Thursday, April 25, 2013

Living in the wild, wild west...

No, this is not about the song by the Escape Club, although I do like it.  hahaha.  No, this is about actually living in the wild, wild west.  If you've never been to Arizona or have never seen pictures then you likely don't know that much of Arizona is desert.  There are mountains and trees and such, but mostly it's desert.  As such, we are fortunate to still have wild horses running around.  There's some debate as to whether these animals are truly mustangs or descendants of horses owned by people that were turned out to fend for themselves, but they are definitely out there.  Mostly on reservation land and, fortunately, excluded from annual round-ups.  In fact, the Phoenix area, I believe, doesn't do round-ups and the animals BLM does round up are on BLM land further north near the Arizona-Nevada border.  The horses on reservation land belong to the land, yes, but since they're on reservation land they're more or less protected by the reservation laws/rules.  But that's also where some of the controversy comes in.  If these horses are, in fact, true Mustangs, they are a protected class and have to be left alone.  The people who think these are just once-owned horses that were turned loose say they aren't mustangs, don't deserve protection, and should be forced to leave their grazing range.  As a horse lover, I think they should be allowed to stay.

On the way to work this morning, the traffic guy on the radio station I listen to most was giving a traffic report and said there were 4 horses running up the middle of Highway 87...between Gilbert and Shea.  Well, that's a BIG area.  Maybe 5 miles between the two intersections.  But it's also the only traffic lights in that area.  There's streets in between, but they're residential and from a helicopter might be difficult to read the street signs.  The traffic guy was viewing a report from a local news station who actually had a helicopter in the air and was filming the horses running (or walking) down the road.  The presence of horses isn't unusual in itself.  The area is all desert and mostly reservation land.  I've seen horses on the sides of the road several times before.  Not right on the side of the road, but near it.  What is slightly unusual is that they are IN the road.  Fortunately the area is wide open and highly unlikely they are in any sort of danger.  There's probably either county deputies, reservation police or highway patrol out there trying to herd them off the road as it's pretty well-traveled, especially during rush hour.

I looked on Bing for images of wild horses in Arizona and found a couple I'll share. Because of their wide range, it was hard to find ones that were specifically the Salt River herd.  I wish I knew where they hung out so I could go take my own pictures.
photo by Rick Grybos
photo by Willie Stark
Well, I guess I'd better get back to work.  It's Thursday.  Only one day left of the work week.  Not including today, of course. 

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