Clever Mare

Disrupt, interfere, impede. This is what she does.

wild horse photography portrait of an intelligent mare
This mare shows signs of intelligence beyond the norm for a horse.

“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

Then She Was Gone

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.

wild horse photography of a pretty galloping mare
At ease and high-spirited, this pretty mare gallops around the other mares in a wide circle.

Narrowly Escaping a Bad Ending

I was surprised this meandering mare even noticed this passing tarantula. She briefly lipped the spider, and passed over it, probably narrowly avoiding a painful bite. Once cast aside, sheer luck spared the tarantula a smashing from her stepping hooves. After this hoof, then another, the spider negotiates a few other passing mares, is spared again and again, and goes about it’s charmed tarantula life.

wild horse photography of a mare investigating a tarantula
A colorful mare investigates a passing tarantula.
wild horse photography of a tarantula nearly under walking hooves
After discarding a tarantula with a flick of her lip, the spider is in grave danger from this mare’s walking hooves.
wild horse photography of a mare nearly stepping on a tarantula
Oh dear, danger, tarantula, danger! A mare nearly steps on a passing tarantula.
wild horse photography of a tarantula under the hooves of passing horses
As many mares pass, this tarantula dodges hoof after hoof.

Change How You Feel

Even in small doses, nature changes how we feel.

When was the last time you went outside and did something you remember?

wild horse photography of a paint mare in a sunny field
Soothing natural late spring beauty of a That Herd mare.

The Old and the Young, Alike

Mature horses filled with youthful behaviors and an old, old mare who manages her energy all live together within That Herd.

wild horse photography of an old, old mare
I’m told this old mare has to be over thirty-five years old but she still manages to live a healthy life.
wild horse photography of two mature horses in mock battle
Young and strong, these mature horses are filled with feel-good energy and engage in mock battles.

The Standoff

A previous blog post or two has mentioned this unusual event but I have not shared this image yet.

In the first hours after giving birth, a new mother (her first foal) is in a standoff with an old mare who is intent on stealing her newborn filly. The new mother was distracted with not feeling well in connection to passing the placenta and was lying down quite a bit. The old mare, who has not had a foal of her own in years, swooped in and took ownership of the newborn. The newborn was not equipped to understand the situation and began bonding with the old mare, who was standing and attentive, even attempting to nurse from the old mare. In this image, you can read what’s happening on each horses face. Apprehension from the disheveled black mare as she tries to unravel what’s happening; this is her first foal, so she has no experience with motherhood. Some distress and fatigue for the newborn and resolute defiance from the old paint mare. After much confusion and some human intervention everything was made right. All is well for the new mother and her foal, and the old mare has accepted that she failed (for the good of all) in her attempt.

wild horse photography of a standoff between two mares over a newborn foal
A standoff between a new mother and an old mare intent on stealing her newborn baby.

Be Somewhere Wild

Observing the morning light first touching the day, cold and golden, degree by degree, is the most amazing rejuvenation. A day that looms, full of mindless obligations or dreary business is pushed far back when a dawn of brilliance shines in on your soul and makes everything clean and clear and calm, if only for a few minutes. Even the suspicious eye of this startled filly did not lessen the sparkle and song of such a day’s beginning. Be somewhere wild before the sun rises once in a while and your perspective will change. That, I can guarantee.

wild horse photography of a filly bathed in morning light with scenery
Morning light bathes a filly on a crisp January morning.


This time, with a timid mare, the stallion takes a gentle approach, coaxing her attention with quiet nuzzling. This behavior stands out in comparison to rowdy interactions that mares with stronger personalities instigate. This illustrates that stallions are not just breeding brutes, but herd leaders capable of complex social interactions based on the dispositions he is dealing with.

wild horse photography of a stallion coaxing a timid mare
The gentle approach from the stallion with a timid mare seems intuitive.

Shine Your Light, Bay Mare

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”

—Martha Washington

wild horse photography portrait of a beautiful mare
The beautiful attitude of this mare is always readable on her face.


I just love it when broodmares look majestic. She is likely in her twenties.

exalted, elevated, noble, lofty, awe-inspiring, majestic, magnificent, glorious, superb, wonderful, marvelous, splendid; informal: fantastic, fabulous, terrific, heavenly, divine, out of this world.

wild horse photography of an old mare looking majestic
When living a life of freedom, majesty in an old mare, is the best kind.

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”



Inseparable Trio

Considering that there was no affiliation or loyalty between these two mares before the older mare gave birth this year, it is a wonder that the young paint mare has attached herself the the older mare and foal. The paint mare loyally follows the other mare and has taken to caring for the foal with devotion.

wild horse photography of a young mare that follows a certain old mare and her foal
The paint mare has been attached to this mare and foal every since the foal’s birth.
wild horse photography of a young mare nuzzling another mare's foal
A young mare checking on a foal that is not her own.
wild horse photography of an inseparable trio of horses
A self-appointed surrogate mare stands near the favored foal while the mother grazes nearby.
wild horse photography of an young mare bonding with another mare's foal
This young paint mare has been attached to this foal since his birth; she follows him everywhere.

The above images shows the “God Mother” mare grooming her adopted foal while the actual mother grazes.

The image below shows the trio with the herd stallion. This is the first time I have observed this stallion interacting with a herd foal.

wild horse photography of a foal greeting the herd stallion
A young foal greets the herd stallion.

Grandma Turns Opportunist

A newborn foal rests under the protection of an old mare. The first-time mother of this foal was distracted by discomfort associated with the birth so the old mare (who has not had a foal of her own for years) swooped in and took charge.

wild horse photography of an old mare protecting another mare's newborn foal
A newborn foal rests under the protection of a “grandma” mare.

Quiet Negotiations

Interactions between mares and stallions are surprisingly varied. While some meetings are boisterous, squalling, dust-raising, kicking and pawing affairs, others are gentler, less obvious and barely noticeable. Often, the quieter mares merely glide in beside the stallion and present themselves without being pursued at all. Their communications and actions are subtle, demure even.

wild horse photography of a mare and stallion communicating
Gentle negotiations between a mare and herd stallion.

You Go, Girl!

Just look at the buoyancy and light-hearted spirit in this very pregnant mare! With her eyes lit up and her positive disposition, she is a sight to behold.

wild horse photography of a very pregnant, very lively mare
Late in her pregnancy this mare still has a spring in her step and high spirits. Bravo!

Night Was Arranging Herself Around Us

” … the redness had seeped from the day and night was arranging herself around us. Cooling things down, staining and dyeing the evening purple and blue black.”

— Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees

wild horse photography of a mare under a dramatic sky
One mare strides past as dusk settles in; a dramatic sky suspended overhead.

Keeping a Wary Eye

This mare appears unconvinced that my presence is nothing to be alarmed about even though she has watched me observe her many times.

wild horse photography of a wary mare
The face of one who is cautious but not afraid. This mare is more wary than many of her herd-mates.


The expression on a horse’s face is an indicator of their mindset. This beautiful young mare is in a happy place inside and out.

wild horse photography portrait of a beautiful young mare
Beautiful expression on this young mare.

Misty Meeting

The face of acceptance; the softness in her face shows no anxiety about my being there.

wild horse photography portrait of an old mare
This old girl met me on a hilltop. The entire area was shrouded in fog; she and some other mares and foals were filing up and over the hill and she stopped and considered my presence then ambled off.

Under the Magnificent Oak

One of those quiet moments that soothe the soul.

wild horse photography of mares under a giant oak tree
Quiet mare moment under a magnificent oak tree.

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.