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Agencies, groups rescue wild horse from cattleguard at Tonto National Forest

The horse has a name; it’s Neeman. The group said within minutes, volunteers responded and helped alert authorities.
Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 9:52 PM MST
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TONTO NATIONAL FOREST, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – Several groups, agencies, and first responders came together Wednesday to rescue a wild horse from a cattleguard. It happened along the Beeline Highway in the Tonto National Forest. The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group was leading the effort.

The horse has a name; it’s Neeman. The group said within minutes, volunteers responded and helped alert authorities. “They came from all over; I understand there were at least 12 firemen there,” said Deborah Saari with the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group.

The group has a contract with the state to manage these majestic animals, and they call the Tonto National Forest home. Volunteers assist around the clock. “We go all along the Salt River… We rescue horses if they need rescuing, and we try to meet the needs of the community,” Saari said.

The veterinarian was on site soon after. They sedated Neeman, allowing others to move in and cut the cattleguard off him. The group said his injuries were severe. “He did not break any bones, but he had a laceration that was all the way down to the bone. He’s at high risk for infection right now, and he did get stitches put at the field,” she explained.

The hope is that he’ll recover well enough to be released back into the wild. The dedication this group has for the Salt River wild horses is evident. “We dedicate many, many hours for the protection of the herd; we want to keep them there for future generations,” she said.

The group points out that while Neeman was saved, another herd of wild horses in Alpine might not be so lucky. They could be rounded up as early as Monday, something they continue to fight. For more information about the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, click here.