It seems that winter just does not want to let go this year. Further to the west the Chinook winds have lessened the snow pack and throughout wild horse country the warm sun, when it shines, has started to bare up the sidehills. This is allowing the wild horses access to some of the grasses that were hard to find through the deep snow. As is the photo above with one of Raven’s mares, many of the wild horse mares are getting close to foaling.
In our travels yesterday, we found Raven’s herd again and two of the roan mares, including the lead mare, had foals at foot. It was amazing to watch these young new babies managing to stay close to mom through the deadfall in the area we found them feeding. At such a young age it is amazing the dexterity that they show.
As we watched them, with Raven standing guard, it was amusing to see the youngsters galavanting along with the herd.
So unafraid you can tell they are so adapted to the landscape into which they were born. To us again shows that these wild horses belong.
Most of the wild horses we have come across recently have definitely showing the signs of the hardship of this past winter. Very skinny with ribs and hips showing they are true survivors. Their versatility shows through in their ability to find the food that they need in order to sustain their bodies while they wait for the new grass to emerge.
Here you can see that even the stallions’ body reserves have been substantially depleted but they still in all their magnificence put themselves between danger and their herd to defend them.
The herds have moved quite a bit this winter in their continuing efforts to find enough feed. It has been sad though to see that many have perished as we have seen more dead horses than ever before. Again, though, this is survival of the fittest assuring that the genetics of the wild horse herds stays strong.
This young horse has been rolling some mud and also is using the log in front of her to scratch on. One of the reasons for this is that helps the horses lose their winter coats and at the same time conditions it. Another scourge that is afflicting some of the wild horses are ticks. These parasites cause considerable irritation and in a winter such as this can also quickly have a negative impact on the body health. Fortunately the ticks do drop off. The mud that the horses roll in assists greatly in ridding themselves of these irritants.
It was great to watch this small band of horses as they took turns along a creek bed to roll in some exposed sand. They seem to take such great joy in this activity, as the sand probably felt so good against their hides.
Returning to our vehicle we found this young boy prowling our vehicle. We had to laugh at the expression on his face when he was “caught” licking the salt from our car.
We sure hope that mild weather continues and that the green grass comes quickly and the mares in foal are successful in bringing new life to our wonderful Alberta wild horse herds. We will keep you posted on all the new life we find.