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Seized horses get a new lease on life

Lakeview councillor describes filly he bought at auction as ‘pretty as a picture 
with a nice personality — just perfect for a little kid’

She could easily have ended up on someone’s dinner plate, but now she’s a promising student in Richard Callander’s round pen.

“She’s actually pretty well put together,” said Callander, as he demonstrated the yearling filly’s quick progress since he brought her back to his ranch along with five other mares and foals from the Gladstone auction mart in late January.

The filly was part of a band of 10 horses seized by the Office of the Chief Veterinarian in a controversial roundup that incensed many local residents. Some have alleged they were mistreated and that some horses disappeared without explanation.

Now halter broke and comfortable with a saddle on her back, the yearling filly is being trained for her new owner, a young girl from a neighbouring farm who is smitten by the horse’s fine-figured bone structure, lightning reflexes, and willingness to learn, said Callander.

He said he had to rope her for the first lesson, but now after just six sessions in the round pen, the young horse is ready for further refinement under the saddle. The rest, two mares and a handful of foals, have been spoken for by local horse enthusiasts.

Some say the Lakeview horses had lived on a virtually unlimited range near the Big Grass Marsh for up to 30 years, said Callander, a local councillor who disputes the province’s position that they were neglected. The horses had access to plenty of hay and water, and the owners periodically brought them grain and checked their condition, he said. Their docile nature in his corrals now seems to add credence to that, he added.

The horses had been “headed for meat,” said Callander, and he stepped in at the urging of his partner Kim Hiebert, who quickly lined up new homes for them post-seizure. They deserved “a chance,” he said.

“That little Appaloosa filly is as pretty as a picture with a nice personality — just perfect for a little kid.”

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