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.

 

 

 

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Two New Rescues

WHOAS once again has been called upon to rescue two young studs who strayed onto a rancher’s property and were trying to bother his horses.  We truly would love to see these beautiful horses remain running free and wild, but once they are on private land they fall under the Stray Animal Act.  In the past these two boys, along with a lot of the other studs we have rescued, would have met with a much different outcome. We have tried to obtain approval to reintroduce these rescues back onto public land, but in all cases have met with a refusal from the AEP. Therefore, we will continue to step in to rescue, gentle and then find them new loving homes.

Feel free to contact WHOAS to come and visit these boys and our other two adoptables. If you are contemplating adopting one of these wonderful horses, email us to arrange a time to see them.

WHOASalberta@gmail.com

Looking for a New Home

WHOAS has two young boys that were rescued earlier this fall. These young wild horses had wandered onto private property after a domestic mare. As in the past, WHOAS was able to step in and safely remove these boys. Since we are not allowed to release wild horses back into the wild, they were brought to our handling facility to begin a new life.

This is “Chico” who is 3 years old. He is close to 14hh and is very solidly built, typically of many of our wild horses. He has just been gelded, vaccinated, wormed and had his wolf teeth removed. Also at this time he was branded with WHOAS freeze brand. The gentling process is moving along. He is led into our barn for feed and grooming twice a day. He is still needs more work to convince him that humans can be his friends. He is very smart and once into someone’s formal training program will move along quickly.

This is two-year old “Cascade”. He came in with his buddy, Chico. As with Chico, he has been gelded, vaccinated, wormed, had his wolf teeth removed and freeze branded. Both these boys have responded quickly to our gentling process and show a good willingness to learn. Again he still needs some more time with us before he will be ready to move on.

These wild horses require a person that understands them, is willing to learn with them because once they bond with a new owner, their allegiance is unwavering. If you feel that you have what it takes to own one of these beautiful horses, we encourage you to contact us to arrange a visit.

A reminder that we still have our WHOAS calendars which make a great Christmas gift to your horse loving family and friends. The sale of the calendars help us continue with the work we are doing for the wild horses like these two boys.

Here’s our email if you would like to come out for a visit:

WHOASalberta@gmail.com

 

First Blast of Winter

Cold and snow have enveloped Alberta and in wild horse country the horses are quickly adapting to the change.  The temperature was -9C and snowing lightly today as we travelled some of the back trails checking on them.  Snow on the ground allows you to see the tracks of all the wildlife that are moving around in the area,  from the deer and horses to wolves and other small animals.

It was a delight to come around a bend and find one of favourite stallions “Socks” overseeing his herd from an open hillside.  The snow is only about 10 cm deep and very soft, allowing the horses to easily push it aside to get to their feed.

This young colt is one of his offspring and was  busy watching five young studs who were very busy foraging through the snow close by.  What name should we give this little charmer?

It is early in the season right now, but all the horses including this year’s foals are all looking in excellent condition.  This is so important as it enables the horses to better survive the hardships that the winter season can bring.

A little further along we came across this handsome young pinto stallion feeding close to three other herds.

He has just a small harem of two mares and as you can tell this beauty is pregnant with his foal.

He made sure to keep the girls away from any of the other horses feeding in the same area.

 

These mares were were part of a herd of eleven that were also close by. The two roans we had shown earlier in the summer with much lighter coloured coats. Roans can darker up substantially as their winter coats thicken.

As we continued along we found this three-year old boy munching with some other bachelors. We have followed him since he was born and he has turned into quite a handsome stallion.

A break in the clouds allowed the sun to shine on this stallion who has two mares and two foals this year. The sun truly highlighted the beauty of this Alberta wild horse.

As Christmas approaches, remember to purchase the 2018 calendar. The calendar has been produced since 2004 as means of fundraising for WHOAS’ work to protect and save your Alberta wild horses. We appreciate your support and hope you enjoy the photographs and stories.  See the link at the top of the page.

The Start Of A New Herd

 

Throughout the year we follow the wild horses, checking on them and tracking their movements.  It is heartbreaking sometimes when we know a horse has passed, but most of the time it is very heartwarming in a lot of what we are allowed to witness with them.  We would like to share a little story about some of the beautiful horses that we follow.

We have been observing the young bay coloured boy, “Zephyr”,  pictured above, since he was forced to leave the herd he was born into.  He has roamed through the hills, sometimes by himself and then at times he has joined up with other boys like “Goldie” he is pictured with here. He turned four this year which is the age that young studs are trying to start their own herds.

On of the most dominant stallions in this particular area is the one we call “Socks.” We have featured him many times in our calendars and in these story lines. He is a magnificent specimen and true patriarch in this area.  Socks has sired many offspring over the years many who take on his colouring.

This is “Socks Junior” who has grown, inhabits the same territory and has established quite a herd of his own. You can definitely see the similarities in the bloodlines.

In the spring of 2015 one of Sock’s mares was scooped up by a large bay stallion. At that time she was pregnant with the Sock’s foal. Here’s the mare with her filly born in 2016. We have named her “Willow”. You can certainly tell who the sire was. As the year rolled along she continued to grow and thrive with her herd. Her mother is a very protective mare and leads the herd.

By the summer of 2017 she had certainly grown but was still with her herd. However, things were about to change as her mare had been bred by the new stallion and had foaled out a colt. This foaling two years in a row is not a common occurrence with the wild horses but because the new stallion wanted his own bloodlines, she had been bred.

Here is Mom with the new baby and our girl beside her. As summer came to a close her mare would have nothing more to do with her and because she was sired by another stallion, the herd boss allowed her to be chased out. Such is the dynamics of the wild horses. However being on her own was not to last long.

“Zephyr” had never been too far away and it was thrilling to find him just the other day joined up with his new girlfriend. Oohh la la! Yeah! He was standing so proud with “Willow” feeding close by. He was not going to let anyone or any other horse near her! Right now she is too young to breed and they will just be together until she begins to cycle in a year or so. It will be interesting to follow these two.

“Willow” looks to be content with her new circumstances and a strong stallion to protect her. These are the heartwarming moments of being a part of the dynamics of the lives of our Alberta wild horses.

Our Adoptables

This is Cascade.

And this is Chico.

These are the two boys that we rescued a few weeks back. Their gentling process is in full swing and they are responding very well. They are taken into their stalls in the barn for feed and grooming in order to get used to the human touch. Soon they will be gelded and with a bit more time will be ready to be adopted to go to their forever homes.

If you are interested in either of these boys, we encourage you to come out to visit them and find out how our volunteers have been working with them. You can contact us to arrange a visit via our email:  WHOASalberta@gmail.com

A small way that you can help these horses is by the purchase of our annual fundraising calendar. All the money raised by the sale goes directly to our programs – adoption/rescue and contraception. These are the programs that will assure that the wild horses of Alberta remain forever on the landscape for generations to come. Your support is important.

They also make excellent gifts for Christmas, for example. You can find them for sale at the Millarville Xmas Fair, November 9-12, at the Sundre Museum, at the Olds UFA or order them via PayPal through our link at the top of our page. You can also send a cheque or money order to WHOAS, Box 4154, Olds, AB T4H 1P7.

Autumn Splendour

 

Autumn so far this year has been one of many different weather patterns.  From  the brilliant colors of the tree leaves and very warm temperatures, to rainy days and then to snow event days.  Only in Alberta!  The wild horses though are doing well and starting to change their routines as the next season gets closer.

We have been able to get in few rides on our horses to enjoy the company of the wild horse herds and the beauty of the country they call home.  We were saddling up the one day when this young boy came along to investigate our horses.  Likely due to the very dry conditions this summer, we have not been finding the horses up on the ridges. Just below where this boy appeared there is a spring and where we found lots of horse tracks. Keeping closer to water sources is where they have been hanging out.

We met this herd down in a creek valley but upon seeing us they raced up the ridge. Two foals were with this band including this little black beauty. She was so curious and unafraid. As you can also see the lead mare is looking very healthy and pregnant.

A little further along we came across another herd feeding in a clearcut again close to a small stream. You cannot believe the deadfall that is hidden underneath the tall grass. Yet it is amazing that these wild horses seem to navigate and traverse such difficult terrain with ease to find such luscious grass.

Coming up out of the creek bottom you can see that the grass is up to their bellies. Such a beautiful setting to find them. We’re hoping for more nice fall weather to enjoy our horse back rides with these wonderful wildies.

We continue to welcome school groups, interested social groups, and others as well as visit 4-H clubs giving a presentation on the history of the Alberta wild horses and the work that WHOAS does to protect and save them. We look forward to further visits.