Summer 2013

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landmarks Free Range by Andrew Findlay >> photography by Patrice Halley One of THE CANADIAN NORTHWEST'S largest remaining population of wild horses roams an isolated rolling plateau of forests and lakes bounded by the Chilko and Taseko Rivers — a 155,000-hectare chunk of Chilcotin wilderness known as the Brittany Triangle. Untouched by logging, this visually stunning landscape lies at the heart of the Elegesi Qayus Wild Horse Preserve, established in 2002 by the Xeni Gwet'in, who in 1996 partnered with the conservation group Friends of the Nemaiah Valley to protect some 200 of these wild horses and their unique habitat. >> For the past 12 summers, the non-profit's wild-horse ranger has monitored the region's equine inhabitants, and DNA 50 W e s t w o r l d p50-52_Landmarks.indd 50 >> testing has revealed an intriguing ancestral mix: Spanish mustang, Canadian horse and Russian Yakut (one of the oldest breeds in existence), which raises questions about how, and when, these animals arrived in the Chilcotin. >> Of course, the Xeni Gwet'in, members of the Tsilhqot'in nation, have a culturally historic relationship with horses dating back well before European contact. And today, the band's legendary mountain race, in which participants hurtle downhill at breakneck speeds astride their steeds, remains the marquee attraction of its Nemaiah Valley Rodeo, held every August for the past 36 years (see insets). ℹ landwithoutlimits.com/ webcalendar/month.php; fonv.ca/wildhorses Summer 2013 13-04-18 1:41 PM

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