Horses Abandoned on Mountain Find Homes

Two horses that were abandoned on the side of a mountain in British Columbia last Christmas have found permanent homes.

Just before Christmas last year, snowmobilers discovered the pair of horses trapped in chest-high snow in the mountains near McBride, B.C. For the next week, snowmobilers dug the horses a path to freedom in temperatures that dipped as low as -22 F. (Read: Group Effort to Rescue Horses Trapped in Snow Ongoing)


Sundance (top) and Belle have recovered and found new homes.

When rescued, Belle, a 4-year-old mare, and Sundance, a 15-year-old gelding, were ranked as 2s on the Henneke body condition scale, had lice, and were missing hair and part of their tails.

This Christmas, life is much better for the pair. A fully recovered Sundance will be celebrating with adoptive owner Catie Ward, in Monte Lake, B.C.

Ward was drawn to Sundance after hearing of his ordeal. "My heart goes out to the horses that have had a really rough time," she said. "He's just a gentle giant."

Meanwhile, Belle has found a new home in Prince George, B.C., with owner Kim Gilbeau. Last year Gilbeau was at the equine rescue center looking at horses to foster when Belle arrived. She was instantly drawn to the mare and in February applied to adopt her.

"She's doing great, has put all her weight back on and is really friendly considering what she's been through," said Gilbeau, who plans to use Belle as a pleasure riding horse.

Earlier this month, Sundance and Belle's former owner, lawyer Frank MacKay of Edmonton, Alberta, plead guilty to causing distress to an animal. He abandoned Sundance and Belle in the mountains in September 2008, following a hunting trip. According to MacKay, he left the horses because they could not make it through the difficult terrain.

He was fined $1,000, placed on 12 months' probation and ordered to pay $5,910 to the B.C. SPCA to help cover care costs.

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Liz Brown

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