As a horse lover, particularly of Alberta, Canada’s wild horse population, you can imagine my excitement when I discovered I could fine Arizona’s Salt River wild horses only about 30 min from my dad’s home in Chandler, AZ.
My first time there I went with my son, and my aunt and uncle from Scottsdale. My aunt is an avid horse lover from way back on the family farm where she was also the rodeo queen for our local pro rodeo in the Canadian circuit. A cousin and her husband also joined us. It had been a number of years since I had seen my cousin so while we were visiting on our walk, I missed my aunt’s urgent text message to hurry up. As it was, we just missed watching the wild horses frolicking in the river. My aunt was generous enough to share photos and video from her phone with me. Another time, I guess.
I found out that the herd population is being controlled as much as possible by darting a humane immuno-contraceptive. This helps maintain the herd so there is less starvation during droughts. The area can only sustain a limited number and if not controlled, there would be many horses dying of starvation. During particularly dry periods, the organization that monitors the horses’ well-being will actually bring hay to the horses for feed. This organization is the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group. You can read more about their work and volunteer, if possible, from their website: Salt River Wild Horse Management Group | SRWHMG
Aside from missing that action, we did watch the horses for quite a while. They were so beautiful and majestic in the setting sun. Such gorgeous colours setting off their slick coats. There was a small group of others, including another photographer, observing the horses from across the river. I had a brief talk with the other photographer, Russ Field. He shoots the horses on a regular basis as he lives nearby. He has some amazing images. I hope to see more on my future visits. For now, I was content to have just “discovered” them.
My favourite images that I captured that evening had to be the four white horses and one bay walking along the edge of the river as it rounded a bend. I was able to get some great shots of them in the sunset with the mountain in the background. These can be found for sale on my website in the wild horses section of www.shellypriest.com