Alberta Wild Horses
Alberta's wild horses range in the foothills on the east slope of the Canadian Rockies. Their origins begin with First Nations people bringing them from the south to use in hunting buffalo. Horses escaping from the transport business in the 19th Century and later from outfitters further augmented the herds, which currently have a population of around 1,000 animals. The population took a double hit this year, with a controversial cull that was drastically reduced because of wide-spread protest, and due to an unusually long winter, with repeated snow cover well into May, making feeding very difficult. Several horses did not make it through the winter, and when I visited the area on May 14th the animals feeding along the roadside were gaunt with ribs showing from shoulder to flank. This image was made on May 24th, and in just 10 days the mares were looking much more healthy and robust, quickly restoring weight and vigour. The mare on the right is the leanest, as she is eating for two, with a colt not yet weaned.