Over the years people have captured some of the Heber wild horses with various motives in mind. Some have made it a business to capture, break, and sell them without the prospective buyers knowing the horse they are considering buying was once wild. There will be more on that in future “Chronicles”. But this is about some that managed to escape their captors. Some with a little help from their friends aka wild horse advocates.
Without a doubt the most well known Heber wild horse who regained his freedom from would-be thieves is Sir Studly Dudley. He ran around in the forest for a few years with the red halter they managed to put on him. It never stopped him from becoming a successful band stallion. Over time the halter became more and more worn. The last time it was seen on him it was just barely hanging on. To this day some say the halter was somehow taken off of him by a human. Dudley is not a people friendly guy, so until we see some evidence, such as photos or video of a person taking it off or even a photo of somebody holding the halter, we’re not inclined to believe that story.
Not as well known is the bay mare, Juniper. In 2015 game camera photos were the first to surface of her with a halter and two very long leads attached. It didn’t take long for the leads to be shortened by her hooves as she grazed. We don’t know the circumstances of her capture and getaway but she was back with her band and her beautiful new foal was delivered shortly thereafter.
In 2018 there were the two palomino mares and two foals that were captured in a corral in the forest. We got word through a Facebook private message from kind and caring people who spotted them captured in a corral and suspected they were wild. We contacted another advocate, Stacy Sanchez and asked he if could check out the situation. When he got to the corral he realized the two palomino mares and very young foals were indeed wild. Only one of the captured mares had a foal of her own but she was seen nursing both foals. Stacy opened the gate of the large corral and was able to slowly move all four horses through. He followed them and watched as they reunited with their band that was back in the trees not far away. The little foal found his real mom which turned out to be a third palomino. It was a happy ending to what was most likely another failed horse theft attempt. Sometimes it takes a village.