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I have provided an update on our wild horse rescues below, but I am also excited to provide a link to a Youtube video that was produced for us by a group of people who love the wild horses as much as we do and also WHOAS’s  work to help them.

WHOAS Youtube Video

 

Our Romeo

Our Romeo

This past Saturday, WHOAS, was again fortunate enough to have a team of veterinarians out to our site to finish the gelding process for the rest of our young boys.  Everything went extremely smooth and the last five boys that were to be gelded came through their operation in great shape.  The only youngster not gelded yet is little Romeo who we want to get in better shape and put on more weight before he is done.  We believe this little boy lost his mom last winter and yet survived through the rest of the year, ending up captured this February.  He showed signs of not having gained enough proper nutrition in order to fill out his body when we rescued him.  He is responding so very well now, putting on weight and is so cute as he follows you around the pen as it is cleaned just to see what these humans are up to.   We know that our little ugly duckling will turn out to be a beautiful horse.

Awaiting his turn

Awaiting his turn

Each young boy is led into our chute first where he can be safely sedated by the vets.

The operation

The operation

Once sedated the patient is led down to the pen where he will be operated on and then allowed to recover.  The whole time they are kept under observation by a WHOAS volunteer and regularly checked by the veterinarian.

Back on his feet.

Back on his feet.

Here is young Aries who has gained his feet, but still is a a little wobbly.  Each of the boys who is gelded also have their wolf teeth removed are given their 4 way vaccine and dewormed.  The gentling process that all of our horses go through plays an important role in allowing all of this to happen without incident.  Before the horse gets to this point though, no matter their age, they can be led throughout the pens and into their stalls in the barn.  This also keeps them calm and secure as everything is happening to them.  Our volunteers have done a wonderful job in assuring that the horses are taken care of.

Patches being led back to his pen after watering

Patches being led back to his pen after watering

Here is a young student, visiting from England, who joined in to help out with the daily chores, including leading the horses to water and then back to their pens for breakfast.

LOaded and ready to go home

Loaded and ready to go home

With our gentling process and getting all of the horses in our care taught to being led and put into stalls at night, has greatly helped when it comes time to load them into a trailer to travel to their new home.  From the smallest to the biggest all have loaded extremely well and with absolutely minimal fuss.  As of today we are still awaiting the arrival of their new owners and 4 that are still up for adoption.

Louie going for water

Louie going for water

Here the beautiful 5 year old Louie is led to water.  He is our most talkative boy and is always whineying out to the other horses or the resident herd when they come to visit our site.

Back to his pen for breakfast

Back to his pen for breakfast

Of the four horses we have left up for adoption we have a 3 year old, “Curly” whom we thought had a new home, but his perspective new owner has not gotten back to us at all and so we will put him back on our list of horses for adoption.  He is a beautiful young boy, very attentive and intelligent in how he perceives everything going on around him.

Gorgeous "Curly"

Gorgeous “Curly”

Then we have the 2 year old “Sheva” who is quite spirited and is responding well as we get to spend more time with her.

Wonderful "Sheva"

Wonderful “Sheva”

The we have “Penny” a yearling filly who has yet to have someone pick her as an adoption.  She is a fantastic young girl, curious and again gorgeous.

Our "Penny"

Our “Penny”

Of course there is also “Romeo” who is pictured above.

Queenie

Queenie

Princess

Princess

Along with these wildies we still have our two pregnant mares who are getting close to term for their foaling.  We now have them in separate pens in order to give them sufficient room to become a mom.  “Queenie” the 5 year old mare is still very shy of us, but that is okay as we do not want to cause her any stress.  “Princess” the younger mare is doing well, but is becoming very uncomfortable as her foal moves into position within her.

 The wild herd mares, Star and Bell

The wild herd mares, Star and Bell

Mystery

Mystery

Blondy

Blonde

Portero

Portero

Then we have our resident herd, where three of the wildies are pregnant and should also be foaling soon.  They will be doing it out in the woods, but we will keep track of everyone to assure that all is okay.  The one mare who is not pregnant, “Mystery”, is amazing to watch.  When one of the other mares shows signs of discomfort or such, she will go over to them, whinny softly and then nudge their tummy.  Aren’t these wild horses wonderful!!!!!

Bob

 

 

Discussing strategies

Discussing strategies

Last Monday, March 30 WHOAS was fortunate enough to have a team of Veterinarians and vet students attend at our handling facility to begin the gelding process for all our young boys.  WHOAS volunteers were also out in force to assist where necessary and of course do the regular maintenance and feeding of the horses.  Pictured above the vet teams prepare to work on the first young colt, “Teddy”.

In the chute

In the chute

Each of the colts and studs were first placed in our handling chute.  This kept everyone safe and the horse a lot calmer.  Once in the chute a sedative was administered to the animal.

The operation

The operation

Once sedated the horse would be walked down to one of the pens we had set up as operation areas.  Here the knock out drug was administered by the team as one of the WHOAS volunteers kept control of the young horse until he laid down.  At this point the team went to work, first checking their vital signs and assuring the animal was completely under.  Teeth were examined and wolf teeth extracted.  Blood tests were done on each horse also to assure that they were okay and oxygenating properly while under sedation.

The operation

The gelding process

Once all this was done one of the vets or a student under direct supervision gelded each individual horse.  The actual operations went quite well and quickly.  It was the recovery time for each of the horses that kept things moving slowly, but safely for the young horse.  Each young one was given adequate time to come out of the sedation and recover to his feet.

A little wobbly

A little wobbly

Once on their feet and somewhat steady, each of the young boys was led by volunteers to a recovery pen. Here again they were kept under observation for about an hour before allowing them to eat.

The never-ending job

The never-ending job

As any horse owner knows cleaning pens and poop patrol is ongoing. We are so grateful for the volunteers that show up and help out with chores to take care of these wonderful creatures. Once that job is done, everyone takes part in the continuing gentling.

Still sleepy

Still sleepy

Here is beautiful Louie, quite complacent to sleep it off in the sunshine. We wish to thank everyone who showed up on Monday – the vets, students, volunteers and even the visitors who watched and photographed the proceedings of the day. We hope to have all the colts that were gelded on their way to their new homes by the second weekend of April. We still have 5 boys that need to be gelded and we hope to have that done as soon as we can in order that they too can go to their forever homes.

Bob

 

Porter our resident stallion

Portero our resident stallion

Now that the publicity over the last captured season is subsiding things have become rather quiet. The number of individuals requesting information on adopting one of the wild horses we rescued has also slowed substantially.  Of the 28 horses that WHOAS rescued, 3 of the young fillies have moved on to new homes already.  Another 13 of the young horses have been adopted and will be going to their new owners in a few weeks.  Those individuals who have adopted their choice of the beautiful horses, filled out the application form and returned it to us right away to assure the horse they wanted would be theirs.  We sent out a large number of application forms, but only the 15 have been processed.  So far all the youngsters that have been adopted are assured of going to wonderful forever homes.

What a  beauty!

What a beauty!

Louie, pictured above, is still unadopted and is waiting to be gelded.  He is our most mature horse that we rescued, being around 4-5 years of age.  He is very vocal and is always talking to the other horses in our pens and especially to the resident wild horse herd that comes to visit every once in a while.  He will need a very experienced horse person to take him further than our gentling process does.  He is a gorgeous and very intelligent wildie.

Somebody is calling

Somebody is calling

Here is Bailly one of our adopted young fillies acting out.  Portero had come close in and let out a loud whinny and as soon as Bailly saw him she started to get all excited jumping up and running around her pen.  It was humorous to watch her antics as she tried to gain the stallion’s attention.

Come on sweety

Come on sweety

Working with Cindy

Working with Cindy

Here, Greg is working with Cindy, still unadopted, teaching her to pick up her feet.  She is a very quiet mare who definitely does not mind the attention she gets.  Our volunteers that come to assist have been of great help to us as we continue to care for all these wonderful horses.  It is not all glamour because it includes cleaning the pens and stalls of all the droppings before we get to work with the horses.

Getting use to the touch

Getting use to the touch

One of our newest volunteers teaches Dexter, also unadopted, how good it can feel to be brushed, touched and also loved.

Working with the youngsters

Working with the youngsters

Our youngest horse, Bruce, unadopted, is also being taught how nice it can to be rubbed and scratched all over.  Bruce is going to need a special home as right now both his hind legs have extended pasterns.  We hope that with proper nutrition he may strengthen and they will straighten up.

Cute little Bruce

Cute little Bruce

The little filly Diamond

The little filly Diamond

Our five youngest ones share a pen and it is heartening to watch they antics and different personalities play out – horse therapy!

Adorable Dexter

Adorable Dexter

Dexter is one of our yearling colts and he is still looking for a forever home. He is easy to work with and readily accepts his human companions.

We continue to have visitors who want to spend some time with the wildies and of course we welcome the volunteers who want to have hands-on experience working with these beautiful horses.

WHOAS wishes to thank Innislake Dairies for a generous donation of hay. We have also had other individuals come forward to help us with assuring that there is enough feed – thank you to all of you that have donated.

Bob

 

 

 

 

Full tummies and warm sunshine

Full tummies and warm sunshine

Here three of our most recent rescues stretch out to rest in the warm sunshine.  All of our rescues are adapting well to their temporary home as the gentling process continues.  This pen will be the last ones to be haltered and then gentled.  As in the last blog we have one of the mares in this pen, who is getting close to term with the foal she is carrying.

Momma

Wild Ghost Bay

She will be with us until her foal is old enough to be transported safely without stress and they will go as a family when it is time.  Upon examining the horses more closely we find that she is not the only mare that is in her pen that is carrying a foal.  It was a surprise to find the young 3 year old mare (A20) is showing signs now.

Me too!!!!!!

Me too!!!!!!

This beautiful sweet mare is very friendly and curious of us whenever we work around them cleaning the pen or doing the feeding.  She definitely is not as far along as Wild Ghost Bay, but her baby tummy is starting to show.  So she will be with us for a while also.  Then she and foal will be adopted as a family unit.

Ready to go to a new home

Ready to go to a new home

Here two of the young fillies, “Missy” and “Lilly”, are prepared to be loaded and go to their new home where they will grow up together.  I am sure that they will be given new names when they get to their forever home.

The loading

The loading

It was a pleasant surprise as Missy hesitated just a few seconds before she jumped in the trailer and then Lilly just jumped in without hesitation.  I received an email indicating they had arrived home safe and sound and were enjoying their new surroundings.

Apollo

Apollo

One of young horses that was adopted this weekend is Apollo.

Percy

Percy

It has been fun as Greg and Jack have come up these names to help identify them when they are working with them.  This little one was given the name Percy and is now adopted.

Curly

Curly

This beautiful young stud has also been spoken for.  Curly as he was named is doing well, but like some of the older wildies maintains his dignity and is a little aloof from our human touch.  When you go into his pen to clean though he follows you around making sure you are doing it right.

Patches

Patches

Perhaps our biggest adoptee, Patches, is a beautiful young boy who is still looking for a new home. He is unique in his appearance and when he looks at you he has such a beautiful soft and curious eyes.  As more and more people come to visit to learn about our facility and what we are doing for the wild horses, they also fall in love with them and become a voice for them.  We also continue to receive applications for adoptions and make arrangements to visit to pick out a wild horse that will be theirs in a new forever home.

Beautiful soft eyes

Beautiful soft eyes

Our gentling of the wild horses is moving along well and we now have halters on all but 6 of the horses we are working with to allow them to go to good homes.  Some are easier than others, but with the gaining of their trust they all come around and accept us and what we are trying to do for them.  Of course the two mares in foal will have to wait quite a while before they are haltered to lessen any stress on them.

We wanted to include this picture of a young boy that was rescued by WHOAS and a member last year. He was taken to his new home in southern Alberta where he was gentled and has now begun his training for becoming a saddle horse. This shows that these beautiful horses with caring love and patience can become a suitable partner for whoever does adopt one.

Freedom

Freedom

We continue to welcome interested applicants to submit a request to adopt and we will email the application forms. The most important thing we want for all these horses is that they go to good forever homes.

Bob

 

 

 

 

Resting in the sunshine

Resting in the sunshine

The gentling of the rescued wild horses has begun in ernest. So far we have halters on over half of our recent charges and their handling by our volunteers is coming along great. It is amazing to us how intelligent and wonderful these horses truly are. Most of us feel that their curiosity about us overcomes their fears and thus makes this process so enjoyable.

Totally at ease

Totally at ease

With lots of feed and fresh water, these beautiful horses have settled into quite a routine, they are  always on the watch for the fresh load of hay to be delivered to their feeders several times a day. They are unafraid and walk right up to the feed cart and start eating before we can get it into their feeders. This always brings smiles to our faces and joy to our hearts.

In training

In training

An important part of the gentling program is at first getting the halter on them and then getting them use to the lead ropes. This is what is necessary in order to teach them to lead in order that they will be safe to handle for their new owners. Here a group of them are tied to learn not to pull back. Obviously they have this lesson down pat as they rest and take in the warmth of the sun.

Pregnant

Pregnant

In the process of rescuing the horses that we were given the opportunity to rescue from the auction mart, we concentrated on the younger horses that we knew we could gentle and find good homes. We did not wish to take in older horses, however, we made an exception because we were asked to take this 5-6 years old mare who is very pregnant and close to foaling. It was felt that if she was pushed through the auction it would be too hard on her and so we brought her home with us.

Beautiful and curious

Beautiful and curious

She is a beautiful mare and definitely the boss of the youngsters in her pen. She has been examined by our vet and although she may have a future home, it has been recommended that she remain with us until she foals, which may be soon. She has a ravenous appetite and is obviously eating for two. We will be putting her in a pen where she can still be handled and yet safe. When the time comes this will allow her a secure place in order to deliver her foal. Then she will remain with us until the foal is old enough to travel without too much stress.

We will always continue to work for the long-term benefit of our Alberta wild horses and will do what is necessary to meet our goals.

Also to this end, we have numerous requests for adoption of these beautiful young horses. So far we have found homes for eight. The fillies will be going as soon as they can be handled safely; the colts when they are gelded and can be handled safely. We still encourage people to send in their applications and to arrange a time to visit and maybe select their wildie.

Bob

 

 

Adorable

Adorable

 

We have posted pictures of all our recent wild horse rescues.  Just click on the pages link at the top right hand corner to view the beautiful young horses who will be adopted out to wonderful forever homes.

 

Inquisitive

Inquisitive

It has been a hectic 2 weeks as WHOAS and our volunteers have been working very hard to ensure the comfort of all our new arrivals. Despite this, inspiration to carry on can come from some remarkable little individuals. Such is the case with a young little lady, Emily, who is 7 years old. She and her family visited our facility today to donate a picture she had painted of a wild horse.

A wild horse painting

A wild horse painting

After hearing about what we were doing for the wild horses, Emily was determined to do what she could to help. Her idea was to paint a picture and donate to WHOAS so that could raise funds to help us in our work. Above is the framed picture.

First touch of a wild horse

First touch of a wild horse

For as long as her Mom and Dad can remember, Emily has loved horses. We took this opportunity to show her and her family all the horses that we have in our care. Here she was able to meet “Missy,” one of our first little fillies we took in. Her enthusiasm and excitement was evident to everyone and the love of the horses was in her eyes.

Feeding the little ones

Feeding the little ones

So determined was she to help, she, her sister and little brother also pooled their pennies together to take out a family membership with WHOAS. Then having just a little bit left, donated that too.

She and her family’s actions give such a positive and uplifting feeling to all of us who have been working so hard for the horses. We thank them sincerely.

Bob

 

 

More newbies

More newbies

Although WHOAS was still in disagreement with a capture season going ahead this winter, as previously stated we were given the opportunity by ESRD to have first choice to rescue some of the wild horses that were captured. As per our Society’s mission statement, we are committed to doing everything possible to protect, rescue and save our wild horses. Therefore, we as a dedicated group of volunteers we have stepped forward to rescue a large number of the horses caught this year. This is not exactly what our facility is designed for as we thought we would be taking in horses that got themselves into trouble or abandoned by their herds as we have done over the years.

Meeting the neighbours

Meeting the neighbours

Settling in

Settling in

On Thursday evening we were informed that another 11 horses had been caught and transported to the Innisfail auction mart. Even though we were close to capacity, there was no way that we could not respond and do what we could for as many as we could. Attending at the auction, it was decided by our team that we would take seven. WHOAS right at this point would like to thank the Innisfail auction mart for their assistance they have given us in order to sort and load the horses in a manner that caused the least stress to them.

Now located at our facility of the 44 horses caught so far, we have taken in 26 of them. The work is monumental, but our team of volunteers are up to the task and do it with love in their hearts.

We would like to thank all those who continue to believe in all that we are doing and for the generous donations we have received.

Bob

 

 

 

Introductions

Introductions

On Tuesday, February 24th, we attended at the auction mart to select and rescue as many of the 12 horses that were brought in over the weekend. This is still such a difficult process for our members. We were able to bring home 6 new young ones–3 fillies and 3 colts. Right here we want to thank the staff at the auction mart for how they’ve handled the horses and how they have assisted us in our efforts. Also they have committed to not allowing any of these horses we have had to leave behind go to meat buyers. WHOAS has also been in conversation with individuals and a couple of horse ranchers to attend the auction and purchase for themselves some of these older horses. This is great.

Hay time

Hay time

Calm and curious

Calm and curious

These are our new charges who have settled in nicely and quickly in our facility. Once unloaded it did not take long for them to start making introductions to some of the other horses we had rescued through the fence panels. Again they will be allowed a few days to figure out the system – lots of hay and fresh water and activity.

Gentling

Gentling

Here one of our brand new volunteers, under the tutelage of Jack, begins introducing herself to one of the new boys. It is uplifting that so many individuals have stepped forward to volunteer to help gentle, clean pens, bring water, and scoop the “poop!”

Introducing the halter

Introducing the halter

The first stage of the gentling process is the pen work, getting the horses used to you and being touched, as our volunteer was doing. The next step is getting them haltered. Here one of the young fillies is in our chute which allows us to gradually place the halter. This young filly has spent some time in here so she doesn’t get excited.

Getting use to the touch

Getting use to the touch

Another phase when they are in the chute is to get them further used to being touched and here a very soft brush is used to stroke and soothe the new trainee.

 

Getting used to the rope

Getting used to the rope

After having the halter on her, she is led out of the chute with a lead rope on her. With our method they quickly learn not to pull back and to step forward. This first touch is so important to begin to gain their trust. So far we have haltered 5 youngsters and getting them used to being led and handled. We make sure that all our volunteers are very calm and relaxed around the horses and this helps the horses to be calm while being gentled.

Next step - in the stall

Next step – in the stall

After the new charges get used to their leads and being tied, they are brought into the stalls where they learn there is abundant hay all to themselves. This process is also very important as it allows us to go on either side of them to brush and get used to the close contact.

Feeding time

Feeding time

As anyone that has horses knows, that once they have finished their dinner it quickly passes through and leads to our next biggest activity.

Poop patrol

Poop patrol

So this is assuring that the pens are kept as clean as possible and is an ongoing daily job. This also helps the horses get used to human activity which will help them get accustomed to their new homes with new prospective owners. Stay tuned for more updates in case we have more arrivals.

Bob

 

 

Welcome to your new home

Welcome to your new home

On Wednesday evening we received a phone call from the ESRD, indicating that another 13 wild horses had been caught and were being transported to Innisfail.  Seeing that we had already taken in 5 horses on Tuesday, we knew that it would not be too long before we had to rescue more. We were working on a hectic schedule which included having to purchase another $9,000 worth of panels and another shelter in order to be ready. As I have stated before, this is because we were caught unaware of the capture of the wild horses that is happening now. We had not expected to expand until the summer. Gratefully we have a strong core of volunteers who sprung into action. Wednesday, prior to the phone call, was spent running into Calgary to pick up the panels, then to Caroline to pick up the shelter. While this was being done, others worked on getting the site ready where new pens were to be set up to facilitate the safe environment for the newcomers.

Unloading new panels

Unloading new panels

Then on Thursday, after the call went out for help, we had a good group of volunteers show up to help start setting up these panels as we knew we had to rescue more horses later that day. With everyone’s help, and especially the use of a bobcat that was brought by one of the volunteers, the job went very quickly. After that another crew responded to Innisfail to select the young horses that had been caught and that we were confident we could handle and find adoptive homes for. This is always extremely hard for our members as we wish we had the resources and people to be able to consider taking them all. Unfortunately this is not the case at this time, maybe in the future as we continue to grow.

Of the 13 new horses, we selected 8 that fit into our program – four colts and 4 fillies. That left 3 stallions from Tuesday and another 5 stallions today, all older than 3 years of age that we had to leave behind. These horses will be up for auction on February 28. However, we are working with a couple of horse ranchers who may be able to step in and take these boys. We have our fingers crossed.

New home

The arrival

Again from the loading to the unload, our new wards surprised us with the ease they loaded and the calmness when they unloaded. The 5 other boys greeted them with excited whinnies. Of course they were a little bit excited with what has happened to them the last few days. It did not take long, however, for them to start to settle down. It was great to see that the youngest of them all was the first one to find the scrumptious green hay.

Hello from the new arrivals

Hello from the new arrivals

There is a lot of colour in this last group as you can see. To us though they are all equally beautiful. As with the other five, they will be left alone to settle down and become accustomed to their new surroundings. We have had donations of hay, which we are extremely grateful for as it will provide great nutrition for all the horses while they are under our care.

Two new beautiful young fillies

Two new beautiful young fillies

We are receiving a large number of emails requesting information on adoption and we are trying our best at this hectic time to respond to them all. In light of this, we will be emailing all those that expressed interest an application form that will be required to be filled out. This is in order to ensure that anyone who adopts these young horses has the proper setup and knowledge to be able to deal with a wild horse. The adoption fee we charge goes right back into our work to protect and save our Alberta wild horses. These horses will remain with us until we can be assured that they are safe to handle and also that any colts have been gelded. We do cover that cost.

The season still has nine days to go and there is no doubt that WHOAS will be called upon to rescue more. We will answer that call.

Bob