When Everything is Perfect

free range horse photography of a stallion striding through a golden field
The herd stallion moving through the tall oats and grass without purpose.

“Every summer there are a number of nights, not many, but a number, when everything is perfect. The light, the warmth, the smells, the mist, the birdsong-the moths. Who can sleep?

–Fredrick Siagberg The Fly Trap, A Book About Summer, Islands and the Freedom of Limits

Home Is Where The Herd Is

free range horse photography of a filly browsing in an oat field late in the day
The last light of a summer afternoon illuminates a browsing filly.

An independent filly lazily follows the scattered herd through an oat field in the late afternoon. Her mother is not in sight but no matter, her family is the whole herd and she feels at ease with all her herd-mates.

Long Dusks of Summer

free range horse photography of a mare and foal glowing in the last light of a summer day
The long dusk of summer supports any number or quality pastimes.

If it could be like this always: abundance, independence, golden hues, leisure, temperate, and peaceful!

Powdered Gold

free range horse photography of mares backlit in late day oat field
Backlit by the day’s last light, these mares look like a poster for summertime.

” … summer afternoon; to me those have always been the most beautiful words in the English language.”

–Henry James

Buckskin

free range horse photography of a buckskin colt
A buckskin colored colt less than a month old sizes me up.

Color genetics with horses is not without complexity. A new buckskin in the herd this year inspired me to revisit what I know about color genetics. Without getting into the science of it all and in the simplest terms, black and red are the two basic equine color pigments. A horse’s ability to reproduce theses pigments is an inherited trait, with red being recessive to black. Each pigment can be modified by other genes, including dilution genes. Buckskin color is black-based and a dilute version of the color bay, another black-based coat color. White markings are, simply stated, a matter of chance.

Enough of Everything

free range horse photography of a fuzzy filly in spring grass
A fuzzy coat and a green meadow are reminders of spring.

Time well spent leads to a life well lived.

Royal Scepter

free range horse photography of a colt with unusual face marking
Walking right into the light and right into my space, a colt displays his unusual face marking.

The marking on this colt’s face reminds me of a family crest or a royal scepter, a figure of royal authority. This seems fitting since he is handsome enough to be a prince.

Summertime

free range horse photography of a mare and foal grazing near a lake
A summertime scene made better with horses.

Personal favorites, this duo browses through a beautiful location on a summer morning. How fortunate to have water return to That Herd landscapes and how fortunate to have early morning fog burn off moments before we share this place.

Courtship

free range horse photography of courtship between a mare and stallion

A receptive mare is courted by the herd stallion.

Special attention is given to a responsive mare. Once her willingness is confirmed, actions move rapidly from there. This mare is much larger than the stallion in this case, so a few logistical steps had to be taken. The young colt by the mare’s side is confused by all this activity and sticks tightly to his mother.

Vigorous Display

free range horse photography of an attentive stallion
A mature stallion, one moment quietly grazing, and the next a vigorous display.

There’s nothing like a “mare moment” to energize an otherwise laid-back stallion. In this free range setting, the stallion interacts continuously with his mares. This horse often tends to the mares in a companionable partnership. Sometimes he completely ignores them, at other times he’s commanding, and sometimes mover to aggression. A veteran stallion, he is often gentle and detached. He has a somewhat permissive relationship with the mares as far as their movements as a group are concerned. Interestingly, when the moment calls for it, he has their complete attentions and obedience.

Bravado and Caution

free range horse photography of three fillies looking innocent by a failing oak tree
Three fillies looking innocent by a failing oak tree.

Older foals never cease to entertain me with their mix of bravado and caution. These foals are old enough now to be fully independent; their explorations of me are constant and surprisingly intense.

 

The Will to Survive is Strong

free range horse photography of a new bay filly

“Does anything in nature despair except man? An animal with a foot caught in a trap does not seem to despair. It is too busy trying to survive. It is all closed in, to a kind of still, intense waiting. Is this the key? Keep busy with survival. Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain … ”

–May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude

The will to live is strong in this one.

A Star is Born

free range horse photography of a mare sheltering her newborn foal in woods
An early morning surprise is tiptoeing about in the woods.

Hidden in the woods, a veteran mother keeps a close eye on my approach as her newly foaled buckskin colt delicately explores the world. As the mare’s due dates approach, anticipation of discovering a new foal escalates into pervasive distraction. On those few mornings that reward you with a new baby to meet, life is good.

Can Do

free range horse photography of a newborn colt in a pond
Newborns fearlessly venture into water, which is amazing.

Only in his first day of life and this new colt wades right into the pond with his mother. So far, every newborn foal that encounters the pond carefully steps in without hesitation. When you have no life experience I guess everything is possible. It is amazing that with every passing minute and hour they are completely able to learn balance and obstacle negotiation on land as well as water, along with every other new sensation and bodily function that comes with life in the “outside world”.

Yay! Another New Foal!

free range horse photography of a large newborn foal with a long face
Long of leg and face, this newborn, only several hours old has a lot to grow into in the next few months.

Just looking at this image you cannot tell how tall the foal is. The mare is substantial in size and height. This is her first foal, and he is quite large for a newborn. He is all legs and (I mean this in a good way), all face. I have no doubt that he will grow into his parts and be a beautiful colt. I think he’s striking and he has an air of intelligence, like his mother.

Absolute Devotion

free range horse photography of a new mother's devotion to her new foal
Horse hugs.

Her enthusiasm for her foal is adorable. Her constant nuzzles and touches are met with trust and matched adoration from the filly. They are the perfect cure for anything that may causing you stress.

From Womb to Water

free range horse photography of a newborn foal in a pond with her mother
Less than 24 hours old and this newborn filly is experiencing her new world with mature confidence.

With the courage of a veteran, this newborn filly takes the plunge.

Royalty

free range horse photography of a paint mare with here newborn colt
Welcome to (finally) an new colt to That Herd.

I know what you’re thinking; no spots. Well, I must say, he is spectacular anyway. He’s big, and solid, and long legged, with flashy white; what more could you ask for? And, yes, he’s a colt. Colts are in the minority this year, so let’s hear it for the boys! Welcome to the long legged, handsome boy! The white on his face looks like some sort of royal symbol …

Her Journey Begins

free range horse photography of a one day old foal strolling with her mother
Sporting a cropped mohawk and a determined face, this one-day-old filly strolls beside mother.

With her first day behind her, this new filly purposefully marches beside her mother, matching her every turn and pause. Soon she’ll be investigating her surroundings with confidence.

The Filly Streak Continues!

free range horse photography of a napping newborn filly under her mother
Late day naps are in order on your birth day.

It’s a girl! Again! 2019 Fillies are running in a strong majority for That Herd. Several summer foals are still expected so we will see if that continues. Mother and newborn are just fine. The mare’s roaming patterns were not in my favor today; many tall grasses and mustard seed obscuring my view. She did, kindly, let me approach her and the filly even though she’s only several hours old.