What you can do:
- Learn everything you can about the various issues surrounding wild horses in America and Arizona.
- Take time to listen to and consider to all points of views, even when they may not necessarily align with yours
- Many different organizations offer information of the various methods used to manage wild horse populations. Those who are the most responsible, cite not only their own research backed by documented data, but those who are published within various scientific periodicals. The National Academy Of Sciences (NAS) is a reputable source with many articles. A link to one that has an overview of many different forms of management being investigated follows http://dels.nas.edu/resources/static-assets/materials-based-on-reports/presentations/Webinar.pdf
- Learn the difference between wild horses managed by the BLM, US Forest Service, National Park Service, and other groups.
- Learn how your congressional representatives vote regarding such issues, and why he/she does so. Each representative will have a website and contact information. The best method to learn of their voting record is to do a search for wild horse on their website. If nothing is listed, a brief email requesting their voting history on the wild horses and management protocol should incite a response.
- Visit with wild horses and experience them in their environment. Please always practice responsible viewing protocol as listed below.
- Always encourage responsible tourism and viewing of wild horses in your town.
- Through no fault of their own, some visitors are unaware of the unintended consequences of how certain interactions with wild horses may negatively affect their survival, longevity, wildness, and home on the range over the course of time.
- Although a favorite of many, the young are very vulnerable to physical harm if viewed at an inappropriate distance. They scare easily, and their long limbs are not fully developed so as to protect against the harsh desert environment.
Helpful tips for responsible viewing and tourism while still keeping wild horses wild:
- Kayak the Salt River and view the wild horses via responsible tourism.
- Viewing distance – Recommend viewing distance between humans and wild horses is at least 40 ft or the length of a metro bus.
- Viewing duration – Keep visit times to a minimum (not more than 15-20 minutes at a time) to prevent habituating wild horses to human presence.
- Do not feed the horses – Unlike domestic horses, wild horses do not depend on humans for food.
- They have a diverse native diet and have adapted and evolved with their environment in order to survive. They also provide an integral part to the ecosystem as seed disperses through their manure deposits.
- Feeding wild horses can create “problem” horses that may approach, bite, kick, or injure humans.
- Foreign additions to their diet may cause colic or serious medical issues, which could cause a horse to choke or die.
- Keep them wild – Feeding wild horses may negatively affect their natural behaviors and feeding habits.
- Back away – If a wild horse approaches you, look away immediately and walk away to maintain a safe viewing distance. If this cannot be achieved due to persistence of a wild horse, leave the area immediately.
- Keep dogs on a leash at all times. Horses are prey animals and may spook and either injure the dog or themselves in the process.
- Horseback trail riding – Do not approach or chase wild horses. Please always stay on paths designated for trail rides. Most wild horses are very afraid of trail riders and may flee quickly if approached, which can cause injuries and even death.
When driving through wild horse country
- Drive slowly and keep an eye out for the yellow “Watch for Horses” signs. These are placed near active horse crossings. Be diligent, alert, and prepared to slow or stop at a moments notice for horses crossing the road.
- Maintain a safe driving speed (as designated by posted speed signage) in all other areas, as there may be unmarked horse crossings.
- Do not approach or visit with horses that are near the road
- There have been unintended accidents due to humans stopping to view and photograph the beautiful horses. At the same time, passerby motorists can inadvertently spook a horse onto the roadway due to their presence or body pressure position. This can be a hazardous situation for both passerby motorists and the wild horses.
- As part of our Arizona history, the wild horses provide a look into both the past and the present for much of the unique desert environment which they inhabit. Adults and children alike, can enjoy viewing the herd and behavior that only true water horses exhibit.
- To ensure our children and grandchildren will experience these majestic animals, become familiar with and reach out to your local and national representatives. Have meaningful and intelligent engagement with them. Tell them why protecting the wild horses is important to you and why it should be important to them. Your voice will be needed to inspire those we have voted into office.
- Find your representative here: http://www.azleg.gov/findmylegislator/