January and the Wild Horses

We thought we would let everyone know how well little Chaska, the late born colt, is doing. When we saw him the other day as he was having fun tearing around with his siblings in the herd.

Here he is with two of his siblings being protected by their sire. The stallion always  keeps such a close eye on all members of his herd.

One of his beautiful mares and her foal.

Another beauty with her foal. Where do the genes that dictate colour come from? As you can see by these photographs, all the horses, including the youngest, are all in excellent condition for this time of year. This is encouraging since its almost the end of January already.

As we continued in our travels that day, we came across this group enjoying the afternoon winter sunshine on an exposed side hill.

The sunshine just totally highlighted the golden mane and tail of this beautiful mare who is part of the same group.

These young stallions put on a display for us. As is typical with young boys, they were challenging each other to see who was stronger. This is an important trait they must learn in order to eventually challenge a mature stallion to get some mares of their own. It is fun to watch. Again it is mostly bluff and posturing with no harm coming to either. Soon they wandered off feeding peacefully together.

Below them was another large herd, led by the stallion we call Thor. As you can tell by some of the mares in this group, the mare pictured above is one of their offsprings.

Can you see me? Further along our travels we came across some familiar boys including this wonderful grey boy feeding amongst the bushes. He paid absolutely no attention to us, as he was very focussed on getting his feed.

We admired the shiny coats of these two young studs, who were very interested in our dog, as we hiked along taking pictures of their herd. Here you can see there is absolutely no snow which allows for easy access for food and one of the reasons that they and their coats are in such excellent condition.

As the sun began to set for the day, we found Raven and his herd feeding close by. He displays such classic Spanish-type characteristics – fine ears and head, long mane and tail. He is truly a magnificent specimen of how beautiful our Alberta wild horses truly are and why they should be allowed to remain free and wild.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.