Seven of the British Block Horses from near Canadian Forces Base Suffield have found a home with the MacRobert family at Wembley.

Written by Wendy Walter/Sun Media

Printed in the Peace Country Sun March 10, 2006




MacRobert family purchase seven young members of the elusive herd from near Suffield.


    This year 4-H members Jaynei and Kaila MacRobert of the Albright Multi Club each wrote enthusiastic speeches about their new farm friends, The Block Horses.
    For their 4-H horsemanship project and lessons they ride older more experienced horses, but they also spend a considerable amount of time doing ground work with their new young horse projects.
    The girls work with the horses daily under the direction of their mom, Sherry, who is also actively involved as a Horse 4-H leader.
    It all started when Sherry’s mother, Karen Raynard, heard about the Block Horses from other breeders. These horses were not well known by the general public, and it was an adoption program to round up horses that caught everyone’s attention.
    The herds had been roaming unmanaged for almost 30 years behind the military fence of the Suffield Military Base in southeastern Alberta. After hearing more about the history of those elusive horses, it wasn’t long before Raynard headed out to McKee Ranch near the military base to check it out for herself with the intention of purchasing three or more colts.
    “I knew I was in trouble when Mom called and asked how big my corrals were,” says Sherry. And so it was … Grandma Raynard loaded up the horse trailer and headed to Northern Alberta.
    Today, the two fillies and five stud colts get a daily workout in their new corral. Jaynei works with Monty and Eclipse, both sorrel studs. Kaila mostly works with Chiquita, a 9 month sorrel filly as well as a black stud colt that features a blaze and four white stockings.
    “I think he is the alpha male”, says Kaila.
    As a family, they have been halter breaking the first five horses. “The girls will lead them around the yard over posts, through the trees and they have even started using jerry cans as pylons”, says Sherry. “We’ve been doing a lot of ground work and I find them very inquisitive. Each of them definitely has a very unique personality.”
    As we interacted with them, they seemed to be quite calm and comfortable in their new home. With a mild winter, it has been easy for the family to get out and work with the horses. The last two seemed a little more timid but as Sherry says, “That’s to be expected as these seven were out with range horses that had little exposure to humans”. Not unlike the stallions and mares that ran across the 700,000 acre native pastures of the Suffield Military Base.
    Due to the fact that there is such a diverse combination of breeds, the Block Horse can never be called a breed under the Pedigree Act, but the Block Horse Group has been working under the guidance of David Trus, with the Animal Industry Division of Agriculture and Agri-Feed Canada in Ottawa. Their goal as a group is to have the Block Horses recognized as a historical horse.
    With very well kept pedigree records that go back as far as the adoption period, the Block Horse Group hopes to promote the Block Horses as a unique part of Alberta’s history and as Jaynei MacRobert stated in her 4-H speech, “Monty Watson is a very rare kind of horse”.

For more information on the 4-H program being offered through the Peace Country visit www.4h.ab.ca

You can also get more information about the Block Horse group through Sherry MacRobert at 780-766-2098
or by contacting Arnold McKee/Block Horse Group Spokesman at Box 41 Oyen, Alberta T0J 2J0 or call 403-664-2046

Written by Wendy Walter, Peace Country Sun Writer
Printed in the Peace Country Sun March 10, 2006


Reproduced in part with permission from the editor, Dianna Rinne, Peace Country Sun.


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