Protective

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.

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.

Floating on a Sea of Oats

It’s not every year that the oats grow so abundantly, but it’s glorious when it happens.

wild horse photography of a mare and young foal in an oat field
When the oats are in abundance, it is common to find the mares and foals grazing there each morning.

 

Introductions

The stallion presents himself to a mare and foal.

wild horse photography of a stallion greeting a mare and foal
Stallion and mare responding to each other with matching postures while the young filly displays submissive gnashing in the presence of the stallion.

Dreaming of Horses

“That night he dreamt of horses in a field on a high plain where the spring rains had brought up the grass and the wildflowers out of the ground and the flowers ran all blue and yellow far as the eye could see and in the dream he was among the horses running and in the dream he himself could run with the horses and they coursed the young mares and fillies over the plain where their rich bay and their rich chestnut colors shone in the sun and the young colts ran with their dams and trampled down the flowers in a haze of pollen that hung in the sun like powdered gold …”

– Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

wild horse photography of a mare and new foal running in a meadow
They ran past for the sheer joy of running. It was a moment when nature can only be praised.

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.

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.