No Cape, But Super Just the Same

I’m adding another picture to honor this valiant mare for giving birth to such a sturdy foal. Large joints and pointy shoulders were no match for the grit of this Super Mare. Not to mention, it was probably raining at the time too.

free range horse photography of a mare and newborn filly
Congratulations to a valiant mare for giving birth the such a sturdy foal.

Fuzzy Wuzzy

A fuzzy-wuzzy newborn in true black, for your enjoyment.

free range horse photography of a black newborn filly
A true black newborn filly arrives in That Herd.

Babe in the Woods

A rushed evening check on the mare herd reveals a new foal! This leggy bay colt is probably a couple of days old. Night was arriving so I did not have a chance to spend any time observing the new foal. I will reveal, however, that he was not the only new foal.

free range horse photography of a new foal
An early evening check on the mares reveals a new foal.

 

In the Shade of a Great Pine

Pockets of tall pine trees dot the territory where That Herd horses roam. These colts, temporarily separated from their herd mates, browse in a beautiful pocket of young and mature pines, sycamores and valley oak trees.

free range horse photography of colts browsing in the woods
Growing up agile and strong, these young colts browse in a wooded area.

Horseplay

Horses that have the freedom to roam in large territories have active social lives. Male horses, both young and old, spar with each other quite a bit. Size is not a deterrent; horses that are diminutive in size openly challenge herd mates that out-class them in weight and experience. These two blokes are rather evenly matched and only halfhearted in their effort.

free range horse photography of male horses spar
Constant sparring occurs between male horses when they have the freedom to roam.

The Quietest Parade Ever

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”

– Eleonora Duse

free range horse photography of horses and deer
Young That Herd spectators observe a wildlife parade.

Indomitable

The end of the year brings inevitable reflection, and this mare deserves to be a poster-child to that end. She has suffered through the loss of her foal at only a few days old and then survived a terrible illness. Still in the recovery months, she shows tremendous spirit and bright promise for the new year. Good girl.

free range horse photography of a resilient young mare
That indomitable spirit still shows after a challenging year for this young mare.

Proud Moment

This mare is a good mother. She has had many foals, and they all have benefited from their mother’s nurturing disposition. Even in this image, shortly after giving birth to a rather large filly, she looks bright and proud.

free range horse photography of a mare and her newborn colt
A good mare poses with her large newborn colt.

A Spring in His Step

“A horse is a thing of beauty … none will tire of looking at him as long as he displays himself in his splendor.”

–Xenophon

Free range horse photography of a fiery chestnut
The equine form is endlessly inspiring.

 

 

Good Judgement

“Much of human behavior can be explained by watching the wild beasts around us. They are constantly teaching us things about ourselves and the way of the universe, but most people are too blind to watch and listen.”

– Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

free range horse photography of wandering young colts
Young horses learn daily, guided by instinct and common sense. They learn from their mistakes and thrive when good judgement prevails.

Girl/Filly Power

(Simply replace the word girl with filly)

“Girl power in my mind is to let girls be exactly what they are. Let them be angry. Let them be resentful. And rebellious. Let them be hard and soft and loving and sad and silly. Let them be wrong. Let them be right. Let them be everything. Because, they are everything.”

–Amy Sherman-Palladino

free range horse photography of two older fillies
Filly herd mates strike all-knowing expression.

Golden Halo

The youngest That Herd filly browses in the grass; the first morning light spills over her, offering its golden glow. Her mother, still a protective distance away, tolerates her independence.

free range horse photography of a filly at first light
A filly browses independently, but her mother is nearby, just in case.

A Oak-Bark Coat

This young filly has changed so much, I barely recognized her after not seeing her for many weeks. Her coloration has deepened into a perfect match for the woody areas where she roams. With herd dark woody brown coat and splotchy white markings, she has perfect camouflage in the trees when the sunlight filters in.

free range horse photography of a filly in the woods
A young filly browses in a dry woody area.

Her Happy Place

“You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from.”

–Joan Didion

This young filly spent a considerable amount of time napping, scratching, and daydreaming among the safety of a twisty oak branch. It reminds me of a thousand images I’ve seen of a horse hanging their head over a stall door or fence. It’s as if captive horses image an ancestral itineracy to pass the time. Interestingly, and in an opposite way, this horse, free to roam as she pleases, seems content to linger in the illusion of confinement in the embrace of something solid.

Free Range Horse Photography of a filly and her twisty branch
A pink filly finds the perfect branch to nuzzle and scratch on.

 

 

Rainbow’s End

Early morning dawns bright but with the threat of unsettled weather. Intense thunderstorms rocked the area all night.

Free range horse photography of a horse under a rainbow
Any landscape can be made better by adding a horse.

Confidence

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”  – E.E. Cummings

 

A fresh face in That Herd. He has loads of vigor and high spirit.

free range horse photography of a spirited colt
A three year old colt with loads of confidence.

 

 

 

Giggle and Skitter About

Any one of the recent realities: excessive heat, intense thunderstorms, earthquakes, wild fires, and a near total solar eclipse could explain the wacky behavior of these young mares one morning. However, like a pack of twittering girls, these fillies are tuned into any excuse to giggle and skitter about for frivolous reasons. It should be noted though, this is still evidence of real herd behaviors that lead to success in the wild. Sticking together and fight or flight are essential tools. Even so many generations removed from authentic wild and feral ancestors, horses that are given the opportunity to live and problem solve in a wild environment tune into their instincts in a relatively short span of time. The information is still in their DNA.

free range horse photography of wacky mare behavior
Like synchronized swimmers, That Herd mares twirl and prance about.

Morning Stroll

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.

free range horse photography of a young mare leading a morning stroll
A pleasant young mare leads the morning stroll to a water source.

Got Milk?

Misty morning munching.

Free range horse photography of foals in oat field
One of the oldest and one of the youngest foals this year join up for some oat munching.

Making Sense of Scents

A veritable treasure trove of information, horse manure holds clues to all sorts of social information. Used to advertise sexual status and territories for both males and females, determine useful information about forage, wellness, and surroundings, poop is an essential tool in a horses awareness of it’s surroundings.

free range horse photography of horses investigating manure
Horses examine all sorts of information from smelling manure; especially intact males.