Visual Narrative #028-Wild Horses

VN #028: Wild Horses
Posted May 26, 2024


Wild Horses of the Brittany Triangle

It was winter, when horses could be more easily identified in a wooded landscape, that I was asked by David Williams, president of the Friends of the Nemaiah Valley, to photograph the wild horses of the Chilcotin’s Brittany Triangle. In order to locate and conduct a wild horse count, we were to travel by helicopter.

The Nemiah Valley is situated in the Chilcotin region of central British Columbia, huddled between the Coast Mountains, Chilko Lake, and the Brittany Triangle. The Brittany Triangle, as stated by the Friends of the Nemiah Valley, lies between two of BC’s great salmon bearing rivers, the Chilko and the Taseko, headwaters of the mighty Fraser River. The Chilko and the Taseko host what have come to be called “super salmon”, due to enlarged hearts and lungs that enable them to traverse the great distances from the Pacific to the higher elevations where they spawn.

The vast Brittany area is home to the Tsilhqot’in people’s ?Elegesi Qayus Wild Horse Preserve and Dasiqox Tribal Park, now called Nexwagwez?an.

As shown above, much of the land had been burned by wildfires. Locating the horses, however, was still going to be a challenge.

It was extremely exciting to eventually have our first sighting.

In burnt areas, they were easier to spot.

Sharing this wild and remote area with the wild horses are grizzly and black bears, wolves, moose, deer, fur-bearers, fresh water fish and wild salmon.

This is my favourite image of the wild horses of the Brittany Triangle.

The above image shows a typical small, dark band of wild horses, led by the stallion, as they move through the stark burnt landscape, which they have inhabited since before European contact.

The origins of these wild horses are shrouded in mystery, but whose DNA is being intensively studied by scientists. So far, research confirms that they are largely of Canadian Horse lineage, but also bear considerable DNA of the Yukutian, or Russian Horse, and also some Colonial Spanish Horse blood; and that this is unique to them.


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