Esketemc First Nations Bill Chelsea and Charlie Johnson lead a herd of more than 100 horses with brothers Tommy and Dougie Johnson (not pictured) to Wycotte Flats where they will winter on the grasslands. The annual tradition is in danger of disappearing as it gets more difficult each year to find horsemen capable of the drive.

Esketemc First Nations Bill Chelsea and Charlie Johnson lead a herd of more than 100 horses with brothers Tommy and Dougie Johnson (not pictured) to Wycotte Flats where they will winter on the grasslands. The annual tradition is in danger of disappearing as it gets more difficult each year to find horsemen capable of the drive.

Horse drive to Wycotte Flats

Members of the Esketemc First Nation took part in the challenging tradition of moving the community’s herd of horses to winter pasture.

Members of the Esketemc First Nation, located south east of Williams Lake, took part in the challenging tradition of moving the community’s herd of horses to winter pasture.

Bill Chelsea and Charlie Johnson galloped to stay ahead of the 100-plus herd while brothers Tommy and Dougie Johnson trailed behind Monday afternoon.

The men were taking the horses down to Wycotte Flats by following the Dog Creek Road from the Esketemc First Nation home-base at Alkali Lake for several miles before heading off-road at the base of the Mountain House Prairie.

At Mountain House Prairie, the herd heads straight down the hill to the lower river bench land pasture of Wycotte Flats. It is there that the herd will winter out on the grasslands.

The horse drive is an annual tradition in danger of disappearing as it gets more difficult each time to find horsemen capable of the drive.