A newborn feral foal sustained injuries from a fall on the Kettle Valley Railway trail near Penticton. The foal was later euthanized. (Contributed)

Newborn feral foal euthanized after fall

Incident on Kettle Valley Railway trail near Penticton occurred Sunday morning

An animal advocate is disappointed by a jogger’s decision to run past a feral mare and her foal on the Kettle Valley Railway trail in the West Bench area near Penticton.

Theresa Nolet said the mare was giving birth along the trail early Sunday morning when a nearby onlooker noticed a jogger approaching along the trail.

The onlooker asked the jogger to change his course, as he would frighten the herd. The jogger said there was no cause for concern and continued his run along the trail.

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“When you jogged by, you frightened the herd just as the observer knew you would,” Nolet posted on the O.A.T.S. Horse Rescue page on Facebook.

The horses raced down the steep embankment, away from the jogger.

“What you did not know was that the foal was not ready for this physical feat and fell, rolling down the embankment ending up in an Oregon grape bush where he struggled for at least an hour with those long gangly legs that he had no idea how to control.”

The mare eventually left the area.

Nearby neighbours quickly worked to rescue the foal from the bush, but the mare did not return.

Nolet and others made an appointment with a veterinarian to do a check-up on the foal. However, when the foal fell, it landed with his head downward and its legs leaning up the hill. This was the beginning of pneumonia.

The foal was euthanized the next day.

Nolet describes the incident as, “a death that was totally unnecessary and could have been prevented if only the jogger had agreed to alter his route and give the small herd and the new life a little longer to recuperate from the birth.”

She said there is a feral horse population along the rail trail, and this is the time of year when the foals are born.

She urges other trail users to exercise caution and respect the wildlife when they are out on the trail.

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