A while back, our publisher received a DVD in the mail, along with a short note. The note was hand-written by a woman, Marilee Leskiw, of Edmonton. This blog post from our publisher explains the rest of the story behind the DVD.
Marilee wrote to me that the enclosed DVD contained a short video that showed wild horses running beside her vehicle. They were running on the Coal Camp Road, near the Mountain Aire Lodge.
After watching her clip (which is embedded below), I did a little research and learned that this lodge is located on Alberta Hwy #40 (aka the Forestry Trunk Road), just south of where the road crosses the Red Deer River, about 60 km southwest of Sundre, Alberta. Of course Sundre is located on Hwy #22 (The Cowboy Trail).
This is a remote area. Many of the roads have a gravel surface, so travel in this area can be a bit tricky, but the scenery is stunning. Here is a Google Map link showing exactly where it is.
As I dug a bit deeper, I came across the term “feral” horse. Wikipedia defines a feral horse is a free-roaming horse of domesticated ancestry. As such, a feral horse is not a wild animal in the sense of an animal without domesticated ancestors. However, some populations of feral horses are managed as wildlife, and these horses often are popularly called “wild” horses.
In 2015, the province estimated there were about 880 feral horses in the foothills area, and since they have no natural predators, the growing herd was damaging the grasslands for grazing both by livestock and wildlife. As a result, under Alberta’s Stray Animals Act, the RCMP hired wranglers to round up and capture some of these feral horses, which were then offered up to the public for adoption through the Wild Horses of Alberta Society.
The government appears to believe that these “wild” horses, perhaps like the ones shown on Marilee’s video, are not native to Alberta but rather descendants of domestic animals used in logging and mining operations more than 100 years ago. However, some people oppose such captures, believing that the horses should be treated as part of Alberta’s cowboy heritage.
What do you think?
To learn more about this region of the province: