We are still grateful to the positive message that CBC documentary presented about our Alberta wild horses and WHOAS work to protect and save them. We have received the YouTube link to the program and if you click below you will be able to watch it at your leisure.
Although winter out west in the foothills is far from over, it has not been hard for the horses. We found White Spirit and his band roaming through the frozen muskeg meadows.
WHOAS continues with our work with both the adoption program and contraception project. We were very interested to receive the following video from the Animal Fertility Vaccine Information Centre out of the United States.
We find it encouraging that the BLM (government) in the United States has formed alliances with nearly 40 wild horse advocacy groups that support this science-based approach. They, too, strongly believe that contraception is a far better management solution for their wild horses as we believe it is up here. With so many different groups adopting the use of a contraception program, the evidence and research is building to show that it is working. That is why the BLM is expanding their efforts to work with these groups.
We hope along with this information, along with our own research and the results of our contraception program, that the AEP and Alberta government will approve expansion of the program in future years.
As we tour the west country checking on the welfare of the horses we see, the conditions this year keep changing from one extreme to the other. Two weeks of chinook and this boy was feeding on bare ground. Now to a week of more snow and minus 25C! Only in Alberta…
We were delighted, despite all the different winter conditions that the wild horses have endured, that this very young foal, obviously born in the fall, is doing well. With the lack of deep snow this year, the horses are able to wander far and wide to find forage. This has made them a little bit harder to find in order to observe and photograph them.
As you know WHOAS continues to take care of some wild horses at our handling facility. On Sunday, January 22, we had a team of volunteers show to help load and unload a supply of hay for the four boys we have at our site. Many hands made quick work of this task. We want to thank all those that helped out.
We have three of these four boys ready for adoption. We are including a video highlighting these boys and hope you might consider coming out to visit and adopt one of them.
We are grateful to the landowners that are having problems with these young stallions, that cause a problem for them, for calling WHOAS to help with their situation. Without this intervention, the outcome for these horses may have been far worse.
We would like to introduce you to our newest “trouble-maker”, a young boy we have named “Bernie”.
For all the wild horse supporters, we have just received confirmation that there will be no horse capture this winter. Work is still underway by Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) staff to formulate a long-term management strategy for our Alberta wild horses.
WHOAS has always been, and continues to be, opposed to any indiscriminate cull of our Alberta wild horses. We will keep on expressing this to Alberta government officials and hope that there will never be another cull of these beautiful creatures. They deserve to be free and wild.
Winter in wild horse country has been relatively easy on the horses so far this year. The cold snap has relented to the warm chinook winds making life a little easier for all the wildlife and horses. The snow pack is not too deep and so far has stayed soft allowing the horses to paw through it quite easy to find forage. Some of the backroads that we travel to visit the horses however are a little more difficult to travel and we are unable to get into all the areas we could in warmer months. This has also allowed the horses to range far and wide to find suitable feed. This makes locating the horses a little more challenging – out come the snowshoes and cross country skies!
One day travelling along we came across this white boy and his mare. He was featured in November 2016 of our current calendar. We had not been able to locate him all last summer and fall and it was so nice to finally see him and his family again looking so healthy. He has certainly grown.
We know this mare also very well and her herd has another white mare quite similar to her. She is definitely pregnant and again is doing so well this winter. She is a wise mare and leads her herd to the best winter feeding areas.
This young fellow, an offspring of the stallion we call “Socks”, is only three years old and on his own for the first time. He is wandering by himself and is doing quite fine in his lonely life right now. We know of some other young bachelors in the area and we hope to soon see him join up with these other boys. If you look closely though he has a branch tangled in his forelock – I’m so handsome! He will soon lose this as he continues to forage for food. You can also see in this picture that the snow pack is not that deep.
You might remember this young mare from our 2015 calendar with her adornment.
We first saw her on January 12, 2014, a young mare seemingly on her own. That year we saw her later that year accompanied by a young sorrel stallion.
The two were in a deep valley not too far away from where we had first seen her. Despite all our travels we did not see her again until just recently.
It was three years later to the day and we saw her again – January 12th, 2017! Her coat and face had lightened up considerably which often happens to grey coloured horses. It was exhilarating to us to meet up with her again. She was with a different stallion – what a beautiful pair. They stood so calmly in the sunshine and let us admire them for quite a long time. These are the moments that are always etched in your mind and heart.
We have updated our Gallery with scenes of wildies this winter. Click on this page at the top of the website to open these pictures. Enjoy!
On behalf of WHOAS we would like to thank everyone who purchased our 2017 fund raising calendar. The demand has been overwhelming and we are now sold out. Next years calendar will be available by mid-October.
The WHOAS Board of Directors would like to extend to our members and to all of the supporters of the Alberta wild horses, seasons greetings and all the best for the new year. Thank you for your support and your efforts to protect and save our beautiful wild horses.
The cold winter has certainly set in throughout wild horse country. The horses are equipped to deal with these extreme cold temperatures. They grow heavy winter coats with an extra layer of hair on their ears and legs. They also have a unique circulation system to keep their legs and other extremities functioning properly. The real problem for our wild horses would be deep snow that covers their food sources, such as in the winter of 2013-2014. In winter the horses need to range far and wide to find suitable forage. This year so far there has been minimal snow accumulation and the horses are in excellent condition right now.
WHOAS continues with our projects and we hope that the success of these will prevent the AEP from calling for a capture season this winter. So far we have heard nothing about any decision being made by Minister Shannon Phillips to go ahead with this. There has been no further discussion about the progress of a management plan being put into place from the government. WHOAS has made our suggestions for management extremely clear and we do not support any indiscriminate capture season going forward.
2016 has been a good year for the Alberta wild horses:
the winter of 2016 was warm with little snow enabling the horses to come through it in good condition
the spring was warm and dry allowing for the early foaling season to be very successful
the summer was wet resulting in excellent forage growth throughout the foothills providing lots of feed
the fall lasted until the first of December
Our fundraising calendar sales have gone extremely well and we thank all those that have purchased them. We are so pleased about the reception of the wild horse documentary that CBC NewsNetwork produced, about the wild horses and WHOAS’ work for them. Just a reminder that on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, another half hour presentation will run on the CBC NewsNetwork. We hope you enjoy viewing this with family and friends. It’s all for the horses.