Spring Rescues

The foaling season is well under way for the wild horses in our Alberta foothills. Unfortunately as with other wild animals, some of these foals run into difficulty and sometimes they are left orphaned because of several different situations. This little filly was rescued after it was reported that she was hanging around a well site for a couple of days and there was no mare or other wild horses around. When our team went out to rescue her, they spent a lot of time looking for the herd but were unable to locate it. She was brought back to the WHOAS site and learned quickly that milk could be found in a bucket. Very shortly she has found a new home where she is receiving all sorts of love and care. Lucky baby.

This young boy found himself in trouble and was causing concern for the management of Mountain Aire Lodge who called upon WHOAS to come and remove him. This happens in the springtime. These young bachelors are kicked out of their herd and go looking for company or a family of their own.

This is an unfortunate situation that should not have happened. As happened last year, there was a similar incident at this place where a stallion had to be removed. At that time we complained to the government that this would likely recur because there was no fencing to keep the wild horses off the property. In fact the owners and management feed and salt a small band that stays mostly on their property year round. This is supposedly for their guests entertainment. Unfortunately this draws in other wild horses, such as this boy. WHOAS was under the understanding that authorization had been given by the government to remove him.

After the incident in 2022, the government officials had asked Mountain Aire Lodge to properly fence their property to prevent horses and cattle from straying in. They refused.

As such this boy was not to be the last. A week later WHOAS was called again about other young studs that were on this property. Again WHOAS members were misled in believing that authorization for removal had been granted to Mountain Aire Lodge and so we were caught between a rock and a hard place. Since the government will not allow us to relocate we had to bring them back to WHOAS facility.

Here are the next three boys.

All these three are all about the same age, likely 3-year olds. That they had to be removed is completely upsetting to myself as a week and a half before that we had found them wandering around the flats of Wigwam Creek free and wild. They likely were drawn into Mountain Aire property by the other horses that were there. This was completely wrong and I immediately contacted the appropriate government officials about my concerns that this was happening again and likely to continue unless something was done.

One would think that since Mountain Aire is operated on crown land and under a lease from the government that the proper containment of this lease would be a priority. We also warned the government, and the other WHOAS members, had told staff at Mountain Aire that the horses could become a danger to their guests as they are wild animals. Apparently this was not considered as they have taken no action to date.

After the 3 boys had been already captured and taken to WHOAS, I found out that no authorization had been given by the government, RCMP Livestock Investigations or the LIS for any removal of horses nor had they been informed that there was a problem. We were misled again and did what we thought the appropriate action.

Inaction by Mountain Aire owners and managers along with the government is causing this to happen and this was not to be the end. On the May long weekend management there again phoned WHOAS about a stud that was on their property that was supposedly chasing visitors including young children. They allegedly tried to chase him off with bear spray but he kept coming back and WHOAS was called. This time we contacted LIS and because it was a safety concern, this time we felt it was in the best interest of this young boy to retrieve him.

He has had rough time of it and is quite bitten up by fighting with other studs. But this is the way of the wild horses.

WHOAS will do our best to gentle these boys and after gelding them find them a new forever home. This will likely take a considerable amount of time as each horse is different and requires their own personalized approach to gain trust in us humans. As we have always said, we would always wish they could be free and wild, but we will assure that they are properly taken care of and have a good life.

I am not finished putting pressure on the government to ensure that this stops. I truly believe that if this was other wildlife being interfered with by these people, action would have already been taken. Is it just because they are horses that this is being allowed to happen? Hopefully others will add their voice to stop this irresponsible attack against the wild horses. They need better protection and WHOAS along with other wild horse advocacy groups continue to strive toward this goal. The Feral Horse Advisory Committee has been put in limbo due Minister changes and now the election. The management plan that was proposed has gone no where. That is not right.

You will likely realize that these boys will need lots of feed and some veterinary care and plenty of TLC by our volunteers. We appreciate any support and your donations toward taking care of the horses under our care.

4 thoughts on “Spring Rescues

  1. Wow, how sad these horses had their freedom taken from them, just for doing what horses do. Thank you WHOAS for being there for them and for posting the truth about the issue with the lodge. The public needs to know. Hopefully, this will force them into doing the right thing….fencing the horses out. There are so many Wildies in that area, they will still be a tourist attraction AND the tamer horses will go back to being wild as they were intended to be.
    Jackie Sills


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