Spring Palette

I couldn’t help but think this colt, with his brown on white spots, in this soft springtime palette, looked like an Easter Bunny.

wild horse photography of a flashy paint colt in a late afternoon palette of color
What a pretty lad he is in this image; flashy and showing some attitude.

 

 

 

 

Burst of Friskiness

This foal caught me by surprise with it’s burst of exuberant energy; this spontaneous friskiness did not go unnoticed by a nearby herd mate.

wild horse photography of a frisky foal
This youngster’s spontaneous burst of friskiness does not go unnoticed.

Best Mates

Social grooming is an important part of a horse’s healthy herd life. It is a way to give comfort and show affection to other herd members. This type of dorsal, neck and wither grooming is said to reduce the heart rate of the recipients, among other benefits.

This behavior is known as reciprocal allogrooming. It occurs in many animal species.

These two colts spend a lot of time together. They have a special companionship.

wild horse photography of two foals grooming each other
Sometimes horses form closer bonds with certain herd members. I wouldn’t say opposites attract in this case, more like similar dispositions attract.

My Kind of Morning Eye Opener

“Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.”  – William Wordsworth

wild horse photography of a young paint foal
This kind of scene is my favorite reward for early morning forays out to find That Herd in the late spring. Fog burning off to blue sky, content mares, growing foals; all happy, healthy and doing their thing.

Introduction

About to be introduced to the rest of the herd for the first time, this mare reassures her new foal.

wild horse photography of a mare approaching with her newborn
Early in the morning, the fog just lifting, a mare cautiously rejoins the others after the birth of her foal earlier that morning. The foal’s ear was still a little lopsided from time spent pressed in the womb, which was endearing. I like this picture because the foal is making a scrunchy face as the mare constantly reassures him as they approach. The foal was intrepid and the one I later dubbed Zig Zag.

Before and Later

The infamous “whisker foal” at a couple of days old and about 18 months later. He has matured out of his mop of whiskers.

wild horse photography comparing a foal and yearling picture of the same horse
These images show the “whisker foal” at a few days old and about 18 months later.

 

 

Affable and Keen

Two brothers hangin’ in the ‘hood.

wild horse photography of two colts interacting
These half brothers are only a couple of weeks apart in age but already there is a noticeable difference in size. The big blaze faced colt is unassuming, an affable big brother, and the bay colt is earnest and keen.

Taken by Surprise

In search of the mares one spring morning, the fog just burning off, I finally had some luck. These three mares and their new foals were the first to be seen; we surprised each other on this hilltop. I was marching up one side and they were cresting the hill from the other. The sky freshly revealed, all of us caught off guard and a brand new foal made for an unusual and spontaneous shot. The mares were on a mission and proceeded to jog straight past me and the rest of the mares and foals followed directly behind them. This brief encounter left me a little astonished. They were found and gone all in a matter of seconds.

wild horse photography of three mares and their new foals cresting a hilltop
On this spring morning I had to search quite a bit to find the mares. After marching across a field and up a second hill, I suddenly met the mares coming up from the other side. This surprised all of us. These three were in the lead. You can see the attentive concern the dark mare on the right has for her new colt, the bold new filly in the lead and a brand new paint colt, only hours old, pressing to his mother for guidance.

Are You My Mother?

When a filly wakes from a nap and cannot immediately find her mother, she makes several mistakes while soliciting each mare she comes upon for comfort. It was comical to see the foals much more upset by this than the mares. The images are explained in the captions.

Life is Good

wild horse photography of a mare and new foal in grass
This mare and her new foal look content on a late spring afternoon. Those birds are often seen on the backs of grazing horses, I’ve seen a dozen at a time on some.

Sharing the Love

wild horse photography of two colts face biting
The colts are in a constant state of provoking, testing, and tolerating each other. The also bond with each other and have a hierarchy of status among their herd-mates.

The Warning

During the first few days of life the mares are very vigilant with other herd members about keeping their distance from the newborns. As a whole, though, the mares and the stallion are very tolerant and accepting of each other.

wild horse photography a new mother warns another mare to stay away from her newborn
A curious mare receives a strong warning to keep her distance from a newborn foal.

For As Far As The Eye Can See

wild horse photography of mare and newborn in oat pasture
Finding this mare in a field of oats gave me a real opportunity to see her new foal. Only a couple of days old in this picture, I had been trying to get a glimpse of this filly; her mother was always in a hurry to move away when I showed up and kept herself between me and the foal until she was out of sight. She is an elusive mare with a newborn so I started calling her Nemisis.