Ochoco NF reminds visitors to give new foals space

A wild horse nurses a foal in a grassy forest meadow.

PRINEVILLE, Ore. — March 24, 2018 — The Ochoco National Forest reminds drivers and other visitors travelling through the Big Summit Wild Horse Territory, located east of Prineville, Ore., to slow down when passing groups of horses, and to give newborn foals some space as they work to stand up and assimilate to the herd.

This is the time of year when horses have moved down to lower elevations. The majority of pregnant horses will giving birth to new foals in spring or early summer (March through June).

Earlier this month, a foal was born in a ditch along Forest Service Road 22 near Ochoco Ranger Station, about 20 miles east of Prineville, Ore. When Forest Service staff arrived to check on the situation, the foal had gotten up and moved away with its band, but the incident caught the attention of numerous visitors.

“I know it is tempting to want to intervene when you see a new baby horse, but please give it space. The best thing you can do is keep moving to your destination and contact the Ochoco National Forest if you are concerned,” Tory Kurtz, the forest’s wild horse program manager, said.

The forest has established an email account for members of the public to report sightings of wild horses within the Big Summit Territory to assist land managers with tracking and understanding herd movements.

The public is encouraged to email horse sighting reports and photos to bigsummitwildhorses@gmail.com.

For those interested in volunteering with the Ochoco wild horse program, a volunteer information day is scheduled in May. For more information, contact Stacey Cochran, Discover Your Forest community engagement director, at (541) 383-5530.

To learn more about the Big Summit Wild Horse Territory, visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/ochoco/specialplaces/?cid=fseprd488281

By Patrick Lair, USDA Forest Service – Ochoco National Forest and Crooked River National Grassland

a wild horse, nursing a foal

A horse nurses her foal in this July 29, 2015 USDA Forest Service photo. The horses are part of the Lookout Mountain herd of wild horses, which live on the Ochoco National Forest.

 

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