Investigations now reveal that two horses shot just after dark on Sunday were likely hit by the same bullet.
An RCMP investigator thinks the bullet grazed one horse in the nose and then struck the other, lodging in its face, says the owner of the horses.
The two geldings — Hamlet and Ned — are kept in a corral on a small acreage near the west bank of the Red Deer River, west of Penhold.
Their owner, who asked that her name be withheld, said she still has no idea where the bullet came from that struck her horses some time between 6 and 7 p.m.
She didn’t call police until Monday morning because her first priority was to get veterinary treatment for the two horses.
It’s been just the latest in a series of crises for Ned, who had been retired from show jumping after injuring one of his legs for a second time.
Ned — a Dutch Warmblood that was at one time worth about $60,000 — was just starting his new life as a pleasure horse, said his owner.
Now, with the bullet still lodged in his nasal passage and no way to extract it safely, his future is again in question, she said.
He needs regular treatment to keep the wound clear of infection and there is always a danger of further damage because the bullet will migrate around inside his face, she said.
Riding him may be difficult if pressure from the bridle irritates the wounded area, she said.
New to the area, the family and their horses have become used to the sound of gunfire, including rounds fired every day from the rifle range operated by the Red Deer Fish and Game Association.
Neither horse pays any attention to gunfire and they don’t seem to relate their wounds to the sound.
The woman said she and her family have heard ricochets from the rifle range, but none of those bullets have landed in their yard.
Police continue to investigate the incident. Staff Sgt. Gord Glasgow, head of the Red Deer Rural RCMP, said on Monday it would be a mistake to make any assumptions about the source of the bullet before the investigation is completed.