Early morning dawns bright but with the threat of unsettled weather. Intense thunderstorms rocked the area all night.
An amiable young mare called Cheeto leads an early morning stroll. In the absence of a stallion’s influence, all it takes is for one horse, any horse usually, to wander off away from the group and a steady procession of others will follow along. I wouldn’t consider this young mare to be a herd leader, so the inspiration to move somewhere else is often just a curiosity moment.
Misty morning munching.
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?!
Moments like this have such poetry in them; one is inspired to breath deeply and be grateful. I see a story, a painting, a lesson, a memory, math, mystery, and more.
Finally, an overcast morning with cooler temperatures. Two attractive horses amble stride for stride through dry grasses. In the distance, charred hills, evidence from a recent wildfire that burned for more than a week into and around That Herd’s range.
Well, look who’s turning grey in a hurry! The last That Herd foal of the year is quickly shedding to grey. Mother and baby have been exploring some unfamiliar hillsides and roaming their newly expanding territory.
Free roaming horses have a mind of their own. They often strike out on their own temporary journeys without the inclusion of their herd mates. The horses mix and remix into smaller then larger groups, and sometimes prefer to explore independent of any company, like this intrepid mare and her new foal.
The world is vast, it’s huge. What a gift it is to have a bad-ass-mom to lead you through your lessons while young. I cannot think you a single mare, as a mother in That Herd’s free range environment, that was not resourceful, vigilant and very long on patience.
“Afoot and lighthearted I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me.” –Walt Whitman
“The strongest oak of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It’s the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the wind and rains and scorching sun.”
– Napoleon Hill
Minus the moments of exasperation with older foals, the mares that have a foal, year after year, (bless their hearts), are able to remain steadfast and committed to the bond with their baby even as their dependence on their mother decreases with age. These two still maintain a strong allegiance though the colt is self sufficient now.
A beautiful and serene image of a foal foraging among the fallen branches in a mature tree. It is a sadness that so many trees have fallen during our prolonged drought, but nature rolls through cycles of good times and hard times.
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.
Glaring afternoons surrender to relief degree by degree during the long, hot days of August. Dust rising from the mare and foal pairs as they amble back to a shady grove highlights the stillness of the retreating daylight hours. September is not likely to bring relief from the heat. Feed and water is scant and the patience of the mares often runs thin with the growing rowdiness and demands of the foals, some now nearing six months of age.
Watching the horses mosey about in the last light of day has great calming benefits; often the golden hour becomes the restorative hour. Grazing peacefully in the late-day sunlight, this mare and foal take advantage of a harvested oat hay hillside. Active wildfire and drought have currently tightened up the roaming territories for That Herd.
The open, interested expressions on these horse’s faces end my day with validation. It is a boost, indeed, when these independent souls greet my presence with curiosity, and initiate inspection. The horses will gather near and around me, but cannot be touched. Our interaction is voluntary and the horses are often amiable and interested. They take turns inspecting and interpreting me, according to pecking order, and strength of disposition. One by one, if they are inspired, they will approach and sniff and stand near. Some are more willing and accepting of a person than others.
“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
” … It still offers us this ability to imagine–and remember.” –Arthur Middleton, Ecologist
The “it” being the remarkableness of all things untamed.
This statement strikes me as appropriate for my attraction to That Herd.
The horses adapt. This is the dry phase of early summer. Coming soon, the drier and driest months.
” … (summer) is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.”
―Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting