The horses of Suffield did more than survive they flourished, getting stronger and better at survival each year, although some years foal loss was high, the horse numbers steadily increased..
For decades the" Wild Horses of Suffield" were a tourist attraction and people from all over the world came to admire Canada's wild horses.
In the nineties, talk started about controlling the population of the horses as they were beginning to damage the environment simply because of their large numbers. The debate raged and most Canadians believed the government would adopt similar policies that our southern neighbours, the Americans, did to protect their wild horses and burros.
The Americans had passed laws protecting their wild horses and burros and developed methods to control horse populations to ensure that the horses would not overeat their food supply. The US Bureau of Land Management use regular round-ups and adopt out young healthy horses to carefully screened applicants, and use birth control to slow down the population growth.
The Americans deemed their wild horses and burros as part of their heritage and strive to protect them, while allowing them to remain wild and free. Unfortunately, the Canadian government deemed the wild horses of Suffield as "feral horses" and a "nuisance" and rounded them up and sold them to whoever had the money to buy them. Of the large number of horses on the base, the majority simply disappeared.
There is much speculation about the Canadian Government's decision to remove all the horses from the grasslands rather control the population like our American neighbours do. Environmental experts did agree that the sheer number of horses was destroying the Prairie habitat but they also stated that removal of all the horses would also have a negative impact of the grasslands and it was recommended that population control was a better solution. So why did the government decide to remove every last horse from Suffield Military Base?
The locals said the horse thieves were breaking onto the base to steal horses. Was that a rumour or fact? Interestingly, many of the high quality horses seen in photos taken before the round-up were not found on the Base during the round-up.
In the end it really doesn't matter, in 1994 at the order of the Canadian Government, all the wild horses remove removed from the Base. This removal created the need for Canadians to "step-up and save" the wild horses of Suffield.