“Summer bachelors like summer breezes, are never as cool as they pretend to be.”
– Nora Ephron
Grazing times are good for that herd due to lots of February rain. Someone asked to see an updated image of the spotted colt. He was born tiny but is growing just fine. He is close to three years-old now.
Eyes darkened with kindness, a herd stallion greets his herd mate, a gelding. Stallions will live together with civility among other stallions and geldings as long as no mares or fillies are present. This dark bay stallion, a personal favorite, has always charmed me with his thoughtful expressions.
This image reminds me of the old Looney Toons characters that sat on shoulders as good and bad conscience “angels”. One foal is quite mild and reasonable, while the other is always wild-eyed and suspicious, lurking over the shoulder of the other.
Like a pleasant oasis, this tree lined lane gives some relief from the constant heat and dryness of summer. It’s nice to see some green around the horses for a change.
“Soak in what’s real and what’s real in unhurried. The ground. The air. The exhale. The planted seed. The shift. The season.” – Victoria Erickson
A new colt, first seen at about a week old, is doted on by his mother. She is not keen on my getting close, and moves away often. The colt amused me by making a mad face at all the horses, foals or mares, who ventured too close to him. He looks innocent enough in this image though.
Roaming in a natural environment allows for rapid and constant skill building that sharpen confidence, stamina, problem solving, and survival reflexes. This new colt is probably a couple of days old and he is already comfortable exploring away from his mother.
Pockets of tall pine trees dot the territory where That Herd horses roam. These colts, temporarily separated from their herd mates, browse in a beautiful pocket of young and mature pines, sycamores and valley oak trees.
He’s looks cute, but he’s a fighter. Shoving and biting, rearing and racing, the colts use their free time to practice techniques that may help them, in the future, win mares. Even the castrated colts engage with alarming intensity, securing social position or defending it.
Horses that have the freedom to roam in large territories have active social lives. Male horses, both young and old, spar with each other quite a bit. Size is not a deterrent; horses that are diminutive in size openly challenge herd mates that out-class them in weight and experience. These two blokes are rather evenly matched and only halfhearted in their effort.
A July image of a colt, both attractive and strong; he has an unusual blue slice of color in his left eye.
A veritable treasure trove of information, horse manure holds clues to all sorts of social information. Used to advertise sexual status and territories for both males and females, determine useful information about forage, wellness, and surroundings, poop is an essential tool in a horses awareness of it’s surroundings.
Finally, an overcast morning with cooler temperatures. Two attractive horses amble stride for stride through dry grasses. In the distance, charred hills, evidence from a recent wildfire that burned for more than a week into and around That Herd’s range.
Legs crossed and mouth exploring, this three day old colt creates an endearing sight.
This group of yearlings keep their curiosity about people under tight control. After some searching under a blanket of low clouds and still air, suspicious pointy shapes (ear tips) in the distance turned out to be nine elusive yearlings.
A sweeter moment cannot be captured. Completely at ease, a colt ambles past. Young enough to still be a baby but old enough to be independent of his mother, this soon-to-be-weaned colt gave me one of those rare moments of natural perfection, and one of my favorite things; a horse being a horse, in the most beautiful way.
Green spring grass and a new colt launched in an exploratory flight pattern, for your enjoyment. The vibrancy of this moment is contagious.
“The nature of the horse remains unchanged, whether it carries the saddle of the prince, or whether it draws the cart of the wagoner. The noble ones accept the yoke, they serve, but will never be slaves, for to themselves they can never be traitors.”
–H.H. Isenbart, The Kingdom of the Horse
Coming across this image the other day I was struck by two things. One, the green grass that is too short lived here, and two, the body language of the foal, which matches the Olympic athletes currently competing in Rio. The unfocused eye, the head tilt, the challenger-ear position, the balance and propulsion, all speak to the innate ability of a horse’s grace and quality of courage and energy, just like the Olympic athletes when in their “zone”. (Accept, of course, humans don’t display the challenger-ear position, a phrase I totally made up, by the way.)