WHOAS is happy to announce that our 2017 calendar will be available for shipping starting next week. To purchase one and support our work to protect and save our Alberta wild horses, click on the link at the top of the page for the “purchase a calendar”. If you wish you can also send a cheque or money order to Wild Horses of Alberta Society or WHOAS at:
The winner is Delaney from Blackfalds, AB. Thanks to Jack Nichol, our lead wrangler, and John McFadden, a friend of WHOAS, who drew the lucky ticket at our rescue and handling facility west of Sundre.
WHOAS would like to thank everyone who purchased tickets and those who helped sell them. All the monies raised goes to support WHOAS’ work to protect and save your Alberta wild horses. Thanks also goes to CBC and the Heartland cast and crew for choosing our society to participate in this fundraiser this year.
Summer has been a good one for the wild horses despite all the rain. The grasses are lush and green and the herds are looking very healthy. As you can see the foals are healthy and growing big and strong.
These three youngsters took turns seeing who could be the most annoying to the others.
One thing about late summer is that the horses do spend a lot of time seeking sanctuary from the annoying insects. At times you’ll find them out in the open getting the benefit of any wind to keep the bugs away. Most of all though the horses head into the tall timber.
With all the time we spend checking on the herds, it is gratifying to see how well all of them are doing. We have also spent time this summer taking visitors from as far away as Germany and Scotland out to observe the horses. This definitely shows that our Alberta wild horses have a universal tourist attraction. This fact is overlooked by our government when we as Albertans should be proud of this and promote it. We already have school group visits booked to experience our handling facility in the fall and how important the horses are to our Alberta heritage.
We would like to tell you about an event to be held at Sunset Guiding this September. Consider this for your Alberta “staycation!”
SUNSET GUIDING AND BACK-COUNTRY RETREAT
Photograph the back-country of Alberta’s Eastern Slopes, amazing fall colours & Wild Horses.
Spend a photographic weekend at Sunset Guiding on the shores of the Panther River with published photographer Larry Semchuk, author of “Running Free” the wild horses of Alberta’s east slopes.
– Friday Sept. 23rd: Wine reception, snacks and introduction to the weekend on the patio overlooking the Panther River. 7:00 PM
– Saturday Sept. 24th: Photograph wild horses and fall colours
– Sunday Sept. 25th: Early mountain sunrise “clouds permitting” followed by brunch and free time for the rest of the day
$295.00 + GST includes meals, lodging in our clean rustic cabins, café and day transportation. Entries limited to 20.
Sunset Guiding (1-888) 637-8580 or (403) 637-2361
We would also like to remind everyone that we still have raffle tickets available for the Heartland Prize draw to be held September 30th. For $10 you and 3 friends have an opportunity to visit the CBC Heartland site, meet the stars of the show, have lunch with them and get some autographs. Order online and if there is a mail strike be assured that your name will be entered into the draw even though we can’t mail you your tickets. We send a confirmation email to all entries. All funds goes to support our work with the wild horses.
Every year WHOAS is called upon to rescue young bachelor stallions that get themselves into trouble on private land next to the forestry. A lot of the time we are able to push the horses further back away from private land. Then in other cases, we have assisted the landowner with fence repairs or electric fencing to help them deal with the wayward boys.
These 3 boys, however, continued to break down fences and tried to steal domestic mares. Several attempts were made to stop this but to no avail. In such cases like this, in past years, the landowner would have somebody come in to remove the horses who were then likely sold to the meat buyers. WHOAS has stepped in and now offers to rescue these horses. We then take them to our handling facility where we work on gentling them so that they are safe to handle. We then try to find them suitable forever homes. We would rather see them free, but . . . auction or adoption?
We have attached a short Youtube video showing a typical day in the gentling process. All work with these horses is done by a team of very dedicated and experienced volunteers who have a love and passion for these beautiful horses. You can see the respect they have for these creatures in the way that they handle and talk to them. This definitely shows in the way these horses quickly respond.
If you feel you would like to take on the responsibility of adopting one of these boys, please send us an email to request our adoption application.
Summer is here and the rains have finally come to our Alberta Foothills which has certainly brought on the grass along with beautiful flowers and other plants. This has definitely been beneficial to our wild horses. Here one family group is at a mineral lick and another group patiently awaits it’s turn. Altogether there are 6 foals, 3 in each herd.
As we travelled along the back country trails we continued to run into numerous groups with most of them having at least one foal with them.
This little one is getting help from mom’s tail swishing to keep the hoards of black flies away.
This year in our travels we have started to find more and more Paint (spotted) horses. After so many years of finding very few of them, it is interesting to see how the colour gene has resurfaced. Back in the 60s and 70s there used to be a large number of Paints roaming with the herds. During this period, despite some claims that the wild horses are just recently growing in numbers, records show that there were estimated to be around 2,000 – 3,000 horses roaming free in the central Alberta foothills.
On one particular day we were so thrilled to find a herd with a beautiful Paint stallion along with two Paint mares. What was so exciting was the fact that two of the mares also had Paint foals with them.
In this picture you can see this year’s Paint foal standing next to its yearling brother who is almost solid black, despite having the same sire.
While photographing the herd, there were three other groups in the immediate area including one 3-year old sorrel stud with flaxen mane who was trying assert some sort of dominance.
When the young boy got too close to the Paint mares, a discussion ensued!
The golden boy quickly got the hint and moved on to test another stallion who was close by.
When this challenge also failed, he wandered off leaving the other herds to peacefully feed.
It is certainly nice to see so many foals thriving so far this summer. Hopefully the survival rate for the foals will be higher than it has been in past years. Through all this beautiful and wonderful new life we get to observe, occasionally we come across a tragedy. Such was the case this past Sunday when we found an approximately 3-year old stud who had impaled himself on an Alberta survey marker. How it happened we do not know, nor do we want to negatively speculate. The metal marker was bent and he must have run into it, piercing into his chest and heart area. He extricated himself but died nearby. Apparently these markers, called monuments, are not used anymore and are left throughout public lands. This just shows that the life of our wild horses is not an easy one.
But to leave you on a positive note, here is another baby picture of a yearling colt and his new brother.
Remember to order your raffle tickets for a chance to win the Heartland prize. They are $10 and can be ordered online. Just click on the Heartland Prize Fundraiser page at the top of our webpage. Good luck and thanks for supporting WHOAS.
We spend a considerable amount of time travelling throughout wild horse country to document, observe and photograph the Alberta wild horses. Just to see them on any given day, after all these years, still brings joy to our hearts. Every once in a while though, we get to witness horse behaviour that makes us laugh and smile.
One day we came across a beautiful herd with three healthy foals hanging around a mineral lick. As we watched and photographed, one of the younger foals decided to take a break and lay down. His herd mate decided he wanted to play.
It was amusing to watch him go and start bugging his friend.
We laughed as what appeared to us the little one objecting to the interruption in his nap time! The pestering continued until he had to get up.
Once the older foal had his way he left his buddy alone and went over and had a drink from mom.
On another day we came across a family herd where the mature stallion was allowing a younger stud to hang in close to his herd. What happened next was one of those things about horses that made us laugh.
Another young stud with flaxen mane and tail came out of the trees a little ways away from the tranquil setting that we were watching. He seemed to be checking out whether he could join in.
As he walked further into the meadow we could see that he had many skirmishes already this spring as his body was full of scars from bites and kicks. As he stood there he seemed to be analyzing the situation – should I go or should I leave?
As soon as he made his intentions clear that he was going to come into where the herd and another young boy were, things began to happen. As he came closer the other young stud decided to go out and confront the intruder. The whole time the herd stallion stayed in the shade of the trees and just watched.
As you can see these two had met before – more bites and kick marks apparent. All of a sudden as the bay coloured stud got close he shifted it into high gear and took off after the flaxen boy.
Wheeling around off the two went kicking and bucking. With ears pinned back, the bay boy meant business. As in all incidences of young studs and stallions confronting each other, no lasting harm was to occur.
At an invisible boundary, the bay boy put on his brakes and let the loser run off, before returning to the herd. When he made it back to the herd, the big stallion came out to greet him but also show that he was still “the boss.”
Meanwhile the other young fellow was left to wander off again until it was time for the next challenge. Such is the life of young wild horse studs!
We also thought we would update you on the young foal that was rescued a few weeks ago by WHOAS members. Young “Coulter”, about a month old now, is living with two older geldings who have adopted him. They nurture him with some affection and also make sure he learns proper horse behaviour. He enjoys his warm, foal replacement milk several times a day and is thriving and growing every day.
We would like to acknowledge the quick response from the oil companies who owned the well site lease where the foal was rescued last Sunday. Today we saw that workers had removed the barb wire and were in the process of taking out the posts at this location. We just want to say thanks, so this little guy whose family is in that area too will be safe.