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.

Observable Evidence

A tender moment between a foal and it’s mother. The expression on the foal’s face is filled with fondness. Moments like these make it harder to not attach human attributes to animals. The perceptions about animal emotions and motivations have long been a topic of conversation; science, art history, mythology, religion, literature and film all have anthropomorphism entwined into their histories. I have long been cautioned to avoid assumptions that animals share any of the same social and emotional capacities of humans and I’m okay with that. Observable evidence is the term used with animal behavior. I have to admit, though, that sometimes the observable evidence looks very human.

This foal spent several moments touching and nuzzling it’s mother’s face, whiskers, eyes and neck. The foal appeared to be simply exploring and connecting with it’s mom. The mare seemed to enjoy the attention and reciprocated delicately.

wild horse photography of a foal nuzzling it's mother
A foal reaches out in a tender moment with it’s mother.


Good Mother, Two Versions

Mares give a quick nip to the hamstring of roughly nursing foals to remind them to be gentle. However, as shown in the second image, mares are more often gentle and attentive with their babies. This is the same mare and foal, in case that’s not obvious.

wild horse photography of a mare disciplining her rough foal
A quick nip to the hamstring reminds this foal to be gentle when nursing. A good mother is also one who disciplines her foal for rough or disrespectful behavior.
wild horse photography of a mare and nursing foal
A good mother gently nuzzling her nursing foal.

Friendly Face Bite

Both horse have pleasant, if not impish expressions, they are just horsing around.

wild horse photography of two horses engaged in friendly face biting
Two herd mates engaged in friendly face biting.


It’s not personal. Acceptable space boundaries change when a newborn foal arrives.

wild horse photography of a mare protective over her newborn
It’s not personal. The mares mainly live in harmony but when a newborn arrives personal space rules are strictly enforced.

Herding or Driving Behavior

The stallion is feeling a greater sense of urgency in this image exhibited by the exaggerated low driving posture.

wild horse photography of a stallion demonstrating herding behavior
In this image the stallion is exhibiting herding or driving behavior. The posture is one of lowered head, stretched neck, ears pinned and sometimes a snake-like back and forth head movement. There is more intensity here demonstrated by the exaggerated low posture and fast gait; the stallion was feeling some sense of urgency to redirect the mares.


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.