The Salt River Wild Horses

May 11, 2016: Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signs historic legislation to protect the Salt River wild horses 

This morning Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed into law HB 2340, the bill to protect the famed Salt River wild horses of the Tonto National Forest near Phoenix. Outside the State Capitol, dozens of Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG) members and supporters, joined by riders on horseback waving flags, are celebrating the Governor’s signing of this historic legislation. 

Press Release

News Articles

May 5, 2016: Bill to protect Salt River wild horses clears last legislative hurdle with a 53-3 House vote

HB 2340 to protect the famed Salt River wild horses in the Tonto National Forest cleared its last hurdle in the Arizona legislature today with a 53-3 vote in the House of Representatives to approve the bill and send it on to Governor Doug Ducey’s desk for signature.

Press Release

News Articles

April 11, 2016 Bill to protect Salt River wild horses passes AZ Senate 27-2!

Wild horse advocates are declaring victory for the Salt River wild horses after today’s Senate vote of 27-2 in favor of HB 2340, legislation to protect the cherished wild horse herd. The House passed the bill on Feb. 25, and the legislation will now head back there for concurrence on amendments added in the Senate to strengthen the legislation, before moving on to the Governor’s desk for signature into law.

Press Release:

March 3, 2016 State bill for Salt River wild horse management amended; gains support of horse advocates

On February 25, the Arizona House of Representatives approved HB 2340, as finally amended. (Read more below for details.)The bill, which aims to protect the famed Salt River wild horses in the Tonto National Forest, is now in the Senate, where it is scheduled for a hearing before the Federalism, Mandates and Fiscal Responsibility Committee on March 8 at 9 a.m.

Press Release

February 2016 Update: Yesterday, the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group and AWHPC filled the hearing room with local horse advocates as a bill for state takeover of the Salt River Wild Horses who live in the Tonto National Forest was discussed by the AZ House of Representatives Federalism and States' Rights Committee. 

This is a deceptive and dangerous bill that appears to protect the horses, but would actually enable their removal, auction and even slaughter. It would also put the horses into the hands of the Arizona Agriculture Department, which would manage them like livestock, not wild horses. Many of the bill's supporter's view wild horses as "feral animals" who should be managed like feral dogs and cats - spayed, neutered, disease tested, vaccinated, euthanized (or in the case of horses, slaughtered) when expedient, etc. 
We will continue to work with the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group to defeat this misleading bill. Because these horses live on federal land, the only way to secure their future is by securing their federal protection as “a recreational resource” in the National Forest.  We will continue to work toward achieving that goal.
Read below for our media release calling for public support as well as news coverage from yesterday’s hearing..

Media Release:

News Coverage:

December 2015 Update: On Friday, December 11, 2015, the Forest Service withdrew its notice to impound the Salt River wild horses, nearly five months after first publishing it. The move came in the face of intense public and political pressure to protect the horses in their historic habitat in the Tonto National Forest. The Forest Service now says that it will work with stakeholders on a management plan to protect the horses. 

News Coverage:

Update July 2015:  The famed and beloved Salt River wild horses in the Tonto National Forest near Mesa, Arizona were in immediate threat of total eradication thanks to a U.S. Forest Service plan to begin rounding them up as early as Friday, August 7. These special horses have been present on the lands in and around the Salt River for over a century, but the Forest Service claimed that they are "estray livestock" and intended to "impound" all "unauthorized" horses in just a few short days. 

This is a precarious situation because the Salt River horses lack federal protection due to the Forest Service’s failure to designate a protected Wild Horse Territory for them after the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act was passed in 1971. At the same time, the Forest Service admits that the horses have been present in the National Forest since the 1930’s, and historic articles document their presence on those lands since the late 1800’s. The legal upshot of the Forest Service’s failure to protect the Salt River horses is that they can be rounded up and sold at auction, where kill buyers could purchase them for slaughter.   

 Thanks to the tremendous outpouring of support from the local Arizona community and from advocates all around the world, the U.S. Forest Service has abandoned this controversial plan to remove dozens of horses from their Salt River home and is currently searching for alternative plans to manage them.

The community in Arizona rallied around the Salt River wild horses.


More than 100 people showed up at the Town Hall meeting to voice their concerns and offer solutions.

Letters/Statements of Support for the Salt River Wild Horses:

Additional Media Coverage:

Forest Service Decision

Town Hall Meeting Coverage

Legal Action Coverage


Roundup Coverage

More Information