Stories were fabricated in an attempt to justify removing free-roaming horses and closing the Heber Wild Horse Territory. We have seen this happen often when it comes to America’s wild horses and burros. For example, the horses are going to starve! We’re removing them for their own good! Nothing to indicate that is the case. But the horses are removed and the cattle are brought in.
The Sitgreaves has tall tales that have been repeated over and over by those who want the horses gone but are in favor of non native privately owned cattle being brought in to guzzle the water and graze the grasses. One of the stories is about a stallion we dubbed “Frosty”.
Frosty the Stallion
The Forest Service and public lands ranchers have clung tightly to their assertion that at the time the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act was passed there were only 7 wild horses in the 800,000 plus acres of forest in the Sitgreaves. Keep in mind they never have provided evidence that a wild horse census was ever conducted in order to determine the establishment of the Heber Wild Horse Territory and what portion of the forest it should include. Over the years “stories” were told that the band stallion was sterile due to a winter snowstorm that froze his testicles. Funny how the storm didn’t seem to affect the other horses in the Sitgreaves that the ranchers were capturing and removing. Eventually the story went on to claim there were just two mares left and they would die of natural attrition therefore the Heber Wild Horse Territory should be dissolved. No mention was made of the other wild horses that were seen in the forest including horses in the designated Heber Wild Horse Territory.
Feral Cat Myth
Comparing wild horses to feral cats is a form of fear mongering used by public lands cattle ranchers. Their story that wild horses breed like feral cats is an attempt to scare people into thinking the horses are overpopulating and the situation is urgent. Either the people who use that comparison are too ignorant to know that cats have litters and horses don’t. Or they think the people they are telling their story to are too ignorant to know horses only have one foal a year at most. An adult female cat can have 3 litters a year with an average of 4-6 kittens per litter. In any case there is no evidence to support the claim that the Heber herd is overpopulated. Based on numbers by the forest service beginning in 2005 to the present day the Heber herd has an approximate growth rate of 1.5% per year. That is a far cry from the 20% that the FS and BLM claim wild horse herds have.
While the silliness of their stories can be somewhat humorous, the consequences of repeating those big lies can be devastating to the Heber wild horse herd and the American people who want to keep wild horses on our public lands. Their deceptive propaganda is used to manipulate facts and information in hopes of furthering their agenda to remove the wild horses from the forest.