Rio Verde Wild Horse Herd
The Rio Verde herd of wild horses is a small herd of approximately 50 or less horses. This herd is located in the Cave Creek ranger district of the Tonto National Forest, along the Verde river, North of Fort McDowell and south of Bartlett lake. The horses are usually found on the east side of the river, although they do wander into the Rio Verde foothills usually during the winter months. These wild horses are possible descendants of both early Spanish explorers as well as escaped stock from ranchers that had settled in the area in the 1800's. No documentation has been found from the U.S. Forest Service for a survey of the area for wild horses to be included in the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act. The closest survey that was done for wild horses and burros was in the Mesa ranger district, along the Salt River and near Saguaro lake. Long time residents and visitors to the Rio Verde area state that the wild horses were in fact in the area at the time the Wild Horse and Burro Act was placed into law. The
Rio Verde horses are in danger from removals due to the fact that they have no laws protecting them. The herd size has already become smaller over the past 10 years due to new housing developers that have captured horses and had them removed as well as some Rio Verde foothills residents that have captured horses.
There are many concerned about the future of this herd. Please follow the Rio Verde Wild Horses Facebook page for more updates and information on this small, but special herd of wild horses in Arizona.