In Alberta the seasons can change so quickly – from plus 20 C for a few days, then -10 C with a strong north wind and snow the next. This is how it was at the end of October. In our travels one day it was snowing heavily and it was accumulating on the back country trails. It didn’t bother the wild horses at all.
This small family group found an open hillside where the grass was still exposed and they did not have to paw to find enough feed. Another horse in the herd seemingly looked quite familiar to us, perhaps an offspring of the mighty Portero, our resident herd stallion at the WHOAS rescue/handling facility.
The similarities between the two, with the mane and body colouring is very interesting. This herd inhabits crown land just a short distance from Portero’s old territory.
This young stud was by himself and seeking a little protection from the snowfall in the pine trees. Even when the snow gets much deeper, underneath the pines there will always be some grasses exposed. This is where you will find them.
A few days later the sun had come out and we started our day driving roads that had become extremely icy. It was much warmer this day and the horses were out warming up in the sunshine. As we rounded the corner we came across this beautiful young colt and his dam. It appeared that they were all by themselves. We got out the binoculars and started glassing for their stallion and any other horses. Surprise! Standing on the other side of the vehicle, not 10 feet away from us was the stallion.
An old warrior, missing part of his left ear, he just stared at us, knowing we meant no harm, just a picture.
As we traveled along the roads soon became slushy, then muddy and the snow was melting quickly. This beautiful stallion had his family out in an open area, unafraid and quietly feeding.
This little filly was part of his herd and is now learning how to paw the snow aside to find the best grass. They learn this behaviour from the other herd members.
As the day went along, the warmed up and as we moved further north, there was far less snow. We found this family soaking up the rays. As you can see, four of them were snoozing in the warmth. Can you tell who is related?!
One of the reasons we went this way that day was to try and find this pair. In a previous post we had mentioned this foal all alone without a mare by his side. He was with his stallion then and this day we were delighted to find them together still. The foal had gained weight and was looking very healthy. We are hopeful he will make it through the winter with the guidance and protection of his dad. And look, later in the day the snow is all gone!
Toward the end of the day we had another treat. Here is Snow Queen and her herd. The foals in the herd are growing and are strong and very healthy. There was not a sound to be heard as they easily travelled through this old clear cut. What a way to end the day!
A few days later it was plus 20C. The roads were dusty and all the horses we saw were out in the open on the hillsides foraging. Perhaps they knew what was coming today? Outside our window there is a white sheet of blowing snow and even our own horses are tucked away in the protection of the trees.
We ended our day with the wonderful opportunity to photograph this magnificent stallion and his herd. What a beauty!