautiful hikers gates along Usery Pass road, that keep horses safe. (There is going to be some temporary fencing up until we can fix this. )
But our volunteers don't despair and know there's always light at the end of the hard work. And who knows, might there be some grass in the forecast?
Photos by SRWHMG Paul Martin and Jullie Ann Christina.
Gideon, the smallest ever Salt River wild horse says:"To amount to big things, you have to care about the little things too."
We want to thank all of our volunteers, and especially the night shift; sometimes they drive from Mesa to Prescott just to have a sleepless night! Little crazy? Maybe. But worth it? Tell us yes or no.
Cheyenne is resting her head on her filly Nakota during their afternoon nap. These two are very close and clearly feel safe in their new environment with their Salt River cousins and aunties right next to them for company. (Next to them are Felicity, Iggy, Old Lady, Gem and Mori.) We rescued this unlucky pair on July 7th because mom had a severe fetlock/pastern injury and was hopping around on 3 legs while trying to protect her 2 week old filly. Both were being pushed around and attacked by stallions. (Keep reading for explanation at *) Her fetlock injury has progressed, as well as can be expected, after antibiotics and much intensive treatment, but we do not know if it will ever be fully functional again. Her filly Nakota is a month old now and she is doing extremely well.
Our good friends Shelley and James of the Trust Technique, have been our partners and lifesavers; we were very sad to say goodbye to them this week. Thank you Jim and Shells! *Sometimes when wild horses become injured, it causes them to no longer be able to keep up with their band. This makes the lead stallion(s) extremely nervous and agitated, especially when a mare lags behind, because this is when other stallions see an opportunity to steal her.
So the stallion starts to snake and spur her on like he normally would, to demand that she keep up with the band, except she doesn't listen because she can't, to him this means she is being disobedient. We do not believe that they understand the fact that the band-member is in pain.
Then when another stallion sees the opportunity and tries to steal the mare, the fight is on over the injured mare, and it can get very dangerous and become a life threatening situation for her and her foal.
That is the situation that Cheyenne and Nakota were in. Stallions were mounting her, to try and assert dominance and she was simply defenseless and becoming more injured by the minute. Mom and baby were getting separated in the commotion. It turned into a frenzy. Had we let it go on for much longer, we would not have been be able to save them. Nature can indeed be cruel sometimes.
We have also seen behavior completely the other way around.
Happy Independence day everyone! Celebrate freedom while staying safe, responsible, kind and mindful of everything and everyone around you! SRWHMG.
Picture by SRWHMG Bren Schultz, graphics by SRWHMG Debra Mykitiak.
Stay cool and be cool to wild horses! Salt River wild horses take baths to cool their core body temperature down. If you are in the TNF and find yourself overheating, do the same!
But please don't crowd horses when they are in or near the water, they need it as much as we do! Thank you for being cool to wild horses. #SRWHMG
Pic by SRWHMG photographers JP Walsh photography.
We have another little one in the hospital. No broken bones this time, but a severe sand impaction. She is only 3 weeks old but still the size of a newborn. Her name is Agave. (Her mother is Sugar) We found her at Butcher Jones being severely harrassed by bachelors, with her mother nowhere to be found. Of course we took her in and of course we will do everything we can for her.
P.S. This may not please the "wild is wild" people, but we want to explain that;
A.) Keeping them wild and free, does not mean "just let them suffer." B.) By managing them with compassion we are NOT influencing natural selection, because, when they survive, they stay in our care and don't get to contribute their dna to the herd.
C.) Saving one does not make the rest of the herd any less "wild". D.) Saving one makes NO difference to the herd, however it makes ALL the difference to the one suffering.
Right now, she is not being chased and kicked by bachelors, she's not slowly starving or being eaten alive, and her pain is being managed.
But, there are no guarantees. She may not make it and our hearts may break once again. At the very least, we will know we tried.
If you support compassion, please support Agave with your donation, ANY size donation helps. Thank you so much. SRWHMG.
The Memorial Day weekend is expected to draw multitudes of visitors to the Tonto National Forest, home of the Salt River wild horses. We want to wish everyone a wonderful time and offer the following safety sign as well as these 10 tips for safe and enjoyable viewing of wild horses:
1. Observe from a distance of at least 50 feet at any given time, even when they come your way. Horses may be trying to access water – please allow them to do so. They are just as thirsty as you are.
2. Please do not feed or try to tame wild horse. Even while we have a feeding program, trying to feed wild horses by hand can disturb their natural behavior and tame them. Taming wild horses can result in their loss of freedom.
3. Observe the speed limit and slow down at the horse crossing signs! They are strategically placed at actual horse crossings.
4. Observe with a calm and quiet demeanor. Horses are prey animals and very sensitive to their surroundings. Please do not disturb their natural behavior.
5. Keep dogs on a leash. Dogs are naturally inclined to chase horses. Protective stallions may defend their families and be unsafe for your unleashed dog.
6. Be a respectful observer. Please do not interfere, as each behavior has a purpose. That includes “battling,” I.e., when stallions challenge each other.
7. Take lots of pictures and share them. But please heed the 50 ft distance and use your zoom lenses. The subject of your photography is more important than the picture of it.
8. Please don’t use your flash on camera. A flash can scare and disturb them.
9. Bring a garbage bag. If you love wild horses, pick up trash that can hurt them!
10. If you see an injured wild horse call our hotline. (480 868 9301)
Our visitor Facebook page where you can share your pictures is “Salt River Wild Horses - Advocates”. Happy Memorial Day Weekend!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 17th 2018, Contact: Simone Netherlands, SRWHMG, 928-925-7212, Simone@Respect4Horses.com
Horse Deaths on Bush Highway Spur MCDOT Changes.
5 Horse Collisions in Last 5 Weeks -- Including 3 in the Last 3 Days -- Prompt Agency to Act.
Mesa, Arizona ... The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG) today announced that the Maricopa County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has committed to major changes to improve safety on Bush Highway in the aftermath of three horse-vehicle collisions in the last three days and five in the last five weeks on the roadway. All collisions resulted in the deaths of the horses, prompting the SRWHMG to characterize Bush Highway as a “bloodbath.” The horses who perished are part of the famed, and now protected, Salt River Wild Horse Herd that lives in the Tonto National Forest. Bush Highway cuts directly through the horses’ habitat. Recent improvements to the roadway – which include widening, repaving and new guardrails – appear to have increased the danger of horse-vehicle collisions. The SRWHMG had previously warned of the potential dangers of the pending improvements.
On Tuesday night, a popular Salt River stallion was hit and died horrifically. The day before, two horses -- including a filly who suffered badly and a heavily pregnant mare -- both died as a result of two separate hit-and-run collisions. Earlier this month, two additional horses were hit and killed, bringing the total to five horse-vehicle collisions resulting in the deaths of five horses and two unborn foals in the past five weeks since construction was completed. Fortunately, no people were seriously hurt in the recent collisions.
After the collisions, the SRWHMG appealed to MCDOT for immediate action to protect the horses and drivers on Bush Highway. Hundreds of concerned citizens also weighed in with phone calls to MCDOT.
MCDOT swiftly responded and today contacted SRWHMG President Simone Netherlands with good news: the agency is taking thorough and immediate steps to address the situation!
Sometimes its the littlest things that make it all worthwhile!
With just one day of good nutrition (Ultra24) Lolly is brighter and curious. Her casts are giving her support in both of her lower legs. We have not given up yet on capturing her mom.
We want to thank you for your prayers, good vibes and donations. www.srwhmg.org
Please meet Little Old Lady, Lolly for short. A Salt River wild horse born during harsh natural circumstances with a mother who had nothing left to give.
With a team of volunteers we were able to surround her and catch her yesterday and transported her to the vet immediately.
As suspected, Lolly has a full break in her left foot. That means she has a long road ahead, but she does have a chance for survival, after all we have seen and treated worse cases!
She now has a cast and is in the care of our expert vets who also treated Gem and Mori with life threatening injuries, who are now healthy, running and playing together every day. We love the happy endings, and with your support can keep them coming!
We may be able to rescue mom as well, with our humane bait trap/ human round pen method, but she will have to come back to the feed station first herself.
At over 20 years old she may also decide to stay wild and free until the very end, but her feed stations will be filled every evening.
We will make sure her little one gets the love and attention she needs. If she makes it, she will enjoy her life with her Salt River cousins as her family.
We will need lots of Ultra24 milk replacer again and we will set her up her own page so she can get lots of sponsors for her vet bills and nesesities!
On the road again,
Gratefully, the SRWHMG.