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.
The current Canadian Horse Journal’s Hoofbeat magazine has excellent articles on their service to us and our country. The most poignant one is a story by Jess Hallas-Kilcoyne called, The Real War Horses – Faithful Unto Death. In it she has several stories about the different roles these played in this war. It is in this article she tells of the over 4 million horses on both sides that perished due to this conflict. Some of these horses (hundreds) came from the areas where their descendants, our wild horses of today still roam.
So as these horses fought for our freedom WHOAS will continue our efforts to allow the descendants of these magnificent animals to remain free and wild. These are our Alberta Wild Horses.
We just wanted to let everyone know that our major fundraising event is the sale of out “Wild Horse” calendars and they are available now. You can order them on-line by clicking on the Purchase Calendar link at the top of the page. You can also send a cheque or money order to WHOAS, Box 70022, Olds, AB., T4H 0A3. They are also averrable at the Sundre Museum, Olds UFA Farm Store and we will have a booth at the Millarville Christmas Market, Nov 10-13, 2016.
All money raised goes toward WHOAS’s work to protect and save your Alberta wild horses. Be sure to watch CBC The National this Monday evening where Reg Sherren’s team presents a 10-minutes program on WHOAS’s work which highlights the contraception program and where most of our funds are spent.
Our fundraising efforts are becoming more important as the government’s wild horse management strategy is in the works and it does not sound good for the horses. More to follow.
WHOAS is happy to announce that our 2017 calendar will be available for shipping starting next week. To purchase one and support our work to protect and save our Alberta wild horses, click on the link at the top of the page for the “purchase a calendar”. If you wish you can also send a cheque or money order to Wild Horses of Alberta Society or WHOAS at:
The winner is Delaney from Blackfalds, AB. Thanks to Jack Nichol, our lead wrangler, and John McFadden, a friend of WHOAS, who drew the lucky ticket at our rescue and handling facility west of Sundre.
WHOAS would like to thank everyone who purchased tickets and those who helped sell them. All the monies raised goes to support WHOAS’ work to protect and save your Alberta wild horses. Thanks also goes to CBC and the Heartland cast and crew for choosing our society to participate in this fundraiser this year.
Summer has been a good one for the wild horses despite all the rain. The grasses are lush and green and the herds are looking very healthy. As you can see the foals are healthy and growing big and strong.
These three youngsters took turns seeing who could be the most annoying to the others.
One thing about late summer is that the horses do spend a lot of time seeking sanctuary from the annoying insects. At times you’ll find them out in the open getting the benefit of any wind to keep the bugs away. Most of all though the horses head into the tall timber.
With all the time we spend checking on the herds, it is gratifying to see how well all of them are doing. We have also spent time this summer taking visitors from as far away as Germany and Scotland out to observe the horses. This definitely shows that our Alberta wild horses have a universal tourist attraction. This fact is overlooked by our government when we as Albertans should be proud of this and promote it. We already have school group visits booked to experience our handling facility in the fall and how important the horses are to our Alberta heritage.
We would like to tell you about an event to be held at Sunset Guiding this September. Consider this for your Alberta “staycation!”
SUNSET GUIDING AND BACK-COUNTRY RETREAT
Photograph the back-country of Alberta’s Eastern Slopes, amazing fall colours & Wild Horses.
Spend a photographic weekend at Sunset Guiding on the shores of the Panther River with published photographer Larry Semchuk, author of “Running Free” the wild horses of Alberta’s east slopes.
– Friday Sept. 23rd: Wine reception, snacks and introduction to the weekend on the patio overlooking the Panther River. 7:00 PM
– Saturday Sept. 24th: Photograph wild horses and fall colours
– Sunday Sept. 25th: Early mountain sunrise “clouds permitting” followed by brunch and free time for the rest of the day
$295.00 + GST includes meals, lodging in our clean rustic cabins, café and day transportation. Entries limited to 20.
Sunset Guiding (1-888) 637-8580 or (403) 637-2361
We would also like to remind everyone that we still have raffle tickets available for the Heartland Prize draw to be held September 30th. For $10 you and 3 friends have an opportunity to visit the CBC Heartland site, meet the stars of the show, have lunch with them and get some autographs. Order online and if there is a mail strike be assured that your name will be entered into the draw even though we can’t mail you your tickets. We send a confirmation email to all entries. All funds goes to support our work with the wild horses.
Every year WHOAS is called upon to rescue young bachelor stallions that get themselves into trouble on private land next to the forestry. A lot of the time we are able to push the horses further back away from private land. Then in other cases, we have assisted the landowner with fence repairs or electric fencing to help them deal with the wayward boys.
These 3 boys, however, continued to break down fences and tried to steal domestic mares. Several attempts were made to stop this but to no avail. In such cases like this, in past years, the landowner would have somebody come in to remove the horses who were then likely sold to the meat buyers. WHOAS has stepped in and now offers to rescue these horses. We then take them to our handling facility where we work on gentling them so that they are safe to handle. We then try to find them suitable forever homes. We would rather see them free, but . . . auction or adoption?
We have attached a short Youtube video showing a typical day in the gentling process. All work with these horses is done by a team of very dedicated and experienced volunteers who have a love and passion for these beautiful horses. You can see the respect they have for these creatures in the way that they handle and talk to them. This definitely shows in the way these horses quickly respond.
If you feel you would like to take on the responsibility of adopting one of these boys, please send us an email to request our adoption application.
Summer is here and the rains have finally come to our Alberta Foothills which has certainly brought on the grass along with beautiful flowers and other plants. This has definitely been beneficial to our wild horses. Here one family group is at a mineral lick and another group patiently awaits it’s turn. Altogether there are 6 foals, 3 in each herd.
As we travelled along the back country trails we continued to run into numerous groups with most of them having at least one foal with them.
This little one is getting help from mom’s tail swishing to keep the hoards of black flies away.
This year in our travels we have started to find more and more Paint (spotted) horses. After so many years of finding very few of them, it is interesting to see how the colour gene has resurfaced. Back in the 60s and 70s there used to be a large number of Paints roaming with the herds. During this period, despite some claims that the wild horses are just recently growing in numbers, records show that there were estimated to be around 2,000 – 3,000 horses roaming free in the central Alberta foothills.
On one particular day we were so thrilled to find a herd with a beautiful Paint stallion along with two Paint mares. What was so exciting was the fact that two of the mares also had Paint foals with them.
In this picture you can see this year’s Paint foal standing next to its yearling brother who is almost solid black, despite having the same sire.
While photographing the herd, there were three other groups in the immediate area including one 3-year old sorrel stud with flaxen mane who was trying assert some sort of dominance.
When the young boy got too close to the Paint mares, a discussion ensued!
The golden boy quickly got the hint and moved on to test another stallion who was close by.
When this challenge also failed, he wandered off leaving the other herds to peacefully feed.
It is certainly nice to see so many foals thriving so far this summer. Hopefully the survival rate for the foals will be higher than it has been in past years. Through all this beautiful and wonderful new life we get to observe, occasionally we come across a tragedy. Such was the case this past Sunday when we found an approximately 3-year old stud who had impaled himself on an Alberta survey marker. How it happened we do not know, nor do we want to negatively speculate. The metal marker was bent and he must have run into it, piercing into his chest and heart area. He extricated himself but died nearby. Apparently these markers, called monuments, are not used anymore and are left throughout public lands. This just shows that the life of our wild horses is not an easy one.
But to leave you on a positive note, here is another baby picture of a yearling colt and his new brother.
Remember to order your raffle tickets for a chance to win the Heartland prize. They are $10 and can be ordered online. Just click on the Heartland Prize Fundraiser page at the top of our webpage. Good luck and thanks for supporting WHOAS.