I wondered what was inspiring the snorting and animation in this cherished mare. She’s always amusing me with her bright expressions and amiable manner. One this occasion, she had every right to be on alert. She had noticed a large snake; it was as big around as my arm and at least six feet long. I didn’t see it’s head but I saw the rest of it and the tail as it disappeared down a hole. I’m guessing a gopher snake.
” … I am in a thousand winds that blow, I am the softly falling snow, I am the gentle showers of rain, I am the fields of ripening grain.
Of birds circling in flight, I am the starshine of the night.
I am the flowers that bloom, I am in a quiet room.
I am the birds that sing, I am in each lovely thing. … ”
–Mary Elizabeth Frye
I have many images of her. Her qualities as a horse stood out in memorable ways.
Even at an advanced age, this image from nine months ago shows her irresistible, ever-present spark.
The seeds of Milk Thistle have been used to support the growth of new liver cells and aid in the health of the liver, kidneys, and other digestive organs.
I have read conflicting information about the benefits and dangers to horses who eat thistle. Most horses love to eat the flower heads off late spring milk thistle plants. The thorns of the plant are most unforgiving but horses gingerly bite the heads off, chew, swallow and then eat every other mature thistle flower in sight as well. Their behavior leads me to believe they consider it somewhat of a delicacy, like a delicious cookie.
Blessed Are the Broodmares
Blessed are the broodmares in the field,
Patiently carrying their heavy load
Without complaint waiting for the big day,
When they, without a sound, lay down in the straw
And then the most amazing thing happens,
The miracle of a brand new life.
Now the everlasting circle is complete,
The amazing wonder of a living thing.
The foundation stock of every breed,
How fast we all happen to forget,
Where all our champions came from.
How fast we are to discard the blessed ones.
When they get too old or unproductive,
The most tolerant members of every breed,
Raising their young without ever a mumble,
Loyal beyond everyone’s compare.
Till they go on to raise the next one,
When will we finally wake up and see
How enormously grateful we should be
For the blessed ones we so easily forget?
Wildness is not defined by the absence of certain activities, but rather by the presence of certain unique and invaluable characteristics.
This stallion is forced to stay light on his feet around this big mare. One minute she naps nose to nose with him, and in the next moment, she sets him back on his heels over control of the air space over a mud hole. Granted, water is scarce, but this was a crabby moment, not a desperate thirst moment.
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.
The end of the year brings inevitable reflection, and this mare deserves to be a poster-child to that end. She has suffered through the loss of her foal at only a few days old and then survived a terrible illness. Still in the recovery months, she shows tremendous spirit and bright promise for the new year. Good girl.
(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.”
A powerful mare emerges from woody terrain to investigate my visit. She is young and strong and good-natured. I think she looks lovely in this setting.
Aurora Musis amica. (Dawn is friend of the muses).
There is no heat yet from the sun; the only hour of this day that won’t be hot until well after sunset. It was not cool, just not hot yet. This put a spring in her step, and doesn’t that light make her look pretty?!
I have a lot to say about horses eating thistles when surrounded by other (seemingly better) choices, I just don’t have a lot to say right now. In the mean time, here is a delightful, good-natured mare eating a thistle with plenty of other grasses underfoot.
“Where the waters do agree, it is quite wonderful the relief they give.”
–Jane Austen, Emma
(Even for a horse)
I have taken my time in introducing the That Herd stallion this year. He is a new individual to me, and I wanted to get a sense of what kind of horse he is. At this point, he seems very tolerant of my visits and displays a wide range of attitudes toward the mares. From aloof, to tolerant, to nurturing, to dismissive, he has shown many sides. Granted, I am only observing for very small pieces of time in the grand scheme of a 24 hour day. It is interesting to have observed so many different characteristics in these small moments though. It is evidence of how complex and individual horses are, especially when they have the freedom to interact and express their personalities among other horses.
I can take a hundred photos of the same horse, but only very rarely do I feel like I captured a picture of the horse I see in in that moment. The differences in the images are slight, and without anything to compare it to, you, as a viewer would not find fault with the horse’s portrayal. For example, this image spoke to me while several other images that are very similar, did not. This is a complex young mare, who often disappears in a crowd. She is plain looking and quietly lives among her herd mates. These observations contrast the very real fact that she is an amazing individual with intelligence and fortitude. The less obvious qualities of a horse, when captured in an image, are priceless.
” … She holds her breath. As if to stop any more time from passing, to stop the future happening. The peacefulness of the morning is almost heartbreaking in its fragility.” –Glenn Haybittle, The Way Back To Florence
I see lovely imagery of horses daily; often they are stout steeds with thick manes and tails billowing, flashy markings, arched necks, and animated limbs creating instant dreamy joy for any horse lover, myself included. The same effect can be achieved by a common horse in quiet repose in a familiar local setting. Horses are amazing.
“The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature
Disrupt, interfere, impede. This is what she does.
“The fact that the lower animals are excited by the same emotions as ourselves is so well established, that it will not be necessary to weary the reader by many details. Terror acts in the same manner on them as on us, causing the muscles to tremble, the heart to palpitate, the sphincters to be relaxed, and the hair to stand on end. Suspicion, the offspring of fear, is eminently characteristic of most wild animals. Courage and timidity are extremely variable qualities in the individuals of the same species, as is plainly seen in our dogs. Some dogs and horses are ill-tempered, and easily turn sulky; others are good-tempered; and these qualities are certainly inherited … ” – Charles Darwin, On the Origin of the Species
A handful of blizzard snow and black as a high-noon shadow. Horses evoke such poetry, even a common horse has the potential to shine in moments of spirited eruptions; they just have that gift within them. To witness a triumphant horse is a guaranteed mood elevator. This mare was like that on this day–a gift–she gave repeated fleeting glimpses, and then she was gone.