Summer has set in with it’s usual severity. The burn of the sun and the wind have forced a slower pace to the longer days.
A new mother and her foal make a game of browsing together on spent oat tops. The afternoon light is steeped in the warming hue caused by smokey air from a nearby wildfire.
When you select individual blog posts by clicking on them, a selection of thumbnail links to previous posts can be accessed.
A lone colt wanders through a late day meadow turned glittery and golden on this, the longest day of the year. Summer solstice is not rare and a full moon is even less rare, but the two together, on the same day, happens once in a lifetime. This very day, we not only get the Summer Solstice, but a full moon as well. This has not happened in about 70 years. The longest day of the year will transition into a night sky illuminated by a full moon crossing low in the sky.The Strawberry Moon, as it’s called, marks the ultimate strawberry harvest time; also called the Golden Moon for the amber tint caused by the thick, low atmosphere it is viewed through.
A glorious sea of dry mustard stalks surround a lone colt creating an image that evokes a longing to explore and curiosity about the unknown.
A casual stroll through a meadow by an old mare and her young colt evokes a peaceful ending to the day.
These quiet moments hold some of my favorite memories and attitude reminders. It is difficult to be anything but positive in thoughts and actions in the presence living life one moment at a time; even the worst of times falls away.
adjective (esp. of a time or place) like an idyll; extremely happy, peaceful, or picturesque
” … I love even to see the domestic animals reassert their native rights – any evidence that they have not wholly lost their original wild habits and vigor … ”
” … The seeds of instinct are preserved under the thick hides of cattle and horses, like seeds in the bowels of the earth, an indefinite period.”
In a few moments of self-indulgence, the herd stallion rubs, rolls and scratches in a soft spot in the soil.
Some of the more gregarious members of a That Herd band approach my position. It is not uncommon for the horses to approach and gather all around a visitor, but they cannot be touched and are quick to flee if advanced upon. This lovely scenery is typical of the landscape where these horses roam.
I’m not sure when a hill becomes a mountain, so this location is either atop a high hill or a small mountain. I can say that it is a long climb to get up there, but if horses are there, it’s worth it for the view. Sometimes the horses wait for you to hike up to the top then run away, leaving you out of breath and out of luck. On this occasion the horses stayed and we spent some time together. This group is mostly two-year-olds and a couple older steeds.
Even in small doses, nature changes how we feel.
When was the last time you went outside and did something you remember?
Cut off from the rest of the herd, several mares and foals took a detour to avoid passing near me. One by one, as their bravery and comfort level supported, they streaked by me, in ones and twos, down a steep hill and across a brushy side hill. Interestingly, these same horses, young and old, will allow me to walk among them while they are quietly grazing and moving about minutes later.
An odd assortment of That Herd members, different ages, colors, and dispositions come together during a mountainside trek.
These September days drag by for human and horse alike. All of us, listlessly baking in oppressive heat and humidity, coated in dust, and finding no relief from the heat in the evening are tiring. To say there is a lack of water is a gross understatement at this point, quality feed is scarce, and the mares tire of mothering their demanding offspring. This filly has taken on her mother’s suspicious ways (I rarely see her with a welcoming eye), and has grown in independence daily. Even on this hot morning, she retains a spark of defiance and energy.
It had been many months since I’d laid eyes on ZigZag. I was happy to find him doing something athletic, validating the reason he received his name in the first place. He is a two-year old now. I found him on the morning he was born, only hours old, and he has given me many hours of viewing pleasure ever since.
Surprise encounters initiate this familiar “friend or foe?” horse face. I am a familiar visitor, so I rarely inspire a flight response. These horses are curious and because they are lightly managed, they can be approached. In this case, the horse left his wooded area and came to investigate, bringing nearby herd mates along with him.
As the sun set, something unseen and unheard triggered this large group of horses to move away from their quiet grazing on an open hillside. They filed up and into the woods, traveled single-file through brush and over a tree-lined hilltop, then disappeared into the coming night.
• an innate, typically fixed pattern of behavior in animals in response to certain stimuli
• a natural or intuitive way of acting or thinking
At this point in the summer, anything green catches the attention of the horses. This small oak sapling is not in any real danger of being eaten by the horses, but it’s fresh green leaves are worth investigating.
I like this image of three different generations of That Herd mares, looking content, bathed in a golden glow.
Mature horses filled with youthful behaviors and an old, old mare who manages her energy all live together within That Herd.
An unusual summertime weather pattern brings a tropical influence and a dramatic sky to the landscape where That Herd lives. In this image, two three-year-old colts and some half-wild saddle horses watch me from the shelter of a large oak tree. Even the saddle horses are unapproachable; they think they are wild too; they spend way more time wild than ridden. The exception would be the paint horse. He’s the horse I have labeled “the happiest horse in the world” in previous posts. He seems quite happy to get a visit from a human.