Foals are born with their disposition already developed. This week-old foal makes is clear he will not be intimidated. Several mares and foals were moving about under the shade of a large tree, and any horse that tried to push through this guy’s space got a side-eye-wrinkle-face with the standard head bob and pinned ear warning. This behavior is both a marvel of instinct and giggle-worthy at the shear absurdness of it.
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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.
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.
Shrouded in mist, our feet wet with dewy grass, we couldn’t be happier.
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.
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.
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.
A fuzzy-wuzzy newborn in true black, for your enjoyment.
A rushed evening check on the mare herd reveals a new foal! This leggy bay colt is probably a couple of days old. Night was arriving so I did not have a chance to spend any time observing the new foal. I will reveal, however, that he was not the only new foal.
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.
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.
“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”
– Eleonora Duse
“Much of human behavior can be explained by watching the wild beasts around us. They are constantly teaching us things about ourselves and the way of the universe, but most people are too blind to watch and listen.”
– Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem
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.
… dreamers would have a vast herd of noble steeds, like this one.
A beautiful image captured of a horse I admire.
This mare can be rather odd, but having a new foal seems to distract her in a good way. She seems to enjoy her new foal; it’s the second one she has had. I have her rare cooperation here as she paused just long enough for me to get a nice picture of her and her one-day-old foal.
In honor of nothing particular, here is an image of an April arrival.
“It was a sort of ferocious, quiet beauty, the sort that wouldn’t let you admire it.”
–Maggie Stievfvater, The Dream Thieves
Glaring afternoons surrender to relief degree by degree during the long, hot days of August. Dust rising from the mare and foal pairs as they amble back to a shady grove highlights the stillness of the retreating daylight hours. September is not likely to bring relief from the heat. Feed and water is scant and the patience of the mares often runs thin with the growing rowdiness and demands of the foals, some now nearing six months of age.
The size of this large mare, in comparison to a large stallion, is apparent. True, some element of spatial distortion (like holding a fish out toward the camera to make it appear larger) contributes a little, but really it’s a big horse next to a bigger horse. The intensive gaze of these two illustrates how these free roaming horses are in a state of constant awareness of their surroundings. The problem solving that inevitably comes with that makes for some clever horses.