Happy Girls are the Prettiest Girls

free range horse photography of a smoke colored newborn filly
A flashy smoke-grey filly has arrived.

Hey look! She’s the same color as the oak tree bark! At one day old this filly is a joy to observe. Bouncy and independent, her mother follows her carefree explorations instead of the normal foal-follows-mare arrangement.

An Unexpected Arrival

free range horse photography of a week-old filly
A week old and sporting a fuzzy-wuzzy coat for the weather.

She is unusual in many ways. She has an unusual face marking (not entirely visible in this pic), she is unusually stout for a new foal for a maiden mother, she is unusually fuzzy (but the hair-coat is welcome for the wet weather we have been experiencing), and she is unusual because she is completely unexpected, and the sire is a mystery. Despite the foal’s size, it was not obvious her mother was pregnant until the final weeks before birth. Life on the range has a few twists and turns.

Launching a Friendship

free range horse photography of two foals meeting
A younger foal braves the first introduction to a reluctant herd mate.

These two foals are not more than a few days apart, but the bigger foal is shy about introductions. The delicate filly is willing to frisk about with her herd mate, but first she must win him (and his mother) over. She’s a charmer, so I’m sure she succeeded.

Making an Introduction

free range horse photography of a mare and new foal
A new foal has grown her hair coat in mere days, adapting to the many cold rainstorms since her birth.

My first visit with a new foal on a sunny day. When I first observed her during a persistent rainstorm, she appeared brown. Of course she was soaked at that time. Now I can see she is clearly bay.

Sun God Greetings

free range horse photography of a new foal after rain
A new That Herd member welcomes a bit of sunshine after a long rainy night.

A new filly greets the brief sunshine during a long string of winter rainstorms. By human standards, animals endure lots of uncomfortable weather. By animal standards, at least in this climate, they are quick to respond to ever-changing weather conditions with ease.

Brimming With Confidence

free range horse photography of a new January foal
Only a day or two old, this filly is brimming with confidence.

A new foal for a first time mother, this filly benefits from a second protective mare who adopted her and her mom. She is a beautiful dark color with a delicate face. Not afraid to boldly lead the way for one so new, she will only grow in confidence.

Good Conscience, Bad Conscience

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.

free range horse photography of two older foals
The 2018 foals have become quite independent.

Water Baby

A full water trough, after sucking water out of a mud hole swarming with wasps, is a pleasure indeed. This filly played and played, soaking all her herd mates in the process.

free range horse photography of a filly playing in water
A full water trough is a great boredom buster.

 

Any Day Now

Well blog fans, it’s been over a month that I have lived without access to my image files. Even I could not have predicted it would take this long to repair and upgrade my system so I didn’t mention the reason I have not been posting lately. This is an image I took this spring of several mares and fillies browsing in a beautiful location.

free range horse photography of grazing mares
Mares and fillies browse in an oak filled pasture.

Nap to Gallop In No Time Flat

(Thank you Go Daddy Support for helping me bring my site back to life).

Her mother has kept her secluded for over a week, so: wary mare equals wary foal. The filly’s getaway is so quick you can see the foxtails flying through the air around her.

free range horse photography of a wary new foal
Mother has kept this new foal secluded for several days so she is jumpy about my approach.

What a Wonderful World

Even though That Herd horses are accustomed to my appearances, sometimes they don’t want anything to do with me. I don’t take it personally when mares keep their distance with a newborn foal. I can respect the enormous responsibility they face. In a free range environment, one cannot be too careful. In this case, her distance makes for quite a wonderful scene. It’s a filly, by the way.

free range horse photography of a mare and newborn filly
A mare keeps her distance with her one-day-old filly.

Promise Fulfilled

The promise of a healthy foal is fulfilled. Eleven months of wondering and hoping, and then the arrival of a new foal exceeds expectations. Well done, mare. Well done.

free range horse photography of a painted mare and new foal
A beautiful mare and her beautiful new foal.

No Cape, But Super Just the Same

I’m adding another picture to honor this valiant mare for giving birth to such a sturdy foal. Large joints and pointy shoulders were no match for the grit of this Super Mare. Not to mention, it was probably raining at the time too.

free range horse photography of a mare and newborn filly
Congratulations to a valiant mare for giving birth the such a sturdy foal.

Fuzzy Wuzzy

A fuzzy-wuzzy newborn in true black, for your enjoyment.

free range horse photography of a black newborn filly
A true black newborn filly arrives in That Herd.

Girl/Filly Power

(Simply replace the word girl with filly)

“Girl power in my mind is to let girls be exactly what they are. Let them be angry. Let them be resentful. And rebellious. Let them be hard and soft and loving and sad and silly. Let them be wrong. Let them be right. Let them be everything. Because, they are everything.”

–Amy Sherman-Palladino

free range horse photography of two older fillies
Filly herd mates strike all-knowing expression.

Golden Halo

The youngest That Herd filly browses in the grass; the first morning light spills over her, offering its golden glow. Her mother, still a protective distance away, tolerates her independence.

free range horse photography of a filly at first light
A filly browses independently, but her mother is nearby, just in case.

A Oak-Bark Coat

This young filly has changed so much, I barely recognized her after not seeing her for many weeks. Her coloration has deepened into a perfect match for the woody areas where she roams. With herd dark woody brown coat and splotchy white markings, she has perfect camouflage in the trees when the sunlight filters in.

free range horse photography of a filly in the woods
A young filly browses in a dry woody area.

Her Happy Place

“You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from.”

–Joan Didion

This young filly spent a considerable amount of time napping, scratching, and daydreaming among the safety of a twisty oak branch. It reminds me of a thousand images I’ve seen of a horse hanging their head over a stall door or fence. It’s as if captive horses image an ancestral itineracy to pass the time. Interestingly, and in an opposite way, this horse, free to roam as she pleases, seems content to linger in the illusion of confinement in the embrace of something solid.

Free Range Horse Photography of a filly and her twisty branch
A pink filly finds the perfect branch to nuzzle and scratch on.

 

 

Giggle and Skitter About

Any one of the recent realities: excessive heat, intense thunderstorms, earthquakes, wild fires, and a near total solar eclipse could explain the wacky behavior of these young mares one morning. However, like a pack of twittering girls, these fillies are tuned into any excuse to giggle and skitter about for frivolous reasons. It should be noted though, this is still evidence of real herd behaviors that lead to success in the wild. Sticking together and fight or flight are essential tools. Even so many generations removed from authentic wild and feral ancestors, horses that are given the opportunity to live and problem solve in a wild environment tune into their instincts in a relatively short span of time. The information is still in their DNA.

free range horse photography of wacky mare behavior
Like synchronized swimmers, That Herd mares twirl and prance about.

Math, Mystery, and More

Moments like this have such poetry in them; one is inspired to breath deeply and be grateful. I see a story, a painting, a lesson, a memory, math, mystery, and more.

free range horse photography of horses in oats and woods
Woods and oats and alert horses.