Pouring rain energized these newly weaned colts and fillies on an autumn day. They alternated between brief periods of galloping in groups to nervous grazing on the fresh grass. The first week without their mothers is fraught with a million over-reactions which bloom into fitful romps.
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.
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.
” … 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
Kids not running is just not going to happen.
“All failure is failure to adapt, all success is successful adaptation.”
This old mare manages quite well in her environment with the limitation of having only one eye. She has raised several foals and maintained a great attitude; she is an integral member of her herd.
Live streaming of That Herd–the real life version–not the internet type.
The first light of morning is just hitting the hill behind a few young horses investigating a broken oak tree. They are curious, not unlike any child. The broken oak tree evokes a sense of poignancy at the fall of such a mighty tree but also a sense of acceptance; such events are nature’s duty.
Social grooming is an important part of a horse’s healthy herd life. It is a way to give comfort and show affection to other herd members. This type of dorsal, neck and wither grooming is said to reduce the heart rate of the recipients, among other benefits.
This behavior is known as reciprocal allogrooming. It occurs in many animal species.
These two colts spend a lot of time together. They have a special companionship.
For quite some time I have wondered if the off and on pacing gait these horses travel with means anything. Pacing is when both legs land and rise on the same side, working as a lateral pair, as opposed to the more regular diagonal lifting and landing of the legs. Some information I have discovered offers a hypothesis; they say it is a sign of greater fitness when horses that are not naturally gaited breeds travel this way, even if only in a brief or random frequency. Oldtimers say a “running walk” is the sign of a sturdier horse and is essential for efficient mileage. I don’t know. Two beat, three beat and four beat patterns all occur naturally in horses depending on speed but horses with freedom over uneven terrain exhibit an unusual mixture of them all.
The close bond between this mare and colt never waned as the colt grew older. They were inseparable.
This good mother remains serene if I keep my distance when she has a new foal. I respect her boundaries and she ignores me, it works for both of us.
Fresh spring grass proves to be more enticing than just about anything else they could be doing.
“Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.” – William Wordsworth
There are so many things to like about this image. For one, the foal’s expression after many up and down maneuvers, proud but a little exerted. Second, the little black bird near the mare’s head which are often seen on the horse’s backs. Also, the mud on the mare’s back legs that show evidence of a spring or seep drinking hole. The light colored manure pile indicting recent rain is a subtle clue. Finally, the clever shielding of the foal between the mare and the thick brush and the healthy glow of the mare’s flesh and coat; all are signs of successful horse lives. On another note, I don’t name all the foals but I call this one Glitch.
This stallion meets each moment with intelligence and interest.
Both horse have pleasant, if not impish expressions, they are just horsing around.
Early morning put a spring in their step.
This mare appears unconvinced that my presence is nothing to be alarmed about even though she has watched me observe her many times.
(of an animal or person) play and move about cheerfully, excitedly, or energetically