Reminder

We just wish to remind all of our supporters of our upcoming fundraising banquet.  All monies raised goes into our work to save and rescue wild horses that need help.  A lot of work still needs to be done to assure that the wild horses of Alberta can remain forever wild and free in the ever changing environment of Alberta foothills.

Tickets for our annual fundraising banquet are now available. The date is May 5 in the Olds Legion, 5241 – 46 St (highway 27)

Doors open at 5:00, Refreshments will be available beginning at 5:30 p.m., and a delicious Roast Beef dinner will be served at 6:00. Please contact us here or one of our directors for your ticket.

We will have a wonderful roast beef supper, silent auction, and more. Tickets are $30 each and all proceeds go to the wild horses where needed. Tickets sell quickly, so don’t miss out! You can use the link below to buy through PayPal or you can send a cheque or money order to:

WHOAS
PO Box 4154
Olds, AB T4H 1P7

You can also contact us via our email – WHOASalberta@gmail.com – and we can hold tickets for you at the door.

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Join us for an evening of good food and friendship. We look forward to seeing you and your friends and family.

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Will Winter Ever End?

April Fool’s – still snowing. Yesterday as March rolled into April, the snow and cold persist in wild horse country. As we travelled the back roads, we found this group of boys trying to find some feed. The snow continues to deepen and this causes us concern as the foaling season is ready to start. Although the young ones may be able to adapt to the cold, the hard crusted snow would make it very difficult for them to follow their mare.

Even these boys had difficulty moving across this open clearing. We hope that the weather will moderate soon and the snow will start to recede and soften making it easier for all the forest’s inhabitants. Yesterday we even saw deer struggling to negotiate to travel across the snow pack. Go away cold and snow!

Along the eastern edge of the forestry the snows seems deeper and the horses are sticking closer to the tree lines in order to find something to eat.

As we moved further west where there was some open areas, the west winds and sun had started to open up some areas. The horses are moving to find these places. These two young boys were taking advantage of not having to paw.

Just when it seems that spring was here and the hillsides were exposed with the warmth of the sun, along comes another snow storm.

A little further west, on the real steep hillsides, even on a cold day, the sun has some warmth and has melted the snow. Right now these hillsides are being sought out by several herds.

It is hard to believe that two years ago on April 18, a forest fire was raging right where the snow is the deepest this year.

Even last year at this time, there was little snow left and the foals that were born had it easier. We have not found any new foals yet this year.

In several locations our members have had to move horses back into the forestry from public roadways. The horses were able to walk straight across the Texas gates  that lead into crown land as they were completely filled up with snow. WHOAS contacted the county in regards to this concern and the very next day we were so pleased to find that they had sent in vac trucks to clean them out. We have found no more escapees.

We hope that by the time Donoma is ready to foal, that her baby has a warm and dry environment to begin its new life.

 

 

 

So Much Snow

Winter is not letting up in wild horse country. Temperatures are consistently cold and the snow is accumulating. This yearling has found some grass under the pine trees and the horses are starting to have to roam quite a bit in order to find sufficient feed.

This stallion sought shelter and feed under a mature spruce tree tired of digging through knee deep snow. Who can blame him!

For you who purchased the WHOAS calendar, this filly is the “hurdler”. Getting all grown up despite the long winter she is in very good condition and growing. This photo was taken on March 1, just before another 30 cms of snow blanketed the countryside.

The next day these are the conditions the horses had to face in order to find feed. Notice the two youngsters under the mature trees behind this pregnant mare.

As the day passed, the snow increased and continued to pile up. This beautiful herd, with snow covered backs, worked together in this opening to paw back the deep snow. One good thing is that the snow is still very soft and has not crusted over which would make survival much more difficult for all the wildlife.

Darn snow!

Spread throughout wild horse country are natural mineral licks. These licks are important to the health of the horses especially at this time of year in order that they get the nutrients to stay in good health. This beautiful mare has her head deep down getting to the yummy dirt!

Look at her muzzle – “I need a napkin!” Satisfied she then wandered off to join her herd feeding behind her.

BlueSky Radio interviewed Bob last week about WHOAS’ continuing work to protect and save the Alberta wild horses. Here is a link to the audio file:

Bob Henderson Wild Horses of Alberta Society.MP3

 

Emergency Call

Sunday evening, February 25th, a call came into us from a concerned citizen that a foal had been spotted near Nordegg and it had blood on its body. They also told us that the foal was all by itself and its herd was no where to be found. The good part at that time was the foal was on its feet and eating. With little daylight left on Sunday we had to wait until Monday morning to respond.

Bright and early on Monday morning with our truck loaded with some hay, halters and other rope, we were on our way. From our place it was over 200 kms to where the foal had been sighted.

Arriving in the general area we began to drive slowly down the highway looking for horse signs. As we came upon an area where there was a lot of pawing and horse poop, we saw this horse peeking through the forest. Brakes on, park the truck, on with snowboots and off we go to look for more horses.

We came into a small opening where we found this herd of Nordegg wild horses. The little filly was standing off to the side and not really wanting to move.

As we approached the herd moved closer to her and she was able to move on her own to join up.

We were able to get close enough to see that she had a little bit of blood still on her and some small injuries on her right back leg.  She was also favouring her left rear leg. Otherwise she looked okay and not in any distress. We made the decision that it would be best to leave her with her family and not intervene at all.

This is the magnificent herd stallion who came to put himself between his herd and these strangers. These Nordegg wild horses are larger than the ones found west of Sundre with many of them having the distinctive bald face and white socks. Still so beautiful.

This mare is pregnant and will more than likely pass those unique physical characteristics onto her offspring. These horses live a very precarious life inhabiting the clearcuts along busy highway 11.

As we stood in the deep snow snapping pictures, these two young studs came out of nowhere and took off down the cutline. The caused the foal and her herd to also quickly abandon the scene.

Before being interrupted, the other young foal from the herd came out to buddy up with his herd mate. We are glad that this story had a happy ending and hope that these two grow up strong and healthy. We will be checking back on them.

Winter’s Hardships

 

Winter weather has enveloped wild horse country along with the cold tempatures and the snow has really started to accumulate. As the snow pack deepens it becomes more challenging for all the wildlife including the wild horses. Using their broad hooves, they must dig through the snow to find forage.

In conditions like this it is more difficult for mares with foals at their side. The foals are still nursing and thus these mares have a harder time keeping their body condition in good shape.

This beautiful stallion has brought his small herd onto this open hillside where the wind blows hardest and therefore helps expose feed.

This herd is out in the sunshine which has melted any snow from their backs. Notice the horse second from the back that has such a beautiful silver mane and tail.

This mare had badly injured her right rear leg in 2017. Showing the resilience of the wild horses, she was able to deliver this thriving foal in the spring and has recovered remarkably. We found her sleeping in the sunshine and she is still in fairly good condition able to move around to find food with the rest of her small herd.

This healthy foal is with his herd in the heavier timber where the trees prevent the snow from building up which exposes some grass.

Milk break time!

This young mare was definitely enjoying the sunshine on a day where the temperatures were close to 0C. This bright sunshine also helps their overall health and warms them up. Just look at the shiny coats.

This 2-year old stud is still with his herd who has found feed along the treeline. This spring, however, he will probably be dismissed from his herd and have to find other young boys for company.

These two are from Sock’s herd. One of our supporters named him “Flyer” as it looks like a kite on his face. Both mom and babe are doing well this winter under the guidance of such a wise stallion.

Pawing through the snow. We often notice deer tracks around these areas where the horses have been digging. The deer are better able to find their feed once the horses move on.

This wonderful stallion gives us “the look”.

Who’s this? Even the skunk comes out on a sunny day. It is amazing the other wildlife that share the country with the wild horses – deer, moose, elk, wolves, fox, cougar and coyotes as well as the birds of prey – we are able to observe as we travel the backcountry. 4 x 4 vehicles are definitely needed in order to navigate the back roads and trails. A lot of the roads are not plowed very often.

As winter carries on now without much sign of letting up, and the snow deepens, we hope that the horses continue to stay healthy. This young girl is asleep in the sun and we wish her well.

 

Christmas and Your Wild Horses

The cold and the snow has come to wild horse country, just in time for Christmas.  Back trails are accumulating the snow now and good tires and a 4 x 4 are the safe way to go out and visit these beautiful horses in such pristine and wonderful scenery. It is nice to know that there will be no capture season this winter and the horses will be able to just be.

Although the snow is starting to accumulate the wild horses are having no difficulty in finding feed buried under it.  All the horses are in excellent body condition to endure the cold and snow. The late arrival of winter certainly helped them out.

Generally the horses are so well adapted to the cold. Their coats are thick and their body fat insults them extremely well.  Snow on their backs indicate a healthy horse.

At this time of year when the snow is not falling you’ll find the herds out in the open soaking up some sunshine.

This beautiful stallion took exception to having his herd photographed putting himself between the danger (us) and his herd. The mares and foals however, were not worried at all and kept feeding.  Even the later born foals are fat and sassy! It is so exciting to watch and visit them and enjoy the tranquility of winter scenes like this. The nice thing about a fresh snowfall is you can see the tracks of all the other animals that inhabit our west country – cougar, wolves, squirrels, rabbits, foxes and of course the ravens.

At this time on behalf of the wild horses and WHOAS, we would like to thank all our  supporters. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

 

Winter??

Our two new boys are progressing quite quickly in their gentling process, slowly learning to trust the humans.  This is Cheyenne and he is quite a curious boy.  He comes up to the fence to sniff at new comers to the WHOAS facility and has quickly learned to be led about.  Even some gentle rubbing of his face is now okay with him.

Comanche too is coming along but is somewhat more timid than his buddy. Despite being a little more cautious, he shows great promise and will do extremely well when he finds his human to bond with. Maybe that’s you? Both these two boys have yet to be gelded.

This is Cascade and he has progressed a long ways. His buddy, Chico has been adopted and we continue to work with him so he will be ready to go to a new home soon.

December’s weather is so dramatically different from the cold and snow of early November. With the warm temperatures, wind and sun, a lot of areas are free of snow allowing the horses to forage easily. Our palomino boy here has certainly grown up. We were worried about him because we had been unable to locate him and his herd for the longest time.

His stallion has picked up another mare who has a foal beside her. The lead mare is as spooky as always so it is wonderful to actually see them.

In the valleys where there is still lots of grass, the snow is a little bit deeper and the horses can paw through it easily. This beautiful mare that we have been following since she was a foal, is pregnant and is in excellent condition. Well look forward to seeing her foal in the spring.

Always present, surveying wild horse country, are the beautiful bald eagles. In native culture they are the ones that soar closest to the Great Spirit who oversees all.

Here our buddy, Socks, and his herd has found one of those exposed areas. As you can see, “Flyer”, his colt from this year, is doing well. With this warm weather, comes ice. All roadways and trails back in the bush are sheets of ice and very dangerous. This can cause difficulty for the horses to roam about.

Unfortunately we have found a mare who tried to get over a gate leading into some property who slipped and became entangled. She did not survive. This appears to be a very freak accident and our hearts were torn when we found her. We hope her spirit is running free. Life is tough on our Alberta wild horses and they face many dangers and obstacles in their fight for survival.

As we travelled cautiously this week, we found this yearling enjoying the sunshine and some green grass in this opening.

Two of this year’s foals came out to join him and soak up the warmth of the day. Because of the warm temperatures, all the horses we have come across so far are looking so good and healthy. Each day of warm temperatures makes their ability to survive the hardships of winter that much easier.

This big stallion is snoozing peacefully standing guard over his herd. A pleasant end to our day keeping track of your Alberta wild horses.