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.

This is Champ, saving the filly who was in the river too deep.

This is Champ, saving the filly who was in the river too deep.

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.

Really beautiful.

Anyway, Becky sent this story to me.

Feel good.


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.

This photo shows the wild mare standing oddly on the bank.  Becky knew this was unnatural and that her foal was probably in the bush.

This photo shows the wild mare standing oddly on the bank. Becky knew this was unnatural and that her foal was probably in the bush.

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 foal, wet and shivering.

The foal, wet 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.

You can see the towels Becky used laying there.

You can see the towels Becky used laying there.

He rises!

He rises!

He looks towards Becky - standing a distance away.

He looks towards Becky – standing a distance away.

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.

Patrick sleep beneath his mother's watchful eye.

Patrick sleep beneath his mother’s watchful eye.

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.

A few days later... Patrick looking healthy and no worse for the wear...

A few days later… Patrick looking healthy and no worse for the wear…

A few months later, Becky snapped this shot of Patrick.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!






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HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

30 comments have been posted...

  1. nicole

    Tks so much for sharing this great story of Patrick and also all the pictures. Feel good to see that some wild horses in the world could still be save and FREE like they should be. Bravo from the heart . Horses lovers who know human could communicate with any animals if they take the time to pay attention to them by connecting…

  2. melody

    This is so wonderful to hear. You are a hero to that lil one and the mom. I know she was saying Thank you….to you.

  3. Tamara

    I would “love” for you to name a “good” Mommy mare or new filly after my beautiful girl that past away last year – she was a great Mother although never had a foal of her own – even lactated so they could nurse. Her name was : Aurora Mystique – she would change from a blue roan in summer to a red roan in winter – plus she was an Appaloosa :)
    Now if you have a Stud or new colt : Little Satan …. he was the best protector of all the horses at our farm – even went after a Bobcat that killed a new foal at birth.
    Two of the best horses I have had the honor of knowing or seeing.

  4. Patrick Tilley

    Loved the story, kudo’s to you. So glad you were there in Patricks time of need. You to will be rewarded one day. Thanh you.

  5. Pat Penguin

    What a wonderful thing to do and to be able to see the results. My heart feels very thick with joy for you. Thank you so much.

  6. Sue Harbin

    I loved the story of Patrick! I am signing up for your blog! I had the privilege of naming Serweh this Spring . I have a long history with the horses while I lived in Apache Junction, Mesa and Payson!

  7. Jeannie Parisi

    Just lovely, a perfect way to start my day. Always love the way horses know when kind humans are there to help, they just know, Bless you, God Bless you realy good, thanks so much for this

  8. dawndi Post author

    Carol: No, your reply was not deleted. I’m not always at my computer to ‘allow’ comments. Comments don’t automatically post. Sorry for the confusion.

  9. Carol McMillion

    Such an exciting story with a wonderful ending, thanks to you. Great pics and thanks for sharing. I live in so. west Va and never see or hear of anything like this. Thanks to Facebook or I wouldn’t have seen this heart warming story.

  10. Carol McMillion

    Such a beautiful story and photos! Thank you so much for sharing with us! Keep up your wonderful work.

  11. Bill Bear Tinning

    50+ years ago I use to ride my horse up behind the Bookcliff mountains in western Colorado and hunt the wild horses with my camera , those were the good old days . the wild horses did not mind our tame horses coming in close to them .

  12. Barb Mathie

    I’d love to see the horses. I live in Arizona but only have heard about them on here!

  13. crystal

    Good save….not only does Patrick appear “healthy,” but he appears nice and round and chubby…very cute little foal. May they always be free!!!

  14. Linz Michie

    I too observe a small herd of wild native Exmoor Ponies high up on the moors in West Somerset they are not as large as the” Salt River “herd they are in fact very small little compact creatures.They are very tough and have to withstand temps of -15 in the winter.What amazes me is how resourceful they are they seem to know what they need and are always on the move to find all the plants and herbs they need to survive on what must be one of the UK’s harshest environments. I love to look at the pictures of your beautiful horses and would love to come to the US one to see them for myself.

  15. Carol Walters

    It is wonderful that you came along when you did to help this poor mother save her baby. I am so happy that little Patrick is doing well and growing.
    Thank you for caring.

  16. Robin Bender Knight

    I’ve been waiting so long to see your story of Patrick in print Becky!! Yeah!! Awesome!! And what truly humbling, blessed and special time in your life. If some out there dont understand your passion for these horses they should read these stories and they would get a slight inkling of it. I know my passion for them is overwhelming and emotional at times. All it takes is a little bit of time, understanding and compassion to reach outside of the world we build around ourselves and see that it isn’t, ‘all about us’. I am and will always continue to be your friend and fellow supporter!

  17. Priscilla

    Beautiful pictures. I could take pictures of horses all day everyday.

  18. LNorman

    In the 5th photo, Patrick is thanking you for saving his life. Let’s hope they don’t end up in gov concentration camp, at auction, or worse. Gov claims they have no natural predators…you can see from this story, that each foal is in danger the moment it is born, even before the gov gets involved!
    What a magical place this must be, to be able to kayak and see wild horses in their natural habitat!

  19. Suzan Lee Jackson

    Great photos and even greater story with excellent follow up. Would love to join you with my camera and support.

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