Opposite Day

free range horse photography of a lush springtime landscape
Early April creates a beautiful playground for That Herd youngsters.

In stark contrast to current late-summer-blast-furnace conditions, this lush springtime scene is a refreshing reminder that greener days will come again.

Young horses of varied ages frolic in the watershed ponds that come and go during the rainy times. Currently, every living creature is looking for relief from the intense heat and poor air conditions due to wild fires and record breaking temperatures.

Meeting Her World Head On

free range horse photography of an inquisitive new filly
A face to melt even the coldest heart.

It looks like she’s holding something in her mouth but I guess that’s her concentration-face. The world comes at you from every direction, all day long when you’re only a few days old. She was born small but mighty; a real explorer at heart. I hope she gets her chance to make her mark in this world.

Around the Mountain

In an amusing trick of nature, this colt’s white face marking drips down his face seemingly detoured by the large (noble) bump on his face.

When you can’t climb the mountain; go around it!

His coat is dotted with foxtails from napping in the grass. Among the herd he seems like a solid citizen, not too dramatic and not too laid-back.

free range horse photography of a colt with an unusual face marking
Like an ice cream cone dripping down a child’s arm, this colt’s face marking drips down his face and pools at his muzzle.

Pure Moxie

free range horse photography of an adorable new foal
This bold filly knows no fear in her first couple of days.

Mingling with the mature mares as if she were a seasoned member of the club, this filly is completely nonchalant.

No signs of confusion or anxiety appear as she strolls amongst her superiors.

This new filly showed appropriate signs of humility when met with nods of domination from the mares she wandered too near; she was respectful but never seemed to question her choices.

She is immediately likable for her complete refusal to be seen as less than.

moxie | ˈmäksē | (also moxy) noun North American informal: force of character, determination, or nerve

Blessed Beginning

free range horse photography of a mare and her new foal in a beautiful meadow
Whatever comes next, his first days were sweet.

” … The future was an infinite horizon over which the sun still glimmered its early morning promise.

Everything has a smell and every smell was fresh — the morning air, the sun on the bitumen, the evening rain.

There was just today and that felt like more than enough. … ”

– Richard Flanagan, First Person

(replace bitumen with earth)

Boundless Energy

free range horse photography of two colts galloping over a hilltop
The boundless energy of these young horses requires that they run just about everywhere they go.

Spending time with the horses that are about four or five years old leaves me smirking in amusement over their endless cavorting.

They are constantly challenging and provoking each other in hopes of lively mock battles or jostling sprints.

Memory Lane

wild horse photography portrait of two foals
These two colts had just been running laps around a group of oak trees on a hillside. Several times these two and several others slipped and fell in the dry leaves but jumped up and played on, undeterred. All the foals perform feats of great sure-footedness and stamina from day one. They really seemed to be having fun that morning.
wild horse photography of two colts
Matching colors on these half brothers.

 

wild horse photography of two colts face biting
The colts are in a constant state of provoking, testing, and tolerating each other. The also bond with each other and have a hierarchy of status among their herd-mates.

The blaze-faced chestnut colt was a favorite of all the other foals in 2014. You can see him being lavished with attention by a few of his fellow herd mates in this trio of images. I went back to 2014 to remind everyone that there is lots of interesting content about That Herd that goes back for several years. Also, I should mention that I have lost the use of my computer as it is undergoing a costly repair (again). My photographic productivity is at a standstill. Fresh content will be coming along soon. We have 2020 foals to look forward to!

Not Just Another Pretty Face

free range horse photography of a handsome colt
Lots of white, a flaxen mane and tail, and an expressive face give this colt lots of eye appeal.

This image was taken about a year ago at age three. I have not seen this colt for many months but I look forward to seeing who he is becoming. Below is an image from his first hours of life. He is wet from a trip into the pond with only a few wobbly hours under his belt. If you go way back into previous posts (May, 2015), there are some stories about his first day. To get you started, if you click on the title of this post there is a link at the bottom of the page to a previous post about this foal titled What a Morning!.

 

wild horse photography of an intrepid newborn colt
Rapidly absorbing so many new sights and sensations, this newborn is well on his way to being a clever native born herd member.

Lil Whippersnappers

free range horse photography of newly weaned foals on a hilltop
A few of the youngest That Herd weanlings find excitement at a higher elevation.
whip·per·snap·per
/ˈ(h)wipərˌsnapər/
noun
1. a young and inexperienced person weanling considered to be presumptuous or overconfident.

The Assignment

“When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life.

When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’.

They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.

–John Lennon

free range horse photography of a filly who loves discovery
This filly will not take the easy route; the tangled route is more interesting.

Every day the foals are assigned lessons in life skills. Some make the assignments bend to their unique disposition and I think they are “happier” for it.

She could have simply walked around the scattering of branches but she chose the slow route: sniffing, and touching, and nimbly stepping her way through instead.

 

 

 

 

A Study in Soulful

 

free range horse photography of a June rainy day newborn
On a rare rainy day in June a newborn arrives fuzzy and extra cute.

 

free range horse photography of a young mare with expressive dark eyes
A standout since birth, this filly has beautiful deep, dark eyes.

From Day-One who could resist the dark, expressive eyes on this beautiful filly? Even now, a few years later, she retains the most beautiful soulful eyes. She’s a little older, a little wiser, but still brightly curious and gentle in disposition.

Among Friends

free range horse photography of a handsome grey horse
Looking handsome, a favorite That Herd personality is growing up to be an eye-catching individual.

Horses form close relationships that become subgroups within a herd setting. While it may be anthropomorphic to say horses have friends, they definitely form bonds and make choices within the herd about spending time with favored herd mates. This colt, as a foal, was often entertaining in his interactions with other horses. His personality was inquisitive and social toward not only the other foals but also the adult mares and stallion. Certainly, individual dispositions play a role in this subgroup/friend dynamic. Also, it has been said that horses of a lighter color are often less accepted in herds. There are a couple of theories about why that could be true, but I don’t see that happening as a rule within That Herd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enough of Everything

free range horse photography of a fuzzy filly in spring grass
A fuzzy coat and a green meadow are reminders of spring.

Time well spent leads to a life well lived.

Bravado and Caution

free range horse photography of three fillies looking innocent by a failing oak tree
Three fillies looking innocent by a failing oak tree.

Older foals never cease to entertain me with their mix of bravado and caution. These foals are old enough now to be fully independent; their explorations of me are constant and surprisingly intense.

 

Fresh and Fearless

free range horse photography of a black filly lying in a dainty pose.
The dainty pose of this filly is irresistible.

Don’t let that dainty pose fool you; she is brimming with mischief.

Is’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Super Colt!

free range horse photography of a young colt leaping out of a wooded location
A young foal bursts from the woods in an inspired leap.

Conjuring visions of unicorns in mystical forests, this colt displays wondrous confidence and agility for one so young. He was not startled or fleeing, he was simply filled with the joy of life, and acted out with impulsive, light-hearted energy. He was only five days old on this April morning.

In Love With a Ninja

free range horse photography of two foals meeting nose to nose
A delicate meeting between herd mate foals.
free range horse photography of two foals meeting tenderly
The colt closes his eyes to heighten his sensory meeting with a new filly.
free range horse photography of two foals coming to an understanding
Several weeks his inferior, this filly is a force to be reckoned with for this sturdy colt.

With lightening speed, she rises up to administer a (mock) fatal jab. He never saw it coming.

Good Conscience, Bad Conscience

This image reminds me of the old Looney Toons characters that sat on shoulders as good and bad conscience “angels”. One foal is quite mild and reasonable, while the other is always wild-eyed and suspicious, lurking over the shoulder of the other.

free range horse photography of two older foals
The 2018 foals have become quite independent.

Number Six

There have been only seven foals born this year. This is a charming moment spent with Number Six. I like the ease with which this new colt accepts whatever he encounters. His disposition shows both a softness and an edge, which makes a fine horse.

free range horse photography of a new colt
A colorful colt at about ten days old.

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.