It’s the wild horse way

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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

The wild horses of the Onaqui Herd Management Area (HMA) just outside of Dugway, Utah are some of the most well-known and well-loved mustangs in the country. Photographers and tourists from all over the world flock to this 200,000-acre public land area to spend time with the animals they have come to know and love, including revered wild horses like Old Man, Red Lion, or, Diamond and DeeDee — a stunning mother-daughter duo.


Photo by PJ Kaszas

It’s no matter that DeeDee was born to Diamond over 7 years ago. She has remained by her mother’s side ever since, napping, grazing, and raising her own young. It’s the wild horse way and why we love them: their relationships with one another are strong, intricate, and dynamic. 

So it was devastating to local advocates when the helicopters descended on the HMA in July of 2021, and threatened to rip this pair — and their unique bond — apart. They ended up being captured in the operation along with over 400 other cherished mustangs, and have been stuck in a mud-ridden holding facility since. Visitors to the corrals noted that the pair still clung together, amidst the trauma they endured. 

Local advocates worked tirelessly to find a home for Diamond and DeeDee together and lucked out when AWHC Board Member and owner of Freedom Reigns Equine Sanctuary, Alicia Goetz stepped up and agreed to welcome the mares to her herd of nearly 500 rescued horses on her almost 4,000-acre sanctuary. 


Photo by Kimerlee Curyl

And on Wednesday, we were onsite to welcome the special mother-daughter pair to their new life. After they cautiously came off the trailer, they took to the ground and began to roll. Photographer Kimerlee Curyl, spoke of the moment best: 

“I began to get teary as I watched the caked mud and manure fall off of them as they rolled around in the new green grass of their temporary enclosure. To me, it represented the shedding of their life in holding and that terrible roundup. It was a beautiful and emotional day.”

It really was a beautiful day.


Photo by Kimerlee Curyl

After their quarantine period is up, Diamond and DeeDee will be released out to the main sanctuary to roam over thousands of acres of rolling hills. 

We are grateful to the local advocates who worked so hard to keep this family together, and to Alicia for her commitment to ensuring that Diamond and DeeDee live the remainder of their lives at Freedom Reigns, the next best thing to being wild and free.

For the wild ones,

The AWHC Team

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