A New Year

It is a new year and the weather has been very kind to our wild horses. In some locations the snow is deeper than in others but it is still soft and easy for the horses to paw through to get the grass underneath. Further west there are many open hillsides allowing the horses in these areas to more readily find enough forage. It is on one of this slopes that we found one of our well known grey mares and her very young foal.

This little on was born sometime in December. Mom and baby are in excellent condition and on this day were enjoying the beautiful warm sunshine with the rest of the herd.

On our travels this day it was fantastic to see how well all the wild horses we saw were doing so far this winter.

These two beautiful mares look so picturesque against the backdrop of the west country.

Wild horse country on a beautiful, sunny winter day.

Here one of last spring’s foals is still nursing which helps it keep growing and thriving throughout the rest of the winter. Nursing foals will be weaned later on in the year.

Strong and healthy.

Another gorgeous mare peacefully enjoys this warm January day. She was watching us as she stood guard for her herd.

Further along in our travels we were very happy to find an old friend, White Spirit. We had been unable to find him for quite some time and was nice to see that he has built back up his herd. He is strong and powerful, a very mature stallion. Even against the white snow, with the sunshine hitting him, he stood out so clearly from a distance away.

Son of Raven.

This is one of Raven’s offsprings. You really wonder how either one of them can see where they are going with such wonderful forelocks and manes? Just absolutely stunning!

You may be wondering how we got so close to this bunch. Someone had put a block of salt right next to the road. Although the horses appreciate getting salt this time of year when their natural salt licks are not so available, putting the salt beside a road is extremely dangerous for the horses and other wild life that comes by. Often you hear of a horse or even another wild animal being hit by a vehicle, especially during the night. If someone wants to do this, we urge you to please put it as far away as possible from any roadway to keep the wild animals and drivers safe.

We still have a very limited amount of fund raising calendars available. WHOAS still has horses in our care at our rescue/handling facility and the funds we raise goes towards helping take care of them until we find them their forever home. We are so pleased that Fanny and Eli have been adopted. Click on the link at the top of the page to order.

Lest We Forget

I take this day to remember all the horses and other animals that served Canada and other nations in all the wars we have gone through. November 11 is a day of remembrance for them and all the brave men and women who fought for a freedom and those still serving to protect us.

Millions of horses were casualties of the wars and in Alberta hundreds of wild horses were rounded up and sent over seas to join the fight for freedom. So the wild horses that still roam our Alberta foothills deserve respect for some of them may be descendants of those horses that served our country.

Here is a poem by Neil Andrew that really conveys my thoughts on remembering.

I spoke to you in whispers
As shells made the ground beneath us quake 
We both trembled in that crater
A toxic muddy bloody lake
I spoke to you and pulled your ears
To try and quell your fearful eye
As bullets whizzed through the raindrops
And we watched the men around us die
I spoke to you in stable tones
A quiet tranquil voice
At least I volunteered to fight
You didn’t get to make the choice
I spoke to you of old times
Perhaps you went before the plough
And pulled the haycart from the meadow
Far from where we’re dying now
I spoke to you of grooming 
Of when the ploughman made you shine
Not the shrapnel wounds and bleeding flanks
Mane filled with mud and wire and grime
I spoke to you of courage
As gas filled the Flanders air
Watched you struggle in the mud
Harness acting like a snare
I spoke to you of peaceful fields
Grazing beneath a setting sun
Time to rest your torn and tired body
Your working day is done
I spoke to you of promises
If from this maelstrom I survive
By pen and prose and poetry
I’ll keep your sacrifice alive
I spoke to you of legacy
For when this hellish time is through
All those who hauled or charged or carried
Will be regarded heroes too
I spoke to you in dulcet tones
Your eye told me you understood
As I squeezed my trigger to bring you peace
The the only way I could
And I spoke to you in whispers…… Neil Andrew

So Much Snow

Winter is not letting up in wild horse country. Temperatures are consistently cold and the snow is accumulating. This yearling has found some grass under the pine trees and the horses are starting to have to roam quite a bit in order to find sufficient feed.

This stallion sought shelter and feed under a mature spruce tree tired of digging through knee deep snow. Who can blame him!

For you who purchased the WHOAS calendar, this filly is the “hurdler”. Getting all grown up despite the long winter she is in very good condition and growing. This photo was taken on March 1, just before another 30 cms of snow blanketed the countryside.

The next day these are the conditions the horses had to face in order to find feed. Notice the two youngsters under the mature trees behind this pregnant mare.

As the day passed, the snow increased and continued to pile up. This beautiful herd, with snow covered backs, worked together in this opening to paw back the deep snow. One good thing is that the snow is still very soft and has not crusted over which would make survival much more difficult for all the wildlife.

Darn snow!

Spread throughout wild horse country are natural mineral licks. These licks are important to the health of the horses especially at this time of year in order that they get the nutrients to stay in good health. This beautiful mare has her head deep down getting to the yummy dirt!

Look at her muzzle – “I need a napkin!” Satisfied she then wandered off to join her herd feeding behind her.

BlueSky Radio interviewed Bob last week about WHOAS’ continuing work to protect and save the Alberta wild horses. Here is a link to the audio file:

Bob Henderson Wild Horses of Alberta Society.MP3

 

WHOAS Address Change

WHOAS has been required to obtain a new postal box for our mail.

Our address is now:

WHOAS
Box 4154
Olds, AB
T4H 1P7

 

Reminder – There is still time to register as a participant or to observe the Evan Bonner Clinic to be held August 5-8 at Sunset Guiding. For information contact Lori at Sunset – 1-888-637-8580.