RIDING a rescued wild horse in the Margaret River ANZAC Day parade was the end of a busy Easter involving rescuing more wild horses, for local vet Sheila Greenwell.
She headed an Outback Heritage Horse Association of WA mission to Lake Muir, an environmentally fragile wetland area now mostly salt lake and scrub surrounded by timber plantations and large farms between Manjimup and Mount Barker, to help rescue four colts, three of them orphaned by shooters.
About two months ago shooters herded a mob of nine brumbies out onto the dry lake and shot them.
“It wasn’t a humane cull,” Ms Greenwell said.
“The horses were just peppered. Some were gut shot and left to die – a stallion that had been gut shot was found upside down tangled up under a tree.”
She said somehow the colts escaped the slaughter.
Several weeks later another mare with a foal at foot was shot through the jaw and left to die and a shed on a property near Lake Muir was shot up. Information on two men and two women from Augusta, shooters who were camped in area, has been passed to police.
On the Thursday before Easter members of the OHHAWA and locals on horseback and on foot tracked the colts and drove them into a yard on a property neighbouring the lake reserve. Two of the colts went to an OHHAWA member’s Nannup property and two, born last October, were taken to Ms Greenwell’s Cowaramup property.
“They were at high risk of being shot because they just stand there and look at you,” she said.
One of the colts, now named ANZAC, had been savaged by a stallion and had an abscess on its neck Ms Greenwell said she could “put my hand in” and may have died anyway if left in the wild.
The colts will be vaccinated, gelded, broken in as riding ponies and sold to good homes, Ms Greenwell said.
“They make very good children’s ponies, they are hardy, intelligent and they’re not as flighty as a thoroughbred because in the wild they can’t afford to expend the energy to take flight at every strange noise or object. They tend to assess the situation rather than turn and run.
“I’ve got three wild horses in work at the moment. They are good all-rounders – they can do dressage, camp drafting, hacking, trail rides and jumping.”
Ms Greenwell said about 40 wild horses were left near Lake Muir where they had lived for more than 100 years.
Some of the bloodlines go back to the legendary waler horse bred for local conditions and used by Australian mounted troops in World War I, including at Beersheba in 1917 which is recognised as the last successful cavalry charge in military history.
For information on OHHAWA and its volunteer work visit www.wildhorses-wa.com. Donations to help feed rescued wild horses are tax deductible.
If you would like to see the wild horses at Cowaramup, contact Ms Greenwell on firstname.lastname@example.org