Wild Horses At Risk Due To Drought In Western US

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Wild horses in Western US are facing death due to unseasonably dry weather. The harsh drought weather has led to wildfires, destroying even more of the minimal forage. Horses will walk over 20 miles a day in search of food and water. Sadly, many wild herds are finding dried up watering holes and barren land.

Arizona and Colorado volunteers and rescue groups are stepping up, for the first time ever, to help save the dehydrated and starved horses. While feeding the wild horses can make them dependent on humans, extreme measures are needed to save their lives. Rescue groups are filling up thousands of gallons of water and transporting them to areas the wild horses are. With generous donations, they are getting hay and leaving that near the water tanks.

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However, unless the rescues receive a lot more donations, or it rains and vegetation returns – the horses could perish. Salt River Wild Horse Management Group posted, “We never thought we’d have to feed wild horses, but humane management includes not letting them die of starvation during this drought.” In May, a group of wild horses were found dead by a popular water hole that had dried up.


Arizona-based Salt River Wild Horse volunteers are feeding wild horses just outside Phoenix, by hauling hay. A couple on Navajo Land near Gray Mountain in Arizona were surprised when a herd of 25 wild horses showed up in poor condition in their backyard. They received help from many locals who donated water troughs, hay, and offered to help care for the horses. Wildhorse Ranch Rescue is working with the couple to provide the water for the horses.


Colorado rescues plan on hauling 5,000 gallons of water per day to bring to a herd of 750 wild horses. One rescue, Wild Horse Warriors for Sand Wash Basin is hauling the water to areas where there is still some grass. A trail camera was installed to make sure the horses were finding the trough. It revealed that many wild animals like deer and birds were also drinking from the trough, along with the wild horses. The water is saving countless wild animals. Co-founder, Cindy Wright said, “If we don’t have a very good fall with a lot of rain — and it’s also warm so that our fall vegetation grows — we’re going to lose horses.”


The conditions have gone from bad to worse. The western states are facing some of the driest weather on record. It is taking its toll on the wild horses. These majestic animals are in need of help and a prayer for rain. Thank you to everyone who has helped save these beautiful animals. If you want to help save the wild horses you can donate to any of the rescues providing food and water.

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Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast who lives in West Michigan. Her horse and 3 dogs are her children. She loves to write and share her knowledge of equine and canine nutrition. In her spare time she likes to volunteer with animal rescues, camp with her husband and dogs, and trail ride with her horse.
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