A mare and her foal are rescued and safe thanks to the efforts of staff of the National Park Service, Kanab Veterinary Hospital and the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

The two horses were stranded on a beach in Navajo Canyon. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area staff had been monitoring and feeding the animals since June 7.

Park staff contacted a local veterinarian and together they assessed the horses and their situation. It was concluded that the two feral horses were trapped on the beach due to rising lake elevations and they had no way to escape on their own. Some theories as to why this occurred include the mare giving birth and a limited food supply that eventually ran out after Lake Powell water levels continued rising.

Horses are great swimmers, but for unknown reasons, the mare stayed on the beach until she was too weak to make the one-quarter mile swim with a newborn.

Even though the water level at Lake Powell has been rising at a steady pace, the two horses were not in any immediate danger. They had access to plenty of water and National Park Service personnel fed the horses hay while a plan was devised to safely remove the horses from the beach.

This is not typical, as park service staff generally do not interfere with wildlife or feral animals. As the beach, however, is a popular camp and recreation spot for boaters, the animals raised safety concerns for the public.

National Park Service
National Park Service

Several factors aligned to make the rescue possible, including the proximity to a marina, and the availability of an NPS vessel that could accommodate a horse trailer. The most important contributions to the rescue efforts were made thanks to the generosity of the Kanab Veterinary Hospital and Best Friends Animal Society’s Sanctuary in Kanab.

The two animals were sedated, and were then able to be moved in to that floating horse trailer.

Both horses are doing fine at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. After the filly is weaned, both horses will be available for adoption from Best Friends.

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