West Hants horse relocation effort takes tragic turn

Ashley Thompson
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Owner Ralph Morash mourning death of mare

One of the oldest mares belonging to Ralph Morash’s herd has died as a result of a relocation plan gone wrong.

The man trying to move the remaining two mares and their foals roaming on a piece of the Canadian Gypsum Company Ltd. property along Wentworth Road had some devastating news for Morash June 10.

One of the mares had apparently choked to death after being tied to a tree while her foal was taken out of sight.

“He had it tied up and he took the colt away from it and when he got back the mare was down tangled in the rope or something and it was too late,” said Morash, who was not involved in the latest attempt to move the horses. The majority of the herd was moved earlier this spring.

“It was a terrible shock for me. She was one of the oldest mares I had.”

Morash said both mares that were left behind after the majority of the herd was moved earlier this winter were tame.

“They weren’t wild, you could pet them and everything,” he said.

He believes the mare that died panicked when its foal, which is about two months old, was taken.

Morash feels the mares would have been fine to leave on the land with the studs gone, but he’s been instructed to move all of the horses off of the gypsum company’s land. He said the horses were originally placed there decades ago when he was clearing land for Fundy Gypsum.

Though heartbroken by the circumstances that led to the horse’s death, Morash does not believe the individual involved intended to cause the animal harm.

“It was an accident. He didn’t do it on purpose, I’m sure. He was really shook up. He broke down and cried,” said Morash, his voice cracking.

“He really felt bad.”

Hard as it is, Morash said he can cope with an accident. What really makes him sick to his stomach is knowing there are people out there capable of shooting his horses. 

“I think they’re a bunch of savages — worse than savages.”

He said a horse once had a bullet wound in its chest, another was hit behind the ear and one was shot to death.

“I think I’m in a different world or something,” said Morash. “Some people are really great to me and other people are… out to cause me all the trouble they can.”

There is still one mare and one foal left to move off of the gypsum company’s property.


Organizations: Canadian Gypsum Company

Geographic location: Wentworth Road, Windsor, West Hants Hants County Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Frustrated horse person
    June 12, 2014 - 12:55

    The horses would not have been in this situation if they had not been neglected in the first place. Ralph can't mourn their loss when ultimately he is responsible. The crap on social media from people who obviously do not understand proper principles and practises of care of livestock is sickening. This has been a fiasco. It's s shame the horses suffered, it would have been more humane to have put them all down from the start (initial plan). What happens when Ralph gets sick and can't care for them any longer? I invite all of the naysayers to check out the livestock section of Kijiji. Littered with well broken, NOT inbred, well cared for horses that are still under $1000 or FREE. Perhaps put some money where your mouths/fingers are and donate to Dept of Agriculture so they can help worthy causes. Not this disaster that should have been nipped in the bud (or in this case testicles of the stallion 20 years ago). Put the blame in the neglector not the innocent bystanders. Enough of this. They are not big dogs. They weigh 800+ lbs and certainly even well handled horses can be dangerous. What a joke this has been.

  • David Croft
    June 11, 2014 - 21:05

    This is certainly a SAD turn of events in the efforts of people trying to give these Beautiful animals, a new lease on life. I know there has been lots of conflict on this matter.. However, I believe that if the person that has been caring for these horses, for decades.. Mr.Morash Says it was an Accident.. We should accept it as that and nothing less..

  • voice of reason
    June 11, 2014 - 10:27

    I am saddened to see that this terrible accident occurred, but being a realist I am surprised that only one animal was lost in this process. Anyone that has handled truly wild horses would know that this process was probably brutal. I am sure the handlers if being honest would agree, a huge loss, but not to be unexpected.

    • lifetimer
      June 12, 2014 - 10:05

      I'm not sure being a 'realist' hits the mark correctly in this particular case. These horses (although dubbed 'wild' in a media story months ago) are not wild. They were just pastured to live out their lives in relative peace. Situations arose and they needed to be moved which has been done in a very secure and non-brutal manner. The horses are all mainly easily approachable. This particular incident (and more info has come to light since this story was published) was considerably different as it was done by one man without anyone's knowledge....and it was the second time this person attempted to take away the foal. (which was returned to the momma soon afterwards). You're correct in some aspect, given the circumstances, the loss was brutal.

  • Heartbroken
    June 11, 2014 - 09:51

    My heart is broken - that poor mama horse and her baby. Accident or not, this man appeared to have no clue on how to properly handle horses - who in their right mind would put a rope around a horses neck, tie her to a tree and then take away her baby. The other horses were taken away by an experienced team of people and none died. Why would this person do this on his own? I was heartbroken when one was shot by a local politician (who still has not been held accountable) but this is beyond that.

    • citizen2
      June 11, 2014 - 13:29

      Agree with your comment, Heartbroken; however, I do not believe for ONE moment that this was an 'accident'. The person who did this is probably a member of the 'posse' who was sent out by the 'deputy sheriff' to continue or finish the job he started!

    • lana
      June 11, 2014 - 15:01

      Agreed!! NOT an accident & most likely NOT done on purpose. This mare should have NEVER EVER had a rope around her neck then tied to a tree & foal taken!!!! THREE WRONGS that should NEVER have happen, period!! Why was someone who knew NOTHING about horse sent to do this or LET to do this? A sickening loss of life that was preventable!