Do you remember the Salt River Wild Horses?
They are the band of wild horses in Arizona whose lead stallion saved a filly who was in peril last year. The story is here. You may remember this photo.
Well, there are a few bands of Salt River Wild Horses who migrate around the area.
Becky Standridge spends most of her time documenting these horses and doing everything in her power to try to reach the community and keep them safe. You will find their FB page here. You should go to their FB page even if just to see all the incredibly beautiful candid shots posted of these wild horses.
Anyway, Becky sent this story to me.
BECKY’S STORY OF PATRICK. THE FOAL WHO ALMOST DIED ON HIS BIRTHDAY.
Early in the morning on July 6, 2012, while kayaking up the Salt River in the Tonto National Forest, a kayaker pointed to a horse that was standing on the bank. It was a mare named Rosa. She was alone so something was wrong. Realizing the urgency of the situation, I quickly paddled as close as I could then ran towards her. My eyes caught sight of a brand new foal. It must have fallen down the steep embankment, into the river and was caught up in brush.
Rosa’s family had returned by the time I reached her. With my life vest still on, I ran through the horses and into the water. The ledge dropped off steeply and the current was powerful. Despite my fear of the river, I was determined to save foal. Only a few months previously I had watched a horse drown. I was not going to let that happen on this day. Naively, I tried to grab the foal by the scruff of its neck to lift it like a puppy. Unsuccessful, I braced myself against the ledge and grabbed it with both hands. I carefully lifted it over the branches. After freeing the foal and getting it part way up the hill the other kayaker arrived to help carry the foal away from the river’s edge. We set the foal down and backed away so Rosa could see her baby. She nuzzled him. She tried to encourage her foal to stand but he remained down and shivering.
The idea came to me to get my towels from the kayak so I could dry the foal. Upon returning, I approached Rosa carefully showing her the towels. Realizing I wanted to help, she backed away slightly. Rosa watched closely as I tended to her foal. Rubbing the towels not only dried the foal but it also appeared to be stimulating it’s circulation. The foal was looking better. Encouraged by this improvement I decided to help the foal try to stand. As I lifted him, one end or the other would slip out of balance and fall. I was able to help the foal stand but it would soon collapse so I rubbed it towels and tried again. After we went through this a few times the foal was able to take a few steps. What great progress. Having accomplished this, Rosa informed me that I was to leave the rest to her so I stepped back to become an observer.
As I quietly watched, the new foal took a nap. His mother stood watch and nuzzled him every couple of minutes. I thought of my dear friend, Dr. Pat Haight, who had passed away just two days before. Pat was an avid supporter of the wild horses, especially of the Apache-Sitgreave Wild horses and of the Salt River wild horses. I decided to name this very special foal Patrick in her honor.
When Patrick awoke, the family had again wandered some distance from Rosa. He rose to his feet and slowly followed Rosa as she led him to the rest of the group. As they paused, Patrick would try suckle. I stayed with them until Patrick had his first meal and they were safe with the rest of their family.
I kayaked back to the same area for the next two days looking for Rosa and Patrick. The first day I returned the only thing I saw were the prints of a mountain lion. Concern grew in my heart but I did not give up hope. I return the following day and eventually found them down stream and across the river. I was amazed to know that he could cross the river in the first three days of his life but most of all it was great to see him safe and beginning to grow up.
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