Our society is familiar with the office water cooler as a place to hang out and talk about work while not working. The same types of water cooler moments occur with herds of horses. Community hang out spots are normal for horses living in large territories. Even though there is lots of space to roam, certain places become a common area for groups of horses living together to hang out. Often, low growing branches are essential at favorite resting spots. As if at a hitching post or leaning on the top fence rail to observe or converse, horses congregate and pacify themselves by rubbing, chewing, and resting on and near these low oak branches. This image shows one of those places for That Herd. It also shows only two members, but normally the whole bunch (just outside of this shot) clumps together to swat flies and take turns rubbing on the branches. The large grey colt will be two-years old in March and the bay filly will be two in June.
Several months into her life and this filly is brimming with independence.
She seems serious but curious–sincere even–if a horse can be sincere.
The comparison between her two-day-old self and her seven-month-old self is impressive. So much growth in a short amount of time.
Her distinguishing profile has grown right along with everything else. Although her irregular white face marking creates a pleasing optical illusion for her large bump, she will never escape extra attention for her side view.
I love her face, roman nose and all, she’s a charmer.
Zeus was the king of the ancient Greek gods, and the god of the sky, weather, law and order, destiny and fate.
This filly does not have a name, but I call her Zena because she may be the last daughter of a great stallion. Also, Zena means “born of Zeus, welcoming; hospitable; friendly, but with the severe burn of lightening. So far she matches that description. Long may she reign.
Time well spent leads to a life well lived.
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.
That face you make when second place wins the day.
“Is there any instinct more deeply implanted in the heart of man than the pride of protection, a protection which is constantly exerted for a fragile and defenseless creature?” – Honere de Balzac
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.
“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine … ”
–Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks
Summer passes into autumn but our new season simply blends into an extended summer, warm and dry. The spring and summer foals are growing into gangly youths ready to be independent of their mothers.
A full water trough, after sucking water out of a mud hole swarming with wasps, is a pleasure indeed. This filly played and played, soaking all her herd mates in the process.
“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
“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”
Following months of personal and national ups and downs, I/we can find comfort in the everlasting reality that all will be well. This yearling colt is running with several older horses in remote countryside. The lessons he is learning every day will fortify his life in the most productive ways.
Happy Winter. Left to their own devices, horses manage cold weather quite well. Just because That Herd has long summer weather seasons doesn’t mean they don’t experience periods of freezing weather and uncomfortable winter conditions. This is a filly I like decked out in her winter coat.
This group of yearlings keep their curiosity about people under tight control. After some searching under a blanket of low clouds and still air, suspicious pointy shapes (ear tips) in the distance turned out to be nine elusive yearlings.
“Afoot and lighthearted I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me.” –Walt Whitman
“The strongest oak of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It’s the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the wind and rains and scorching sun.”
– Napoleon Hill
About eight months has passed between these images of a riotous filly. As you can see, she still sports the wild eye and wild hairdo. She is as wary as they come, always the first to move away and prepare for flight.
“I know what you are thinking. You are wondering, ‘How is it that he is so strong?’. The man smiled and tapped his finger against his temple. The reason I am so strong is because I think I am.” –Author unremembered
(Remind me if you know what book that quote came from).
In this case, the He would be She. The yearling is a filly.
An almost-yearling holds her own between a bossy two-year-old and a domineering older herd-mate.
Attitude and prudence is always a balancing act.