Peace-of-Mind Checklist

On any given morning or afternoon I have a mental checklist I run through upon locating the horses. Once I find the mares and foals, I do a  quick scan to check for a few things. First, during the spring and summer, I study the mares that have looked close to foaling, checking for new babies. In this scene, I can see a new foal with the bay mare on the far right. I am surprised by, and make a mental note of, the light color of the baby. Second, I track down the location of the stallion. It’s always wise to know where the herd stallion is at all times. I try to never be between him and his mares. Next, I attempt a count of all the foals, to verify their safety, then I check for each of the other herd members. I also watch for any signs of discomfort, physically or behaviorally, in all the horses. Last, I make some decisions about photography related needs based on the light conditions. All of this happens, without much conscious effort, and it only takes a few seconds. It’s my immediate peace-of-mind-checklist.

wild horse photography of an early morning glimpse at the herd
This is an example of a first glimpse I may get upon discovering the location of the mare and foal herd. Many summer mornings begin with a light fog which relieves the parched grasses of their crunchiness for a while.

Contemplating the Beauty

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserve of strength

that will endure as long as life lasts.

There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature-

the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”

–Rachel Carson

wild horse photography of mares and new foals in late afternoon light
Late afternoon light highlights a beautiful, peaceful moment on Earth.

 

 

 

 

 

My Kind of Morning Eye Opener

“Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.”  – William Wordsworth

wild horse photography of a young paint foal
This kind of scene is my favorite reward for early morning forays out to find That Herd in the late spring. Fog burning off to blue sky, content mares, growing foals; all happy, healthy and doing their thing.

Bright New Day

Peace.

wild horse photography of mares and foals under oak trees in the early morning
A group of mares and foals take a break from grazing in the early morning hours.

Affable and Keen

Two brothers hangin’ in the ‘hood.

wild horse photography of two colts interacting
These half brothers are only a couple of weeks apart in age but already there is a noticeable difference in size. The big blaze faced colt is unassuming, an affable big brother, and the bay colt is earnest and keen.

Taken by Surprise

In search of the mares one spring morning, the fog just burning off, I finally had some luck. These three mares and their new foals were the first to be seen; we surprised each other on this hilltop. I was marching up one side and they were cresting the hill from the other. The sky freshly revealed, all of us caught off guard and a brand new foal made for an unusual and spontaneous shot. The mares were on a mission and proceeded to jog straight past me and the rest of the mares and foals followed directly behind them. This brief encounter left me a little astonished. They were found and gone all in a matter of seconds.

wild horse photography of three mares and their new foals cresting a hilltop
On this spring morning I had to search quite a bit to find the mares. After marching across a field and up a second hill, I suddenly met the mares coming up from the other side. This surprised all of us. These three were in the lead. You can see the attentive concern the dark mare on the right has for her new colt, the bold new filly in the lead and a brand new paint colt, only hours old, pressing to his mother for guidance.