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Alberta’s Wild Horses

A horse with no name

If you come to Alberta you might be lucky enough to see a foal being born in a quiet meadow, a small herd drinking from a foothills creek, or a stallion standing sentinel on a Rocky Mountain ridge – and you will know that you are seeing a noble and timeless creature.

Unlike their wild counterparts around the world, Alberta’s wild horses have never been given an official name. They are affectionately referred to by locals as ‘The Wildies’ and despite their absence of a breed moniker they draw interest from around the globe. Their history and lineage legitimizes them as a valuable symbol of native and modern culture and epitomizes the spirit of the west. They are characterized by their beauty, balance and intelligence. Their resilience and hardiness are also unmatched —surviving winters in -40C with deep snow, and predation by wolves, cougars and grizzlies. They are highly evolved opportunists seeking refuge and sustenance in the wake of human disturbance from industry and recreation. They bring something special to the landscape — as only a naturalized bridge species can do — inviting us to assimilate what we know of their domesticated cousins, with the mysteries surrounding their wild existence.  

Debra works passionately to raise awareness and dispel myths about ‘the wildies’. She is currently conducting a research project to extend over several years, that monitors foal survivability among 40 different herds in the Red Deer River watershed. She spends over 100 days per year in Alberta’s backcountry observing, recording and documenting the equine subjects she is so drawn to.  

a living heritage of Alberta

by Debra Garside, Foreword by Amber Marshall

“It has been said that to create a great photograph, the photographer must love their subject, and that is more than evident in Debra’s book Wild Horses. Well researched, beautifully photographed and elegantly printed, her book is a tribute to Alberta’s living legends. It is a stunning visual journey of some of the world’s most beautiful creatures, set against the stunning beauty of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. Bravo!” – Tony Stromberg