Boots on the Ground-Making a Difference for Wild Horses
I hear of different local advocacy groups making a difference for their horses with real “boots on the ground” work. The Salt River wild horses management group in Arizona is a wonderful example of this. They have people checking the safety of horses, repairing fence, managing traffic at horse crossings on the highway pretty much every day.
I visited the Onaqui herd in Utah the middle of May, and one of the foals that I had seen as a newborn a couple weeks prior, had been injured by an old downed barbed wire fence. This stretch of fence has been down as long as I’ve been going out there, since early 2016. I have worried over foals and this fence before, and stallions and the T-posts that are still standing. In this image you can see one of the wire injuries that Cream Puff has. She was also hurt like this on her back inside thigh. She looked like she was in pain, and I felt so bad for her.
I was ready to just gather people and start removing the fence, but my friend told me you have to ask permission from the BLM first. So the very next day, I did. I contacted Tami who is over the wild horse program for the whole state, and later that day she emailed back and said yes, fence removal was approved. Getting volunteers was the next step, and I was confident I could get enough people to help. Several local people signed up on the event I created on Facebook, AWHC donated money for the tools we needed, plus lunch. We were set for June 2nd.
Al and I took the RV out on Saturday afternoon, and that night we looked at the fence again to make sure we had a good plan for the next day. We then went to visit the horses. The sky was stormy, and the wind was blowing. What a gorgeous evening.
It started lightning, and thundering and blowing even harder. This got the foals all wound up, especially the little colts.
Eventually the sky let lose, and it poured buckets. We barely made it back to the RV.
But, the next day at 9am people drove the muddy road and were ready to work.
In all, there were 18 volunteers who came to help, plus Tami from the BLM.
We coiled barbed wire, and pulled the T-posts for 1 mile of fence.
By noon it was loaded on Tami’s truck, and we were done.
What an amazing group of people!
What a privilege to work alongside these people, and make things that much safer for the wild horses. There were also discussions about future fence removal projects, volunteering for the PZP darting program, and generally being advocates with “Boots on the Ground” for these special horses.
That evening as it got closer to sunset I knew I needed to cap off a great day by spending some time hangin’ with the herd. As I drove past the waterhole, and the area where our volunteer group had spent the morning working, I felt a sense of joy and appreciation for a job well done, and I felt especially happy that the horses were now just that much safer. I hiked out to the horses and I told them what we had done for them that day. I told Cream Puff that never again would she be hurt by the downed wire, and neither would any other horses. I told them what a privilege it was to meet, and work along side people who care for, and love them as much as I do. I made sure they knew that people care, and that we have their back. I absorbed their peaceful energy until the sun went down and I sadly had to leave them. Until next time.
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