Wild horses in Alberta you say? I’m sure some of you didn’t realize they still existed. They are in a constant struggle to survive, and their numbers are becoming weaker by the day. Their are no laws in Canada protecting this important part of our Western Canadian heritage.
In the United States, their is Federal law for the protection of wild horses. Even our often disagreed with neighbour to the south is doing something to protect a sacred part of their western heritage.
In 1971, the Free-Roaming Wild Horse, and Burro Act was created. The bylaw has a strong backbone as anyone caught breaking the law will have severe penalties placed upon there actions.
There are a multitude of groups who help the Americans protect their wild horses. They realize these Wild horses are a viable resource, and an integral part of there American heritage. Horses broke the land, hauled produce, and helped harvest our forests, and crops.
Cattle ranchers would have been nearly helpless without the horse, not to mention these beauties were the only form of transportation in those times. I’m sure horses saved many lives.
My grandmother had pneumonia as a child, but a Doctor was able to take a horse in the middle of a cold Manitoba blizzard to provide the medicinal treatments that saved her life. These pristine beauties deserve our thanks, not a bullet.
These horses delivered coal, and water to farm yards. Walk in any museum, and you will see that nearly every picture symbolizing early western life, shows a horse.
Wild horses present a great value to future generations, and should be recognized for their service to Canada. Do we not give great honour to veterans who provided freedom for the future. These horses went to war for us, and without them, civilization would not be the same.
Wild horses are a valuable piece of Alberta, and should have our protection, much like the grizzly bear, elk, deer, and sheep. We have forgotten about that four legged beauty who forded the survival of our ancestors when they first set foot on Canadian soil.
Columbus introduced these horses to North America in 1493, and by the late 1500’s, horses were a major part of plains life. In 1630, the first horse was brought into what is now Alberta, by the Blackfoot Indians, and by the 1800’s, horses were a common site.
John McDougal, a missionary, documents that horses were prayed upon by wolves in the areas between the North Saskatewan, and Oldman rivers. We are at fault for the drastic reduction of the wolf, and wild horse populations.
The governments only plan to save the caribou population was to kill off numerous wolves, but if their were enough wild horses, the wolves natural food source, the caribou population would no longer be in danger. Wolves are now forced to go outside their usual food sources to survive, and that’s causing a larger mess to our food chain.
Government officials approach the wild horses plight with apathy, and indifference. Some experts say that the wild horse takes away from the food sources of the deer, elk, and moose, but an expert on the subject has experienced something quite different in conducting research for his new book, “The Last Wild Mustangs.”
Renowned Photojournalist, and long time wild horse enthusiast “Patrice Halley, has seen barren slopes covered with hard crusted snow without a trace of another animal. Wild horses come in with their broad hooves, and break the frozen crusted snow, pawing for feed. The deer, and elk follow to get at the food they wouldn’t have been able to reach with their small hooves.
Watching a deer run into the safety of a herd of horses to escape a predator is also worth nothing, and that unselfish nature has been a part of the temperament of any horse throughout time. It’s clear horses have a high capacity for caring, and accept there role in society. A horse is no less a man’s best friend, than a dog is.
Wild horses are an important food source to wolves, who are growing in numbers so much that the government has requested over a hundred wolves to be shot to help with the caribou recovery plan.
The government states that wild horses are feral, strays, which don’t belong in the area, but history contradicts this.
If you would like to provide your support for these beautiful, strong animals, contact the Wild Horses of Alberta Society or visit their website at http://www.northernhorse.com
In 1985, there were over a thousand Free-roaming horses in Alberta. Today, less than 300 remain.