May 2018 the drought
The effects of Arizona’s multi year drought were hitting the forest hard in some areas. Things grew particularly dire for the horses that were prevented from migrating to other areas of the forest due to the extensive criss-crossing of public lands pasture fencing. Seeing how desperate the situation was becoming, Heber herd advocates took it upon themselves to use whatever resources they had on hand to haul water to various tubs they could collect that they placed in the forest. There was no time to wait for authorization by the Forest Service to do so.
This was the first year of water hauling for the horses so a lot had to be figured out on the fly. As the days and weeks went by a lot was learned. The 2018 water hauling project became a model for the following years.
In areas where little water was available the condition of horses was quickly deteriorating.