As I’m writing this, Tim reminds me that today is the Kentucky Derby. I suppose, then, it feels appropriate to write about the wild horses of Arizona.
One day, we visited my son in Phoenix area (roughly a two-hour drive from us) and he suggested that we go check out the wild horses.
What there are wild horses in Arizona?!
I had no idea there were wild horses in Arizona. I mean, I’ve heard of wild mustangs in Wyoming and Nevada, but Arizona?…
It turns are there is a small population of about 500-700 (depending on who you ask) that live here. And most of them reside along the Salt River, a mere 8 miles from my son’s house.
“Well, then”, I said: “Let’s go!”
We got to the river, right around sundown, which is a good time to see the horses, and within minutes my son spotted a small herd.
I couldn’t believe it! We parked, walked down to the river, and there they were!
Beautiful, majestic, and wild is how I would describe the wild horses of Arizona. See this nice video below:
They were in the middle of the river and we stood right at the bank, so we were pretty close and had a great view, despite the darkening sky. Of course, we took care not to agitate the animals, we kept quiet and left them alone, only observing.
Like any other animal, the wild horses deserve respect and disturbing them can be disastrous to the observer. Can you imagine egging on a mountain lion? Nope. The wild horses too can be dangerous when they charge to protect their heard.
Technically, these are “feral” horses or mustangs. They were once domesticated and brought to the Americas by the Spaniards and then went wild again.
Mustang and Wild Horse mean the same thing
Last year, Arizona’s Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill into law that makes it illegal to harass, interfere with, or harm the horses.
Nonetheless, the fate of the horses has been shrouded in controversy. Prior to the bill’s signing in 2015, the feds announced their plans to round up the animals and auction them off (presumably for meat).
Following the announcement, there was a public outcry to save these beautiful, wild creatures and the government dropped their plans at the end of 2015. But, their future remains uncertain.
There is even a non-profit group, Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, that strives to protect the wild horses of Arizona. They monitor, record, and advocate on behalf of these animals.
Even so, there are still people out there that don’t like the horses and kill them (why? I will never understand).
When we visited the Phoenix area last year, we heard about someone randomly going around and shooting the horses – foals and adults.
I understand that some people have issues with the horses grazing and using up the resources in the same areas as their free-range cows. But to kill them? Really?
Anyway, I was enamored with the wild horses of Arizona. Beautiful creatures!
If you are in the area, I would highly recommend, you stop by the Salt River and try to catch a glimpse. It’s well worth it!