Late Born Foal

This week in our travels we came across one of the herds we know and we had a surprise waiting for us. This little colt! We have given it the name “Chaska” which means first born son. He was likely born around the middle of December,  into a herd led by a beautiful stallion who had his mother and three other mares along with two yearlings in it. All the horses were in excellent shape including this little one.

Occasionally we come across wild horses where they have foaled out of season. There could be several reasons for this. One could be that this mare lost her foal last year due to the extreme winter and then came into season right away and the result is this baby. All horse mares do cycle shortly after having given birth so it is not just limited to the wildie mares.

Here is another example of a foal born in the winter. It was minus 20C when we found “Yeppa” along with its mom feeding in a clear cut. It was the offspring of the black stallion “Raven” which was highlighted in the 2011 calendar. Despite the extreme cold and snow, this foal survived. We are hopeful that the little colt we saw this week will also thrive, especially since the winter so far has been relatively mild with little snow.

These two yearlings also belong to Chaska’s herd.

Here is his mighty sire. What a strong and magnificent stallion. With his genes the foal should do extremely well.

Still around today, this is “Raven” the sire of “Yeppa”. It was so nice to see him and his herd the same day also doing so well.

Here is a shaky, short video of Chaska and as you watch you can see he has already learned to paw imitating what the other horses were doing.

We hope to be able to keep you up-dated on this little boy’s progress.

Christmas 2018

What a difference a year can make! This time last December it was very cold and the snow had started to accumulate throughout wild horse country. As you can see from this recent picture, there is little to no snow and the temperatures are warm. This is making it so much easier on the horses as they roam the countryside.

We found this boy wandering up a high mountain valley that receives little sunshine this time of year. Even here the snow is causing little difficulty for the horses to find food.

This shows how open the countryside really is right now. This valley here usually has some of the deepest snow in the winter months. As a result of conditions like this, the horses are more difficult to find because they can go anywhere they want! The muskegs are frozen despite the daytime temperatures allowing the horses to feed in usually inaccessible areas.

We were thrilled to come across this herd that includes two white mares we have been following for several years. Here two grey daughters look us over along with the other eight members. They were high up on a fairly open ridge top where the grass is still very plentiful.

In another valley we came across these two boys enjoying the sunshine on this open hillside with no snow. You would think it was early fall, not mid-December.

This fellow stared us down as we took his picture and a beautiful bald eagle flew over us all.

Even though we know winter and snow is coming, this wildie is in great condition to endure whatever comes along. This is true for all the other wildlife we’ve encountered in our recent travels.

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.

 

December Moments

As December begins wild horse country has started to quieten down from all the traffic that surrounds the big game hunting season.  Now a week later the wild horses are starting to change their movement and feeding habits back to normal.  This beautiful mare stands peacefully looking out over her home range.

Right now there is little snow covering the ground in most of the foothills and in some areas, there is almost no snow. This is allowing the wild horses to continue to gain weight and body conditioning going into the winter months ahead.

These two beautiful horses display the excellent condition that we are finding in the herds. Simply shiny and gorgeous!

The handsome boy stands so proudly guarding his herd on a sunny afternoon. We treasure all these moments of being able to take in such special scenes. His herd was just below him secure in feeding on the hillside.

The late afternoon sunshine makes this lone boy just stand out so dramatically as he rests at the edge of the forest. In the winter months the late afternoon sun can provide photographers such glorious opportunities to have its rays showcase any horses and other wildlife.

On another day’s travel in different locations, we came across some familiar herds.  This little two-year old is the offspring of the magnificent stallion we call “Raven.” Her mother is a red roan and the stallion is pure black. Sensing we were not a threat, her curiosity got the best of her and she came right up close to us to have her picture taken.

Travelling the back roads throughout the year, we often are entertained by the actions of not only some of the horses as well as other wildlife, both large and small. We came across this group of bighorn sheep feeding up on the hillside above the roadway. As we stopped to take photographs, they sprung into action and came racing toward us. At first we thought they were just going to run away. But no….

These wonderful creatures have learned that in the winter months, there is a good chance that any vehicle on the roadway is likely covered with road salt. This is a delicacy for them. Surrounding our vehicle they began to lick off the salt much to our enjoyment. Our dog who was in the vehicle could not figure out what was happening! We had to finally drive off leaving them to go back to feeding and as you can see they are in great condition too.

Further along we came across this herd gaining their salt and minerals in a different manner. Although the sheep probably do it too, the horses here have found a location where the soil is naturally salty and full of other necessary minerals. They actually paw and eat the dirt to fulfill their needs. These horses didn’t care at all that we were just a short distance away watching them.

Toward the end of our day, we came across this stunning stallion feeding in an opening. His long mane and forelock so exemplifies the beauty of the wild horses.

There is still time to order your 2019 calendars, the funds which go towards helping us protect and save these wild horses for all.

 

 

 

 

See You at the Xmas Fairs!

WHOAS will be at the Olds Cow Palace this Saturday, November 24, from 10 am to 3 pm. Come and visit us and get your 2019 fundraising calendar.

We will also be in Strathmore at the Civic Centre from 10 am to 4 pm, November 24. We would love to meet you and talk with you about our Alberta wild horses. Our fundraising calendars will also be available.

Best Xmas present yet for those on your Xmas list! – Just $20. We hope to see you there.

Remembering our War Heroes

May we remember our brave men and women that have died or fought for our freedom and those that still serve our country.

I would hope that we can also take a moment to remember the millions of horses that also died on the battle fields.  Horses throughout the history of mankind have always served us with little thanks for the important part they have played in our heritage and history.  Some of the wild horses that roam our Alberta foothills are descendants of these horse that served our country and the world.

Please take a moment to remember.

Family Dynamics

It was a snowy day this week when we headed out west to check on the wild horses. Despite the snow all the horses that we found were very healthy and doing extremely well. This pretty mare was accompanied only by a young stallion obviously starting his own herd.

As were drove further we came across this beautiful herd of ten horses with three of them being this year’s foals. They paid very little attention to us as over the hill came a band of four young studs.

Being typical young stallions it was wonderful to watch all the interaction that was taking place within this group. They were constantly testing each other while watching the larger herd. As we sat watching and taking pictures, one of the young colts from the family group was overcome with curiosity of the boys and their antics.

Breaking from his family, he took off at full speed toward the bachelors.

His buddy looked back at the herd to see if there was any reaction before he too took off. Next thing we see is the mare of one of these two. She snorted an alarm and raced off after the two little renegades.

Now the herd stallion who had been feeding peacefully with the others, saw the commotion and knew trouble was brewing so he decided it was time to straighten things out. So off he goes after them.

He is a beautiful, powerful boy and he moved with such authority. It was so amusing to watch this play out. Because the next thing we saw was the two boys and the mare hightailing it back to the herd. They were obviously chastised for disobeying the “family dynamics” of a wild horse herd.

My goodness were they ever flying through the snow!

The stallion went right up to the interlopers, had a brief discussion, letting this boy know who was boss. He then sauntered slowly back to his herd with his chest puffed out. It’s moments like this that make the time we spend out with the horses, so rewarding. After all this ruckus the family went back to feeding wandering off and the four boys moved off the other way. Peace settled over the forest again.

We continued on our way and came across many beautiful scenes of snow covered trees and wild horses.

This amazing stallion had such a long mane and forelock standing proud over his family.

This little filly was part of another herd and despite the falling snow was finding lots to feed upon.

Rounding out our wonderful day, we came across this small family group enjoying a break in the snowfall.

 

 

Horses Ready for Adoption

Got your WHOAS 2019 Calendar yet? All money raised goes to our work to protect and save your Alberta wild horses. This little cutie does need your support. To order your calendar, click on link at the top of the page – “2019 WHOAS Fund Raising Calendar”.

WHOAS has three horses left that are available for adoption. Visit the new page at the top of the website – “Horses Ready for Adoption” for pictures and video about them.

 

Fund Raising Calendar

WHOAS is pleased to announce that our annual fund raising calendar is now available.  This is our 15th year of producing the calendar to assist in our work to protect save and rescue the Alberta wild horses.  Just click on the link on the top of the home page to order the calendar though PayPal or how to order one through the mail.  We attempt to send out the calendars as soon as we receive the order using Canada Post.

The monies raised goes toward our work in rescuing the wild horses that stray onto private land, such as the magnificent “Dakota” pictured above. He will soon be ready for adoption as he has been gelded and vaccinated. He may be harder to find a home for as he is 12 years of age. We are still working with him and hopefully someone out there may willing to take on a project such as him.

This is little “Dancer”, a yearling filly, that was brought in during the summer. She is doing really well, comes into the barn, and is interested in people that visit her. The weather this fall has certainly not cooperated in helping her look as pretty as she really is. Too much mud and snow!

“I’M ADOPTED”

Here is her friend, “Dixie”, another yearling filly. Why do horses enjoy rolling in the mud so much?    We are so happy that this young girl has been adopted and will soon be going to a new home.

“I’M ADOPTED TOO”

This is “Donny” who is a yearling who has now been gelded, wolf teeth removed, dewormed, vaccinated and branded.  He is a very curious and friendly young boy.    The beautiful young boy also has found someone who will give him a great forever home.

“ME TOO. I’M ADOPTED”

This beautiful boy is “Diablo” a three year old Alberta wild horse who also strayed onto private property looking for a lady friend.  He is about 14.2 hh and he has also received the full treatment and is now a gelding too.

The next boy we have is “Dusty” who is a three year old, now a gelding.  He is also around that 14.2 hands and very solidly built.  Again WHOAS has had to step in and rescue these young bachelors after they stray off of public land and onto private ranches.  We are prohibited from relocating them back onto public land by the AEP.

Finally we have “Duke” who we have just had to rescue in the past week.  He has had nothing done to him yet and we are just working on calming him and getting him use to human interaction.

We have had a busy year having to step in and save these horses, but a new adoptive home is better than them being caught and sent to auction.  We have over the years rescued and rehomed over 90 horses and it is through the money raised by the sale of our calendar and your generous donations that we are able to continue to do this, giving the horses a second chance and an opportunity for a better life.

With our funding, WHOAS also continues to support the scientific research being done by university researchers in order to better understand the wild horses and their effect on the ecosystems of our Alberta foothills.  We are dedicated to finding solutions for the most humane and proper methods of wild horse management and have been since 2001.

So we hope that you will support the wild horses too by purchasing one of our calendars. Just click on the link at the top or here.

Buy Now Button

Summer to Fall In Horse Country

As the hot months of summer draw to a close the wild horses are doing exceedingly well.  In the foothills the summer storms brought adequate moisture to keep the country green and healthy.  The grasses that the horses and other wildlife depend upon was plentiful due to the rains.

This year the foals that were born after the snows of winter melted are thriving.  We have also found that the herd sizes in some areas are smaller with maybe a stallion, a mare and a foal.

WHOAS is nearing the end of our 4th year of the Memorandum of Understanding, (MOU), we had with the Alberta government.  Our team of professionals ceased applying the contraception vaccine into selected mares last fall.  The reason for this is that the effectiveness of the vaccine on any given mare could not be fully and properly documented,  in time for the research to be concluded and the final report submitted.

During the four years of work we think it’s important for WHOAS to show what we have found certain difficulties with ground application of PZP, i.e., distance travelled to find mares, following darted mares, difficulty of terrain in the study area, weather considerations, to name a few.

We think the bottom line is that ‘IF’ it is proven scientifically that a population reduction needs to occur, then PZP alone will not be an effective and viable way to achieve this. We will then need to look at other management tools, alone or in combination, to achieve the desired outcomes.

Click on the link below and this paper parallels our practical experience with scientific modelling.

http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1071/WR17136

WHOAS will continue to support scientific research to assist in coming up with solutions to wild horse management.

WHOAS has several horses that will be ready for adoption. We invite you to come out for a visit to see them and learn more about our Alberta wild horses.  To arrange for a visit, please contact us via our email:

WHOASalberta@gmail.com

 

Mid-Summer Update

Well the heat of summer is certainly here.  Fortunately our central Alberta foothills have been getting enough rain to keep the forests green and the grasses and other plants flourishing.  There is an abundance of forage for the wild horses and other wildlife, making life for them right now good.

The nuisance bugs have not been too nasty yet, but already the horses have begun to tree-up during the mid-day to escape the heat of the sun and the flying pests. The horses have gained back good body condition and coats and all the foals are looking very healthy and strong.

This little beauty is almost identical to one her mare foaled out two years ago. It is a very adventurous and carefree little foal seemingly always getting into trouble.

Thanks to good grass and lots of mom’s nourishing milk, these two babies are full of energy and thriving. It is so thrilling and heart warming to watch the foals frolicking amongst their herds.

Our WHOAS facility has received lots of visitors the last while who are interested in the herd of horses we had to rescue. We have also had to take in another lone little stud that also got himself into trouble with some domestic horses. We have our hands full right now.

It is still very disappointing that the AEP outwardly refuses to collaborate with WHOAS in our work to provide solid management strategies for the Alberta wild horses. The herd of horses we had to rescue we believe were purposely pushed out of the forestry through an open gate and then forced onto the private land where they were rescued from potentially the meat buyers.

The inaction of the AEP shows that they have little willingness to do something about situations like this and just close a blind eye to it.  In one response to our concerns we received a statement defending their inaction by passing the buck to another government department. Their policy direction says “. . . once they get onto Private land we have no jurisdiction whatsoever. That falls completely under LIS and Agriculture and Forestry.” However, in all our past dealings, including the horses on private land, we have only dealt with just the AEP. This lack of cooperation for the benefit of all parties involved, especially the horses, makes it extremely difficult for WHOAS to work toward solutions for the wild horses. These solutions are for the benefit of all stakeholders involved. This is still so disappointing as we have worked so hard.

Thank you to those of you who have contacted the government about this sad situation but we have heard nothing back from the government despite all your emails and letters. Again, contempt for public opinion? We still encourage you to continue contacting the AEP, your MLA or the Premier to express your disappointment in their actions.

Because of this we know that we are going to have extreme difficulty in gentling and finding homes for the very mature horses from this herd. It was not their fault they ended up here. We are however working on the youngsters starting the gentling process so they can be handled safely and eventually finding forever, loving homes. Here are the pictures of the two yearlings and two, 2-year olds. Maybe you would like to come out and see them.

A. Yearling filly

B. Two-year old colt 

C. Two-year old filly

D. Yearling filly

Our adoption application is at the top of our web page. Send us an email if you would like to visit.

WHOASalberta@gmail.com

This is where they belong, roaming free and wild, the same as these three beauties.