You can usually find Azure grazing near his best friend, Target. The two are very tightly bonded and don’t mind wandering away from the larger herd, meandering together through the hills of the sanctuary. Azure is hesitant but curious and will let people approach him with caution.
Azure was captured in August 2015 along with just over 200 horses from the Wheeler Pass Herd Management Area near Cold Creek, Nev., where nearly 400 horses and burros roamed in the surrounding Spring Mountains. The horses were from their range due to a lack of natural resources produced by the severe drought. Twenty-eight horses were euthanized due to their very poor body conditions.
A photographer and wild horse enthusiast who had been photographing the herd was distraught when she learned that the BLM had captured and removed the horses she loved.
After their capture, Return to Freedom was able to track down the captured horses, which were being cared for on a private ranch in Utah. The photographer and local advocates were able to identify 10 of the horses they were familiar with who grazed together on the range. All 10 of the horses were relocated to RTF’s sanctuary where they are thriving together.
These horses are the descendants of escapees from the 1800s horse trade, horses apparently abandoned by Native Americans, and horses turned loose by ranchers in the mountains and valleys of southern Nevada. Later, ranchers also lost horses to the wild bands and so the bloodlines have been mixed. The horses are relatively small, but very hardy, and now have been habituated to humans by grazing alongside the highway.