Good News Sunday: Rescued foal named Valentine given care at UC Davis



A baby horse that was rescued in Fremont, Calif. on Valentine’s Day is seen recovering in Davis, Calif. on Thursday, February 18, 2016. (Fremont Police Department/Facebook)

Owner of baby horse rescued in Fremont comes forward

The Fremont Police Department posted adorable photos of Valentine on their Facebook page Thursday morning. They say, “Like any true baby, he loves his stuffed animal.”

Police also confirmed that the baby foal now belongs to the City of Fremont, noting that it may be a first for their 60-year-old city.

RELATED: Teacher who started crowdfunding page for rescued horse speaks out

According to authorities, the owner came forward and after a long meeting, they came to a mutual decision that it was best for the owner to surrender him to the city.

On their Facebook page, Fremont police write, “The owner was very saddened by the circumstances of what happened and also very concerned for Valentine’s future. The fact that our community helped raised such a generous amount of money to assist with Valentine is what really made this decision possible.”

They went on to say, “Our Animal Services staff are currently working to find the best home for Valentine to be placed in, where he can receive the required care needed for his rehabilitation and ultimately live out a long and happy horse life!”

Read the rest of the story HERE.

Viewers like you helped raise thousands of dollars in less than 24 hours to save a baby horse rescued from a ravine in Fremont. Today, little Valentine was taken to UC Davis where he got some good news. Wayne Freedman has the update:


Feel Good Sunday: Denver Zoo Welcomes Mongolian Horse Foal

By Noelle Phillips of the Denver Post

“This ‘Feel Good Sunday’ installment strikes a special cord in the collective hearts of Terry and myself as only 3 short years ago we trekked on horseback across Outer Mongolia seeking out and documenting the only few hundred prehistoric ‘Takhi‘ wild horses still remaining on this planet (we refrain from using the western name of Przewalski as his discovery lead to the horse’s ultimate demise and virtual extinction).  It was a touching and eye opening experience so we are pleased that one new Takhi life has been added to this planet, all be it captive.  One day our North American wild horses and burros may be in the same boat that these Asian wild horses are, hence our journey to see what a country is doing to try to put the horses BACK where they belong instead of ripping them from their rightful range.  Enjoy! (Click (HERE) to read more about our Trek)” ~ R.T.

A long-legged wild horse foal is following his mother around a Denver Zoo enclosure after being born Thursday. The Przewalski’s horse was the second of his kind to be born at the zoo since 1991, a news release said. Guests can see mother and foal from the zoo’s main pathway.

Przewalski’s (pronounced sheh-VAL-skees) horses also are known as Mongolian wild horses or Asiatic wild horses. They once roamed Europe and Asia but today are found only in the wild in Mongolia and China, the zoo said. There are an estimated 380 in the wild.

The species was extinct in the wild for 30 years before reintroduction projects began in the early 1990s.

The Denver Zoo helps support captive breeding programs that have prevented the animal from becoming extinct, the news release said.

Feel Good Sunday: Da Vinci, The Chestnut Foal, Always Has A Horse On His Back

Chestnut foal has unique marking which runs up his left shoulder and neck

It looks like an optical illusion but this chestnut foal was born with his own perfect white shadow.

The unique marking is the profile of another horse which runs up his left shoulder and neck.

It then merges seamlessly from white to black into his mane.

Da Vinci

The pattern is such a work of art that the foal’s owners have called him Da Vinci, or Vinny for short.

He was born at the start of May at Fyling Hall riding school at Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire.

Wendy Bulmer, who runs the riding school, said: ‘I bought his mother at a sale and didn’t know she was in foal [pregnant] so that was a bit of a surprise.

‘I wasn’t very happy at first but he is so friendly and the kids love him.

‘The chestnut horses have irregular patches but they don’t normally make something as recognisable.

‘He’s even got a little white heart shape on his bottom as well.’

Checkerboard Wild Horse Roundup Day 11: The Carnage Continues

Eye-Witness Report by Carol Walker ~ Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“The rider throws a loop and catches the foal, who bucks when he feels the rope then as it grows taut he is thrown to the ground…”

We are about 20 miles in from I80 on County Road 19 and about 1/2 mile from the trap which is on public land for a change. We can see the trap from here the back of it anyway but not the approach to it, that is on the other side of the ridge from us. They caught 105 horses here yesterday so just expect to get stragglers today. This area is so remote there is no cell service.

It is a beautiful day, we can see the mountains clearly, and we spotted a small band of horses just across the ridge, peacefully grazing , with no idea what fate awaits them. One helicopter flew over starting the search for horses.

Soon I hear a helicopter in the distance, behind the ridge that hides the trap. He goes back and forth several times, leading me to believe that he is having trouble getting the group he is driving into the trap. Suddenly, a lone black stallion pops up over the hill. Apparently he escaped the group, and he runs over the hill ignoring the helicopter, in the direction of the small group we saw on the hill.

Then finally the helicopter pushes the group behind the hill into the trap – I see many horses running to the panels, and then being moved into the adjoining pen with lots of dust. I see some greys but mostly bay, black and chestnut, typical for horses from Great Divide Basin.

Meanwhile the other helicopter is following another group that cuts across the hill right in front of us. We see a beautiful grey stallion bringing up the rear, and one foal in the middle. They disappear over a ridge, going away from the trap. I am thinking we will most likely see them again, and we do a few minutes later and they have gained more horses behind them. They are in dramatic silhouette, lots of dust boiling up and two foals now. They head down the hill toward us but the helicopter stops them, heading them the long way around the ridge to the trap, out of sight.

About an hour later we see another group head up a ridge with a sorrel stallion in front and a white mare moving more slowly than the rest of the group. Then we suddenly see a sorrel foal all by itself, come over the hill pursued by the helicopter. At first he is running, but slows to a trot then a walk, and seems bewildered. He stops and I notice that a rider is heading down the hill toward him. When he sees the horse and rider he starts running toward them. Clearly he wants to be with another horse and not stay all alone! The rider throws a loop and catches the foal, who bucks when he feels the rope then as it grows taut he is thrown to the ground, he gets up and goes along with the horse and rider very quietly all the way to the trap.

We are told that the roundup is over for the day, and they are loading the captured horses onto 3 small trailers and one large one and as the trailers drive down the road I see their faces in the trailer – they have no idea what awaits them at the end of their journey.

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Wyoming – based Group Advocates for Better Water for Wild Horses

The only water source in the area is a creek downstream from several major Marathon Oil fields.

Wild horses gather near the reservoir outside Cody on Tuesday. The Cody-based wild horse advocacy group Friends of a Legacy has partnered with the Bureau of Land Management and Marathon Oil to build reservoirs on 110,000 acres of BLM land, ensuring that the herd of roughly 150 horses has a sustainable water supply.  - photo by Ryan Dorgan

Wild horses gather near the reservoir outside Cody on Tuesday. The Cody-based wild horse advocacy group Friends of a Legacy has partnered with the Bureau of Land Management and Marathon Oil to build reservoirs on 110,000 acres of BLM land, ensuring that the herd of roughly 150 horses has a sustainable water supply. – photo by Ryan Dorgan

CODY — A black mustang shook its nose while lumbering along the edge of a fence outside town.

Ada Inbody, 76, pulled her truck to a stop on the side of the highway when she saw it.

“I think that may be Tucson,” Inbody said Tuesday. “I need to see his face.”

Inbody twisted around in the driver’s seat and saw the white star on the horse’s nose. It was Tuscon, a stud she named on one of her hundreds of days spent among the horses. A swarm of stinging nose flies had flown into his nostrils.

“They drive him crazy,” Inbody said of the insects, shifting her truck back into gear. “Bless his heart.”

Inbody is one of several members of Friends of a Legacy, or FOAL, a Cody-based advocacy group fighting for better water for Tucson and the 150 other wild horses living on federal land between Cody and Powell.

The only water source in the area is a creek downstream from several major Marathon Oil fields.

For years, produced water from the fields — suitable for animals but not humans, Inbody said — has sustained the wild horse herd. Recent regulation changes limited the amount of contaminated water Marathon could send down the stream, causing water levels in the creek to drop and FOAL to form.

Now, the group hopes to help Marathon and the Bureau of Land Management construct a series of pipelines for water on the land.

Dry Creek

Tricia Hatle always thought Dry Creek was a perennial water source.

The narrow gulley runs through most of the 110,000 acres of federal land designated for wild horse management outside Cody. Most years, it’s full of water, Hatle said.

That changed in 2010, when for the first time the creek went dry.

Around that time, Marathon changed the way it disposed of the water it uses to extract oil from the ground in the nearby Oregon Basin, said Mike Williams, a senior environmental professional and hyrdogeologist for Marathon.

To comply with Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality regulations, Marathon began injecting more and more water back into the oil formation and lessened the amount of water it treated and released down Dry Creek.

New permits limited the amount of produced water the company could discharge down the creek by about half, Williams said.

“It being beneficially used either putting it out on the surface for wildlife,” he said. But injecting it is useful, too

Hatle, a BLM range specialist, began investigating the source of the dryness. Marathon came forward to say what had happened, she said.

Marathon didn’t have to get involved — it is not drilling on the herd’s land — but it did, Williams said.

“It’s an incredibly valuable supply of fresh water in this arid landscape,” he said of the water produced by Marathon and other oil producers in the area…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story and to comment at the Star Tribune

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Mare & Foal Sanctuary in England

I couldn’t wait for Feel Good Sunday to post the photos below from the Mare & Foal Sanctuary in England.  Breeze, the abandoned foal, is comforted by Buttons the Teddy Bear.

Meanwhile, on this side of the pond, the BLM puts wild horse foals at risk of freezing to death at Rock Springs Corrals in Wyoming.  It seems like Ed Roberson, BLM’s Asst. Director of Resources and Planning, must have rocks in his head to allow this to happen.  And a big shout out to Joan “euthanize wild horses on the range” Guilfoyle (BLM’s Chief of the Wild Horse & Burro Program), who sits in a cozy Washington office, but has not installed shelter for the captive wild horses in freezing weather, even when Ginger Kathrens of The Cloud Foundation offered to purchase materials and have it installed at no cost to the BLM.

Anyhow, it’s good to know that there are people in the world who do have compassion and actually care for horses.  It’s just not the leadership of the BLM, who seem to continually and unabashedly violate their mandate to protect wild horses & burros.   – Debbie Coffey

foal pic1  photo credit:  SWNS (a London photography company)

foal pic 2

foal pic 3

foal pic 4

from the website for Mare & Foal Sanctuary:

Life’s a Breeze

Here, Syra tells the story of our orphaned foal, Breeze, and how his quest to find a teddy bear touched the hearts of thousands across the globe.

None of us here could have prepared ourselves for what happened when little Breeze came into our lives.

Breeze was born in the early hours one morning in May. The farmer found him running from mare to mare trying to suckle; none would entertain him and he kept being pushed away. We do not know what happened to his mother- we think it is possible she just didn’t have any milk.

The Sanctuary was called to help the little foal. When we arrived, Breeze literally collapsed into our arms. We rushed him back to the Sanctuary and our vet met us there. Breeze was extremely dehydrated, covered in cuts and bruises and so very tiny. Tests showed he had none of the vital colostrum that provides immunity for a new born foal, so he was in serious danger of getting an infection. He was placed onto drips and various medications; it was touch and go for a while but slowly and surely, over the following weeks, Breeze fought back.

The poor little foal was so traumatised he struggled to sleep, or rest for any length of time. That is, until we found him a giant cuddly toy called Buttons to snuggle up to. Breeze was finally on the mend.

You would think that was the end of this story…think again!

Before we knew what was happening our little Breeze had become a global sensation- appearing on news shows, in newspapers and on websites around the world. The story of the orphaned foal and his teddy bear had touched the hearts of thousands worldwide.

And Breeze? Well, he’s taken his new found stardom in his stride. Now two and a half months old and 8.2hh, our little foal is growing into a big, strong – and rather cheeky – boy. He loves nothing better than playing out in the field with his new pony companion Pippin, a miniature Shetland who also came to us as an orphan back in 2012.

To think of that tiny, weak foal we found on the moor, compared to the healthy, happy colt that Breeze is today…the difference is astounding.

Yet if it wasn’t for the generosity and kindness of our supporters, Breeze may not be here today. Without your help, we wouldn’t be able to save ponies like Breeze and provide them with the veterinary treatment and care they so desperately need. So, from us and from Breeze – thank you.

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Name the Super Bowl Clydesdale Foal: Declan

by R.T. Fitch ~ co-founder/president Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“Feel Good Sunday”: Speak for the Horses During the Super Bowl

Declan in D.C. with Author/president of Wild Horse Freedom Federation R.T. Fitch (R.T.'s favorite photo) ~ by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Declan in D.C. with Author/president of Wild Horse Freedom Federation R.T. Fitch (R.T.’s favorite photo) ~ by Terry Fitch

It’s Super Bowl Sunday and people around the world will be tuning in, not necessarily for the game, but for the multimillion dollar commercials and being horsy types, we love the Budweiser Clydesdales (hey, a drafty lives at our ranch too)

This year, Budweiser is conducting a contest to name their newest foal and regardless of gender we at SFTHH and WHFF think that the name of “Declan” for Declan Gregg, the ASPCA Equine Humane Kid of the Year is the PERFECT name (Declan is Gaelic for “full of goodness” and is used as a boy’s and girl’s name in Scotland)

You can vote for Declan by either Tweeting this “@Budweiser name the #clydesdales foal Declan for Declan Gregg the #ASPCA Humane Kid of Year for protecting #horses” or going to the two Facebook pages and likeing AND commenting on your name selection:

Let’s utilize the Super Bowl as a tool to build the message for the horses through one of our most outstanding young advocates.

Vote DECLAN!!!

Then tune in the Puppy Bowl…can’t wait.

Vote "Declan"

Vote “Declan”

The Luckiest Horse in Reno: A Christmas Story

Deanne StillmanDeanne Stillman
author of Mustang, Twentynine Palms as posted in the Huffington Post 12/23/2008

“Once again it is “Feel Good Sunday” and events in the world make it difficult for us to truly feel good while others are suffering.  But with that in mind, we are going to take a little twist, this pre-Christmas Sunday, and share with you a poignant, true and timely story written by our good friend Deanne Stillman and printed in the Huffington Post back in 2008.  A cruel turn of events gives this tale even more impact as our current attention is turned to help save what is left of Nevada’s Virgina Range Wild Horses.  As we steam ahead into the Christmas season, take a moment to reflect and ponder on the fate of our national icons.  There’s so much to do and so little time in which to do it!  Thank-you.” ~ R.T.


“…bullets hissed from the vehicle through the patches of juniper and into the wild horses of the old frontier”
Virginia Range Wild Horses ~ photo courtesy of

Virginia Range Wild Horses ~ photo courtesy of

When the men approached, the black foal might have been nursing. Or she might have been on her side, giving her wobbly legs a rest, leaning into her mother under the starry desert sky. At the sound of the vehicle, the band prepared to move and did move at once, for horses are animals of prey and so their withers twitched, their ears stiffened, their perfect, unshod hooves dug into the scrub for traction and then they began to run. The black foal might have taken a second or two longer than the others to rise. Perhaps the mare, already upright, bolted instantly, turning her head to see if the foal had followed. The headlights of the vehicle appeared on a rise. The men were shouting and then there was another bright light – it trained from the roof of the vehicle across the sunken bajada and it swept the sands, illuminating the wild and running four-legged spirits as their legs stretched in full perfect extension, flashing across their hides which were dun and paint and bay, making a living mural in 3-D in which the American story – all of it – was frozen here forever, in the desert as it always is, as bullets hissed from the vehicle through the patches of juniper and into the wild horses of the old frontier. It was Christmas. Two-thousand years earlier, Christ had been born in a stable.

Two months later on a cold and sunny afternoon, a man was hiking in the mountains outside of Reno. Something made him look to his left, up a hill. He saw a dark foal lying down in the sagebrush, not able to get up. A bachelor stallion had been watching from a distance and now came over and nibbled at the foal’s neck. She tried to get up but couldn’t and the stallion rejoined his little band. The hiker called for help. A vet arrived and could find no injuries. As it grew dark, a trailer was pulled across the washes and gulleys until it approached the filly, about a hundred yards away and down hill. The stars were particularly bright that night and helped the rescue party, equipped only with flashlights, lumber across the sands and up the rocky rise where the filly was down. Four men lifted her onto a platform and carried her down the hill and into the trailer. “She was a carcass with a winter coat,” Betty Lee Kelly, a rescuer, later told me. She was covered with ticks and parasites, weak and anemic. She was six months old. Two days later, at a sanctuary near Carson City called Wild Horse Spirit, Betty and her partner Bobbi Royle helped her stand. But she kept falling. Over the weeks, they nourished her and she grew strong and regained muscle and she began to walk without falling down. But she was nervous, not skittish like a lot of horses are, especially wild ones, but distracted, preoccupied, perhaps even haunted. Because of her location when rescued, which was near Lagomarsino Canyon, and because she was starving, her rescuers reasoned that she had been a nursing foal who had recently lost her mother. Without mother’s milk, a foal can last for a while in the wilderness, sometimes as long as a couple of months. And because a band of bachelor stallions had been nearby when she was found, her rescuers figured that they had taken her in, looking after her until they could no more, standing guard as she lay down in the brush to die. As it turned out, the filly was the lone survivor of the Christmas massacre and they called her Bugz.

Bugz was a member of the historic Virginia Range herd, the first mustangs in the country to win legal protection (which have since been eroded). Like the other mustangs of the West, their history in this land runs deep, as DNA has shown; they are direct descendants of the horses of the Ice Age, which flourished in the West, crossed the Bering land bridge, fanned out across the world, went extinct here and then returned with conquistadors, quickly reestablishing themselves in their homeland, blazing our trails and fighting our wars, ultimately – like many others – heading into the nether reaches of Nevada to be left alone.

This Christmas marks the ten-year anniversary of the Reno horse massacre. Over the years, I’ve visited the kill site several times, to pay respects and mark its change. On my latest pilgrimage with Betty Kelly, we climbed up the rutted road leading into the mountains, past sites where men used to trap wild horses and haul them away. Soon, we were near the place where the wild horses of Nevada are making their last stand. We parked and walked up a rise. It had recently rained and the stands of sage were puffy and fragrant. Except for our footsteps, it was quiet. The horse skulls and cages of ribs and shins and intact hooves and manes and tails were still there, forever preserved in the dry Mojave air. There was a pair of leg bones and they were crossed, as if running in repose, polished and caressed and battered by the winds of the Great Basin, radiating almost, a reverse silhouette of wildness paralyzed in movement and time. Betty knew exactly which horse this was, and had told me about her on our first visit to the site. Of the 34 horses killed in the massacre, she was horse #1 in the court record, or Hope, as she and Bobbi had named her after being called to the scene on the day the bodies were discovered, as they always are when mustangs are in need. Branded as pests that steal food from livestock or renegades that range into town and destroy lawns, they have been under siege for decades, enduring voracious government round-ups and vicious killings. The murders are rarely solved, although in the case of the 1998 massacre, three men were arrested and one of them ultimately pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge – killing a horse that another member of the trio had already shot to put it out of its misery. In the tradition of old-time mustangers, they had been heading into the mountains since their high school days, with at least one of them firing into the beleaguered herd and boasting about it to friends. And so had a long list of other suspects.

“She had probably been here for a day or two,” Betty recalled, and as she continued, it was like a prayer. “She was lying in the sand. She had dug a small hole with her front legs, intermittently trying to get up.” I knew the story well and in the bearing witness there was comfort and then Betty’s voice trailed off and we walked on. After awhile, we came across the horse known in the Nevada court system as #4. Like the others, Bobby and Betty gave him a name. It was Alvin. He was the one who was shot in the chest and whose eye was mutilated with a fire extinguisher. His carcass – the barrel of his chest – was picked and blown clean by time, wind, and critters, rooted always in the great wide open. His spine was vanishing, but still flush against the sand and his ribs curved towards the sky. “There was a stallion watching us that day,” Betty had told me long ago, now reciting the rest of the prayer. “Just standing at the perimeter as we found each dead horse. When the sun went down and we got in our cars, he trotted on down the road. His family had been wiped out but we still didn’t know how bad it was.”

As I walked the site this time, I saw that someone or something, maybe a coyote or perhaps the weather, had moved a few of the large stones in the cross under a juniper tree that Betty had made on the one-year anniversary. But it was still very much a cross and I decided that a natural force had disturbed the stones – a person who wanted to vandalize the scene would have done more damage. And then I discovered something new: an empty box of Winchester cartridges, lodged between the branches of another juniper tree. Winchester – the gun that won the West, the ammo that brought it to its knees – now back as a reminder, probably placed intentionally and maybe by the people who killed the horses. Did someone have us in their sights? I wondered as I looked across the range. “I think it’s time to go,” I said, but as we walked back to the pick-up, there came a wonderful sight – a few horses, down from a rise. Since the massacre, Betty rarely saw them in the canyon, and she had visited it several times a year, as a kind of a groundskeeper for the cemetery. On my visits, I had not seen any horses either, nor had I seen any hoofprints, which made me think that they had been avoiding the area because in the desert, tracks last for a very long time.

The horses that approached were brown with black manes – the scruffy and beautiful Nevada horses that nobody asks for at the adoption centers. We stopped in our tracks and watched them and they watched us back. After awhile, we bid them farewell. As we headed down the mountain, I turned for one more look. They were walking across the boneyard towards the stone cross, reclaiming their home.

For more about our wild horses, read Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West, a Los Angeles Times best book of 2008.

Problems Arise at Desatoya Wild Horse Gather in Nevada

Information supplied by The Humane Society on Aug 16, 2012

…BLM contractor appear to hogtie and leave a lost foal in the path of stampeding mustangs…

BLM Contract Chopper Cruelty at Antelope Stampede 2011~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The Humane Society of the United States expressed its concerns about the actions of the Bureau of Land Management after an HSUS executive witnessed a BLM contractor appear to hogtie and leave a lost foal in the path of stampeding mustangs at the Desatoya Wild Horse Gather near Austin, Nev. The continued negligence and inhumane treatment of animals in the field is at odds with the agency’s stated vision and goal of improving and reforming its wild horse gather procedures.

The incident was witnessed by Holly Hazard, senior vice president of Programs and Innovations for The HSUS, who attended the gather as an observer to determine if BLM was incorporating HSUS recommended changes in standard operating procedures.

At approximately 12:30 p.m. PDT on Thursday, Aug. 16, after several bands of horses had successfully been herded into a trap, Hazard saw a BLM contractor ride out on horseback to collect a stray foal. When the young horse resisted moving deep into the gather trap, Hazard watched the BLM contractor appear to hogtie the foal and then leave her in the path of galloping horses. Once the band of horses was safely captured, instead of aiding the foal, BLM instead gave the go ahead for another band of horses to run around and past her again.

“The Bureau of Land Management has made significant progress in reforming its wild horse program in recent years – but the agency must set a higher standard and not allow such callous disregard for animals to take place in its operations,” said Hazard. “The public has been calling for more transparency and responsible treatment of animals in the wild horse and burro program, and it’s time for the BLM’s stated goals and objectives to be applied in the field as well.”

The Desatoya gather is slated to occur for two weeks with the goal of gathering 500 wild horses and applying the fertility control drug PZP to approximately 64 females who will be released.

As a result of the incident, The HSUS is calling on BLM to:

  • Immediately review its protocols and make all changes necessary in order to ensure that no contractor has the authority to unnecessarily stress any animal in its custody and control in the name of gather efficiency;
  • Review previous HSUS requests to develop and implement a Humane Observer program that would allow a knowledgeable, objective witness to intervene at gathers in order to prevent similar incidents from occurring during gather operations;
  • Deliver a status report on the young foal in question, including information on her overall health and well-being and whether the foal was reunited with her mother at the temporary holding facility.

Off Duty Deputy Saves Wild Horse Foal From Drowning

Story by Cindy Beamon of the

“Without him, the foal most certainly would have drowned…”

A mother and her foal are seen stranded in water near Corolla shortly before the two were rescued by an off-duty Currituck deputy, Tuesday. ~ Photo courtesy Corolla Wild Horse Fund Inc.

COROLLA — An off-duty Currituck sheriff’s deputy rescued a month-old wild horse from drowning Tuesday, but another foal in the same predicament last week wasn’t so lucky.

A foal shivering from exhaustion was pulled from a bulkheaded canal near Spreader Lane around noon Tuesday, said Karen McCalpin, executive director for the Wild Horse Fund.

Deputy Nathan Large, seeing that the foal was in danger of drowning, reportedly jumped into the canal and lifted the animal over a bulkhead to safety, said McCalpin.

Large could not be reached Wednesday to comment about the rescue.

According to McCalpin, the foal and its mother had been in the water for hours, unable to find a way out. The water was too low and the bulkhead too high for the horses to jump to

safety, she said. When Large spotted the horses, the foal’s head had begun to drop, a sign it would soon drown.

Large, unable to direct the horses to safety from the bulkhead, leaped into the water and lifted the 80- to 85-pound foal to safety.

“Without him, the foal most certainly would have drowned,” McCalpin said.

A resident then stayed with the foal while Large led the sometimes-reluctant mare a distance equal to about two football fields to a break in the bulkhead so that it could come ashore.

The rescue was not easy, said McCalpin. Snakes lurk in the murky water, and the canal bottom sinks in spots.

Both horses were in good condition Wednesday.

The outcome was more deadly, however, for another foal caught in a canal last week.

The foal was found dead on July 11.

McCalpin said the month-old male horse was alone. Its legs had scratches as if it had tried to get out of the water, she said.

It’s uncertain how the horses ended up in the water.

The lone foal may have fallen in and couldn’t get out, said McCalpin.

A mother and her foal are seen safe and grazing after being rescued from nearly drowning near Corolla, Tuesday. ~ Photo courtesy Corolla Wild Horse Fund Inc.

In Tuesday’s incident, the mare may have been foraging for aquatic plants in the water, said McCalpin. Domestic horse wouldn’t normally eat the underwater plants, but the wild horses have adapted their eating habits to the habitat, she noted.

Finding their way back ashore would have been difficult for the horses in a neighborhood threaded with canals that were dug in 1967, said McCalpin. The bulkheads have too few breaks for an easy escape, she said.

McCalpin was unsure why the older horse could not find its way out. The mare may have been waiting for the stallion that leads the harem to direct her to safety, McCalpin said.

The mishaps are not the first time horses have either fallen or been trapped in the canals, said McCalpin. Last summer residents reported two incidents, both with happy endings.

More breaks in the bulkheads could help prevent future incidents, she said.

The wild horses are a popular attraction on the Outer Banks and have been spotlighted this year in a statewide advertising campaign.

The foal’s rescue has been a big attention-getter on the Wild Horse Fund’s Facebook page, said McCalpin. As of Wednesday afternoon, the page had more than 12,000 hits.

Click (HERE) to visit the Daily Advance and to Comment