Veronica Cassam can see these feral horses from her house in Lhoosk’uz Dené village, about 173 kilometres west of Quesnel, and she is raising money to purchase hay and grain for them. The Bouchie Lake Country Store is also collecting funds to help the horses. (Veronica Cassam Facebook Photo)

Veronica Cassam can see these feral horses from her house in Lhoosk’uz Dené village, about 173 kilometres west of Quesnel, and she is raising money to purchase hay and grain for them. The Bouchie Lake Country Store is also collecting funds to help the horses. (Veronica Cassam Facebook Photo)

Fundraising underway to feed feral horses in Lhoosk’uz Dené west of Quesnel

Funds are being collected to buy hay, grain and salt blocks for the horses

Fundraising is underway in Bouchie Lake and Lhoosk’uz Dené to help feral horses.

Veronica Cassam has seen feral horses come to the Lhoosk’uz Dené village each winter since she moved there, and has started raising money to help them.

“I’m not sure how long they’ve been around, but I moved here in 2009, and I’ve seen them here since then,” she said, adding she thinks there may be two herds, but she isn’t sure. “Every winter, I see them struggling, and they’re having colts at all different times of the year. I’ve seen them eating cardboard boxes. It’s the same thing every winter, which breaks my heart.”

Cassam calls the horses Tel’ en Yeztli, which means “poor horses” in the Carrier language.

Cassam has brought the horses some oats, carrots and apples to eat, and she has received oats and salt from Heloise Dixon-Warren at the Bouchie Lake Country Store, but she wants to do more. ‘She has started raising money to purchase hay and grain to feed the horses.

“I just want to help,” she said. “I’m an animal lover. I know it’s hard with this pandemic, but they did not choose this situation they’re in.”

Cassam says she saw about eight of the horses Monday morning, Nov. 16, including a colt that was born this summer.

Cassam especially worries about colts surviving as the temperatures drop and the snow falls.

“They’re scraping along with their moms,” she said. “When it’s really cold, like 40-below, that’s when it really breaks your heart.”

Cassam has a deck of 52 cards and for a $20 donation, people who want to help the horses can pick one card in the deck. Once the deck has been sold, one card will be drawn, and the winner will receive half the money. The other half of the money will go towards hay, oats and salt blocks, as well as gas money for someone to bring hay out to Lhoosk’uz Dené village, which is about 173 kilometres west of Quesnel.

Cassam has also donated a custom apron that was made for her as a prize.

Cassam is accepting email transfers to vcassam17@gmail.com.

Cassam has also set up a GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/f/help-starving-horses-2020.

The Bouchie Lake Country Store has come on board and is collecting funds as well.

The money will be used to buy grain, alfalfa cubes and salt blocks for the horses. Donations can be made by cash, cheque or credit card directly at the store or over the phone at 250-249-0228 or through email transfer to blcountrystore@shaw.ca from now until Nov. 28.

Cassam hasn’t been fundraising for very long, and she is already heartened by the generosity of others. Fundraising will be ongoing.

“It’s only been a couple of days, and I’ve received great responses, which I’m grateful for,” she said. “If I get more funds, I would love to get a barn built for them and a heated water trough.”

READ MORE: From bottled water to tap: Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation find solution to decades-long water troubles



editor@quesnelobserver.com

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