Photo essay: A wild horse allows human intervention to help save her foal
March 4 2013
Early in the morning on July 6, 2012, while kayaking up the Salt River in the Tonto National Forest, a kayaker pointed to a horse that was standing on the bank. It was a mare named Rosa. She was alone so something was wrong. Realizing the urgency of the situation, I quickly paddled as close as I could then ran towards her. My eyes caught sight of a brand new foal. It must have fallen down the steep embankment, into the river and was caught up in brush.
Rosa’s family had returned by the time I reached her. With my life vest still on, I ran through the horses and into the water. The ledge dropped off steeply and the current was powerful. Despite my fear of the river, I was determined to save foal. Only a few months previously I had watched a horse drown. I was not going to let that happen on this day. Naively, I tried to grab the foal by the scruff of its neck to lift it like a puppy. Unsuccessful, I braced myself against the ledge and grabbed it with both hands. I carefully lifted it over the branches. After freeing the foal and getting it part way up the hill the other kayaker arrived to help carry the foal away from the river’s edge. We set the foal down and backed away so Rosa could see her baby. She nuzzled him. She tried to encourage her foal to stand but he remained down and shivering.