Newborn foal dies after feral herd startled by jogger on KVR rail in South Okanagan - InfoNews

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Newborn foal dies after feral herd startled by jogger on KVR rail in South Okanagan

This newborn foal had to be euthanized after it was injured in a fall from the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, Sunday, April 26, 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Theresa Nolan
April 29, 2020 - 2:30 PM

A Penticton woman is urging Kettle Valley trail users to be aware and take extra care when around wildlife after an incident on the weekend resulted in the death of a foal.

Theresa Nolet, a member of the O.A.T.S. Horse Rescue group, says she was called to a section of the Kettle Valley trail on West Bench Sunday morning, April 26, after a foal was injured shortly after being born. The foal was part of a herd of feral horses that were in the vicinity of the trail at the time.

“From what I understand, there was a woman on the West Bench who had witnessed the foal being born around 7:30 a.m. About the same time, a jogger using the trail came by. She asked the jogger to change his route for fear of disturbing the horses, but the jogger, while not impolite, refused. Seconds later, the herd became agitated and began to move down a steep embankment,” Nolet says.

She says the unsteady foal tried to follow its mother, but ended up tumbling down the hill and became entangled in some Oregon grape brush.

Nolet received a call from Critteraid around 10 a.m. after the horse’s mother moved off with the rest of the herd, leaving the foal on its own on the trail. She provided a safe place for the foal, and began feeding it powdered milk formula.

It seemed to be recovering well until Monday morning, when it took a sudden turn for the worse. The horse contracted pneumonia, probably due to the upside down condition he was in after tumbling down the hillside. There was no choice but to euthanize the animal.

“It’s very upsetting. I’ve dealt with a lot of foals. Usually there is a noticeable health issue, but he seemed to be coming out of it all right. We really thought he was physically OK,” she says.

Nolet is urging those using local trails to be aware this is birthing season for a lot of animals, and they all need to be avoided.

“People need to give wildlife the right of way. Back up, jog in place, or take a different route. If this horse had another 20 minutes to half hour to get his footing, he probably would have been OK. It’s also important to realize other animals might have attacked,” she says.

“It should be common sense. The problem is being compounded by the fact many people who wouldn’t normally be home are now because of COVID-19, and trails are busy.”

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