A Necessary Rescue

Just over a week ago WHOAS was informed that a herd of 11 wild horses had strayed out of the forestry and onto private property adjacent to it. The owner of this property also has the cattle lease in the forestry from where this herd had come from. Once on their land, the gates were closed and the horses were confined as you can see above. At this point the horses, since they are considered “strays”, legally become their property to do with as they wish.

Acting on this information, the land owner was contacted by WHOAS members about chasing the horses back into the forestry. This was outrightly refused and it was indicated that they were going to contact a meat buyer to come and pick up these horses. In the past a similar situation had occurred with this land owner and a whole herd was sold to meat buyers. There was absolutely no way WHOAS could stand by and let this happen. Thanks to some negotiation by a couple of our members, the landowner thankfully relented and instead agreed to sell the horses to WHOAS as well as compensate them for full pallet of salt that had been put out for the cattle and that the wild horses has allegedly consumed.

A crew of volunteers was organized last Sunday to haul panels from the WHOAS facility and construct a catch pen.

Once set up the pens were left open and baited with some salt that WHOAS provided. Early the next morning the horses had entered the pen and the gate was tripped to hold them safely in our pens. Another team of volunteers came together and with 2 trucks and horse trailers attended at the site to secure the safety of these horses.

Before attempting to load the horses, one of the trailers was backed in to the load gate.

With the welfare of the horses always paramount, and because there were 11 horses in all including two foals, we separated them into two bunches using our two-pen setup.

Once all the horses were secured in the two trailers, they were transported to the WHOAS handling facility. Our pens are set up so that the horses can easily be moved into separate pens if necessary without any undue difficulty for the horses or the humans.

Prior to their arrival, hay and salt had been put in the pens so that once the horses were relocated, they could be left alone to settle down in their new environment. We give them several days for this to happen only entering the pens to provide fresh feed.

Let us introduce you to the horses we have.

First the stallion of the herd, a beautiful red roan:

Then there are 2 mature bay mares:

Then there are 2 mature mares with foals. The first mare with a star has a colt at her side.

The next mare has a little filly at her side.

Then we have a two-year old bay filly:

We then have a two-year old beautiful red roan filly and standing beside her is yearling filly.

Last but not least is a dark bay yearling colt.

It is so unfortunate that this had to happen to this beautiful herd of horses but there is no way in hell that we were going to allow them to go for slaughter!!!

We would rather see them running free and wild. This is what WHOAS has always stood for.

Over the years it has been our experience that the mature horses, mares and stallions are extremely hard to gentle and even harder to find adoptive loving homes for them. So in the case of the stallion, the four mature mares including the two new foals, we are making the following proposal to the AEP, the government department in charge of the wild horses. WHOAS has offered to apply the contraceptive vaccine (Zonastat-H) to the four mares along with applying our freeze brand to them and the stallion. We would then take the horses into a completely new area of the forestry to be released to freedom again. This would also ensure that the basic herd stays intact. The 2 two-year olds and 2 yearlings would remain and be gentled down for adoption. We hope, in light of recent meetings with the government, discussing situations like this, that we can gain their approval. It all depends on them.

Your membership funds and other donations goes toward helping us to rescue and save these beautiful creatures. Thank you so much for this help.



5 thoughts on “A Necessary Rescue

  1. Margaret McCoy

    You are amazing people. I wish I could do something or had a place for them as we love love them. In Feb/March my hubby and I spent several weekends in the forestry road area and captured gorgeous pictures of some herds. (We both do photography as a hobby). If you would like some pictures I’d be happy to share them to your page. It was so heartbreaking to see them so skinny during the winter. My heart aches to leave them. We are in Edmonton so it’s not always easy to get down there but plan on being in the area on the long weekend. Should there be anything we can do, please don’t hesitate to ask.


    1. Theresa Nolet

      Margaret there are many things you can do, send letters to you local papers with information to educate people about the Wild horses and horse slaughter. Visit your local politicians and let them know how you as a tax payer feel about this issue. Donate a small monthly amount to organizations that are working to change the laws and protect these horses, even 5.00 a month will help. Tell other people what you are doing and encourage them to join you!


  2. Edith Dille

    Your plan sounds solid to me, hopefully the government will respond quickly (however that may be a futile wish).

    It disturbs me that the rancher is so anti-horse; the horses cannot possibly be that much of a nuisance in the area. Any that I see are further west and much further south.

    Good luck to the group and the little herd.


  3. Dorothea Henn

    Beautiful little herd. Wildies are beautiful, elegant, sturdy horses, that are easy to train. They are level headed, sure footed and healthy. This comes through experience with owning these wonderful horses. Your plan sounds pretty solid to me, and I can only hope that the AEP can come up with a positive reply to your request soon. It is sad that this rancher is so inhuman, that he would rather send them to slaughter, and I want to thank you for intervening and for all of the wonderful work that you do with these amazing horses, that are part of the history of Alberta.


  4. Jean

    What bastards those landowners are! What is this crap about these wild horses becoming their property? Seriously????? These landowners probably orchestrated the whole thing. They pay peanuts to lease crown land. How many cattle are they running on PUBLIC lands? People like that are disgusting!


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