I used three of my photos to achieve this band of wild horses. The Salt River wild horses are a historic population of unbranded, unclaimed, wild and free-roaming horses, that were born in the wild and merit protection within our National Forest. Back in 1890 the Salt River wild horses were referred to as “native animals”. According to Arizona’s own historical records, wild horses have been living on the Salt River and the Salt River Valley since well before the Tonto National Forest was created in 1902, but more likely much longer.
Mustangs are descendants of Spanish, or Iberian, horses that were brought to the Americas by Spanish explorers in the 16th century. The name was derived from the Spanish word mustengo, which means “ownerless beast”. Once escaped, these horses evolved without the influence of man and through survival of the fittest, evolved into the incredibly durable and tough breed we know today. The word Mustang or Wild Horse is used interchangeably.
Tracing the Salt River wild horses back, historic records indicate that in 1687 Missionary Father Eusebio Keno journeyed to Southern Arizona (then Sonora) Due to his efforts, missions and stockyards were developed, he reportedly left hundreds of horses and cattle at each mission. His many expeditions on horseback covered over 50,000 square miles. He had 6 successful missions in Arizona including in Phoenix. Father Kino remained in southern Arizona until his death in 1711.
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