The Burn of the Sun

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.

wild horse photography of two mares eduring early summer heat
Saying goodbye to the sun after a very hot day.

Grazing Game

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.

wild horse photography of a mare and foal grazing on oats
A new mother and her foal browse on oat tops together.

FYI:

When you select individual blog posts by clicking on them, a selection of thumbnail links to previous posts can be accessed.

Solstice Sync

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.

wild horse photography of a colt in the last light of the longest day
A That Herd colt wanders late into the long Solstice day.

The Dry Sea

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.

wild horse photography of a young colt in a field of dry stalks
A young colt moves through a sea of mustard stalks.

 

 

Iddylic

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.

Idyllic |īˈdilik|

adjective  (esp. of a time or place) like an idyll; extremely happy, peaceful, or picturesque

wild horse photography of an old mare and her young foal
The setting sun illuminates an old mare and her young foal as they wander.

Wild Habits

” … 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.”

– Thoreau

wild horse photography of several horses on a mountain top
Several colts, high on a mountain top, see something to be curious about.

 

 

Dust Bath

In a few moments of self-indulgence, the herd stallion rubs, rolls and scratches in a soft spot in the soil.

wild horse photography of a herd stallion scratching his belly in the dirt
The herd stallion rubs, rolls, and scratches in a soft spot in a grassy field.
wild horse photography of a stallion rolling and scratching in dirt
The herd stallion luxuriates in a few moments of rolling in a soft spot.

The Welcoming Committee

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.

wild horse photography of horses moving through backcountry
The more gregarious members of That Herd form a welcoming committee during one of my visits.

Reward at the Top

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.

wild horse photography of several horses on a mountain top
High on a mountain top, several young horses are in the company of an older herd mate.

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.

Detour

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.

wild horse photography of a young colt galloping over uneven terrain
Streaking by, this colt gallops effortlessly over vegetation and steep inclines and descents.

Assorted Herd Mates

An odd assortment of That Herd members, different ages, colors, and dispositions come together during a mountainside trek.

wild horse photography of a selection of horses in a late afternoon landscape
A random selection of horses move through a landscape bathed in late afternoon light.

Dog Days of Summer

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.

wild horse photography of an independent filly
The foals grow in independence daily; this filly is unconcerned that her mother is not visible.

Last Light Illuminates ZigZag

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.

wild horse photography of a young horse moving through a wooded area
As the sun slips behind the mountain, the horses march past me, then disappear into the woods.

Friend or Foe?

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.

wild horse photography of a vigilant horse
My approach has been spotted by a vigilant horse.

Nightfall

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.

instinct
noun |ˈinstiNGkt|
• an innate, typically fixed pattern of behavior in animals in response to certain stimuli
• a natural or intuitive way of acting or thinking

wild horse photography of a group of horses traveling in steep terrain at sunset
Sunset triggered something in a large group of horses to file up and over the mountainside and disappear.

 

Anything Green

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.

wild horse photography of a foal investigating fresh leaves
Something green catches the attention of a passing foal.

Matriarchs, Mothers and Maidens

I like this image of three different generations of That Herd mares, looking content, bathed in a golden glow.

wild horse photography of a few That Herd mares
Something has caught the eye(s) of some of the That Herd mares.

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.

Summer Sky

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.

wild horse photography of That Herd members under a cloudy summer sky
Tropical moisture creates a dramatic sky above That Herd on a summer day.