Wild Horses in Arizona-
Many of the wild horses in the United States can be found in the western part of the country.
The hash and hot desert as well. The wild horses from the Salt River herds are found in and around Mesa, Arizona
in the Tonto National Forest. Livability lists the top 5 places to see wild horses in America.
It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since I traveled down the Mesa, Arizona to photograph the Salt River Wild Horses. Mentioning The Tonto National Forest might bring about thoughts of heavy pine trees and lakes and cool temperatures and lots of critters in the woods. This forested area is desert- there may be cool temperatures at night or in the winter but during the day it’s definitely warmer temps. The wild horses keep cool by living close by the Salt River and Saguaro Lake. This provides the opportunity to cool off during the day.
Distance from Wild Horses
If you’re wondering how close you can get to the wild horses in Arizona- it’s the same as any other state officially. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recommend that you stay 300 feet, the length of one football field, from the wild horses. Since the wild horses spend a lot of time on the Salt River there are opportunities to get a lot closer but you may be subject to fines and arrest if you violate these laws. During the spring and summer the Salt River really gets crowded with kayakers and tubers and the river can get a bit crowded. But it’s also a fun way to float by a herd of horses too!
Photographing the Wild Horses
I always photograph horses with a zoom lens so keeping that distance is not a problem. I was on foot and not in a kayak, so I felt safe carrying my Nikon around and not getting it wet. There was one area in the near Coon Bluff where we parked and walked down along the rivers edge to wait for the wild horses. Not much time had passed before we were treated to a herd grazing and drinking from the rivers edge just across from us- definitely several hundred feet away. I crouched down by a bush and just snapped away- getting shots of them yawning, fighting, playing and then finally crossing the river not far from where I was crouched. It was the best 30 minutes or so!! They new I was there but didn’t seem bothered at all.
Jody Miller is a professional photographer specializing in Horse Photography, Equine Photography, and Equestrian photography. Her work can be viewed online here in her gallery section, and she is also featured at these Arizona Galleries: Van Gogh’s Ear Gallery on Whiskey Row in Prescott, AZ and Coops Coffee House at Talking Rock Ranch. Several images are also available at The Phippen Western Art Museum