Wild Horses Trapped in a Fountain Hills Neighborhood.
Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG) Promises to Bring Them Home
Fountain Hills, AZ - Many Fountain Hills residents have been noticing a pair of wild horses in their backyards and neighborhood streets for the past several weeks. The horses are welcomed by some and chased by others and have even caused some disputes between neighbors. No one knew where they came from or why they were not leaving the neighborhood, until the Town of Fountain Hills called the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG).
Following their investigation of the horses’ migrating patterns, the Wild Horse Management Group determined that the two wild horses did not have a way of getting back to the Verde River, because of some recently repaired fencing between Fountain Hills and the Fort McDowell Reservation. It had been repaired with the intent of preventing horses and cows from coming into the neighborhood, but inadvertently trapped the mare, stallion and their foal on the wrong side of the repaired fencing. Tragically, the foal was hit on the road last month and had to be euthanized.
With the cooperation and coordination of the Fort McDowell Reservation, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) and the Town of Fountain Hills, the Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG) has formed a plan to bring the mare and stallion pair home to the Verde River on the Fort McDowell reservation. On Sunday, the group will use their volunteer force and horse riders to patiently and slowly guide and walk the horses, first through the fencing that will be cut, and then back to the Verde River. The volunteers will help the pair cross the road safely, and they will try to ensure that they do not go off in undesired directions into other neighborhoods, by forming a human half circle barrier behind them. They will not be roping or otherwise rushing or forcing the wild horses.
“Going at the horses pace will lower the risk of injury or things going wrong,” states Simone Netherlands, president of the group that last year sued the Forest Service to stop the roundup of the Salt River wild horses. “While this is a complicated mission and there are no guarantees with wild horses, we are confident that we can guide them safely back to where they came from and will have them home for Christmas.”
In the meantime, the horses, who are cut off from their water source, have been kept alive by some kind neighbors who are providing water. The horses have become quite habituated to the neighborhood, which is not a good situation for the horses or the neighborhood. The mission dubbed “bring them home for Christmas” is planned to take place Sunday starting at 8 am in Fountain Hills.
### The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group is an Arizona non-profit organization dedicated to protect, monitor and study the Salt River wild horses. The SRWHMG has been spearheading the effort to secure lasting protections for this iconic and beloved wild horse herd in the Tonto National Forest and cares about the well-being and protection of all wild horses and burros.
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