It’s not every year that the oats grow so abundantly, but it’s glorious when it happens.
When the oats are in abundance, it is common to find the mares and foals grazing there each morning.
The infamous “whisker foal” at a couple of days old and about 18 months later. He has matured out of his mop of whiskers.
These images show the “whisker foal” at a few days old and about 18 months later.
Two brothers hangin’ in the ‘hood.
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.
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.
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.
“Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.” – John Muir
This young member of That Herd has an openness to his face, a subdued curiosity.
The stallion presents himself to a mare and foal.
Stallion and mare responding to each other with matching postures while the young filly displays submissive gnashing in the presence of the stallion.
The expression on a horse’s face is an indicator of their mindset. This beautiful young mare is in a happy place inside and out.
Beautiful expression on this young mare.
Try to tear your gaze away from the mesmerizing eyes on this young horse.
It is impossible to ignore the unsettling gaze from this two year old. I’ve seen him many times but each time I marvel anew at the shocking brightness of his eyes in contrast to his dark coat.
The face of acceptance; the softness in her face shows no anxiety about my being there.
This old girl met me on a hilltop. The entire area was shrouded in fog; she and some other mares and foals were filing up and over the hill and she stopped and considered my presence then ambled off.
Passing in close proximity, even a small thundering herd evokes primal thrill.
I can only imagine what it feels like to have a great herd of animals stampede past because just several horses thundering by at close range is awe inspiring.
One of those quiet moments that soothe the soul.
Quiet mare moment under a magnificent oak tree.
A favorite That Herd member is found after a long period of no sightings.
I once did not see this colt for months. I always look for this one because he is my favorite That Herd member. Was I worried? No, not really, it is not uncommon to not find members of That Herd every time you look for them. When I did find him, he was happy, unharmed, and completely unaware that his absence had tugged at my piece of mind for many weeks.
“That night he dreamt of horses in a field on a high plain where the spring rains had brought up the grass and the wildflowers out of the ground and the flowers ran all blue and yellow far as the eye could see and in the dream he was among the horses running and in the dream he himself could run with the horses and they coursed the young mares and fillies over the plain where their rich bay and their rich chestnut colors shone in the sun and the young colts ran with their dams and trampled down the flowers in a haze of pollen that hung in the sun like powdered gold …”
– Cormac McCarthy,
All the Pretty Horses
They ran past for the sheer joy of running. It was a moment when nature can only be praised.
When a filly wakes from a nap and cannot immediately find her mother, she makes several mistakes while soliciting each mare she comes upon for comfort. It was comical to see the foals much more upset by this than the mares. The images are explained in the captions.
The bay filly with the white blaze is confused about the identity of her mother. The paint foal is letting her know that this mother is not hers.
When his first warning is ignored this paint foal makes his defensive gestures a little stronger.
The bay filly is starting to feel desperate when not welcomed by another mare as the irritated colt marches off with his mother.
One of my all time favorite images. This new colt is truly incensed that the confused filly is not relenting in her search for a meal. His face and body language is clearly demonstrating annoyance. His mother, however in unconcerned. The confused filly remains undaunted.
The bay filly is determined she’s found her mom but the colt marches away in disgust at her confusion. The mare’s face shows concern for the other foal but loyalty to her own.
Annoyed that his rebuff has been ignored, the colt pushes his mother away from the hopeful filly.
The persistence of the hungry filly is finally met with a more adamant correction from the chosen mare.
The filly gnashes her mouth in a typical submissive gesture toward the solicited mare.
The resolute filly is convinced she should be nursing as well but is rebuffed by the mare. The filly’s actual mother (the bay) is grazing off in the distance oblivious to her foal’s confusion.
This is not a happy face. The curl of the lip, the wrinkle of the nostril, the thrown back ears are all indicators of his displeasure at the intruding mother-stealing filly.
Finally reunited with her true mother, the bay filly leans in, constantly touching her mother for reassurance. Unquestionably stressed from her ordeal, the filly is weary after her finding-mother mistakes.