New Kid on the Block

free range horse photography of a new filly on parade
A filly on parade at a couple of days old.

Strolling through the neighborhood.

Bountiful Day

free range horse photography of green grass and running water
Ahhh, running water and green grass, it’s been so long since you were here.

“I will tell you where there is power: where the dew lies upon the hills, and the rain has moistened the roots of the various plant; where the sunshine pours steadily; where the brook runs babbling along, there is a beneficent power.

–Edwin Hubbel Chapin

Evasion and Motherhood

free range horse photography of a newborn foal fleeing with mother
Instinct demands the mother be circuitous with her new foal.

Some foals simply name themselves. Because this filly is the result of a cross between a big black horse named Street Fighter and a black mare called Flower Child, her racehorse name will be War and Peace.

(Not that she will be a racehorse, it’s a naming game horse people play).

Also, she has a face marking that looks like a crescent moon and the planet Venus, so she could be called Venus and Mars. The violence vs gentle theme still applies. Shall we call her Peace or Venus?

Reluctant Introduction

free range horse photography of a black mare and black newborn filly
A new mother reluctantly presents her newborn foal.

Looking a bit disheveled and weary, this new mother skirts the perimeters of the herd with her newborn filly. The foal is a day old and still has the wrinkly, albeit dry, wavy patterns in her black hair-coat.

Happy Girls are the Prettiest Girls

free range horse photography of a smoke colored newborn filly
A flashy smoke-grey filly has arrived.

Hey look! She’s the same color as the oak tree bark! At one day old this filly is a joy to observe. Bouncy and independent, her mother follows her carefree explorations instead of the normal foal-follows-mare arrangement.

An Unexpected Arrival

free range horse photography of a week-old filly
A week old and sporting a fuzzy-wuzzy coat for the weather.

She is unusual in many ways. She has an unusual face marking (not entirely visible in this pic), she is unusually stout for a new foal for a maiden mother, she is unusually fuzzy (but the hair-coat is welcome for the wet weather we have been experiencing), and she is unusual because she is completely unexpected, and the sire is a mystery. Despite the foal’s size, it was not obvious her mother was pregnant until the final weeks before birth. Life on the range has a few twists and turns.

Launching a Friendship

free range horse photography of two foals meeting
A younger foal braves the first introduction to a reluctant herd mate.

These two foals are not more than a few days apart, but the bigger foal is shy about introductions. The delicate filly is willing to frisk about with her herd mate, but first she must win him (and his mother) over. She’s a charmer, so I’m sure she succeeded.

Making an Introduction

free range horse photography of a mare and new foal
A new foal has grown her hair coat in mere days, adapting to the many cold rainstorms since her birth.

My first visit with a new foal on a sunny day. When I first observed her during a persistent rainstorm, she appeared brown. Of course she was soaked at that time. Now I can see she is clearly bay.

Sun God Greetings

free range horse photography of a new foal after rain
A new That Herd member welcomes a bit of sunshine after a long rainy night.

A new filly greets the brief sunshine during a long string of winter rainstorms. By human standards, animals endure lots of uncomfortable weather. By animal standards, at least in this climate, they are quick to respond to ever-changing weather conditions with ease.

Capacity to Care

free range horse photography of a mare and newborn foal
A newborn foal is reunited with it’s mother after a long afternoon of herd movement.

Mourning the death or disappearance of a wild animal has always been something that weighs on me. An animal hit by a vehicle, coming upon a dead bird or animal, discovering evidence of a decomposing woodland creature, these seem like things I should encounter and easily forget. I have discovered some wise words, which I will share here, that speak to this topic that pulls at my attention often.

” …Would anyone grieve the death of an animal they had never known, much less loved? And yet some people do feel sad encountering an animal who seemingly died without witness, ceremony, or support. Sorrow for such a commonplace death with no connection to us reveals important dimensions of our emotions. The death of a close relative or friend entails the complex loss not only of a person we admired and loved, but also the end of a meaningful relationship. The death of a pet represents the loss of an animal we cared for and who had given us unconditional acceptance, comfort, and companionship. The death of a wild animal doesn’t deprive us of anything. The animal had given us nothing and had taken nothing from us in return.

Grief for such an animal might be considered one of the purest experiences of compassion, based only on the sense that an innocent life has ended. It reminds us of the importance of our relationships, the give-and-take that lends meaning to our lives. We know that an animal in the wild is inherently incapable of human expectations and emotions. But we might wish anyway that we could extend the comforts of social bonds we enjoy to this one animal we have discovered. It is as if our discovery constitutes an encounter that reminds us of the interconnectedness of life. In any case, our wish that we could share the best of being human reveals our capacity to care altruistically without expectations of anything in return.”

–Krystine I. Batcho Ph.D., Why Should We Grieve the Death of a Wild Animal?, Psychology Today

Acceptance

free range horse photography of a new foal in a rainy downpour
A new foal is forced to accept some really miserable weather.

A new foal, only a day or two old, accepts some harsh realities about life outside the womb. Rain and wind have been a constant for her so far. At least I think it’s a filly; not acceptable weather for camera gear either.

Think Happy Thoughts

free range horse photography of a new foal and his mother in a park-like setting
Life is good in this lush setting for a new foal and his wary mother.

A January colt and his mother stroll through a glorious location. After a few rainy days, then a few sunny days, this is their beautiful home.

Brimming With Confidence

free range horse photography of a new January foal
Only a day or two old, this filly is brimming with confidence.

A new foal for a first time mother, this filly benefits from a second protective mare who adopted her and her mom. She is a beautiful dark color with a delicate face. Not afraid to boldly lead the way for one so new, she will only grow in confidence.

In With the New

free range horse photography of a new colt
A strong colt makes his appearance as the first foal of 2019.

The new year has brought us a new That Herd member. Strong and flashy, this colt earns the distinction of the first foal of 2019. Be still my beating heart; the foals are coming!

I post different images across various social media. I rarely put the same image on other galleries, so take a look around.

Winning the Day

free range horse photography of two frisky weanlings
That Herd weanlings kick up their heels after a heavy rain.

That face you make when second place wins the day.

Protection

free range horse photography of a foal in tall stalks
For some foals, curiosity is best managed with a barrier, no matter how thin.

“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

Roll Back the Calendar

free range horse photography of a blue bird in dry terrain
Rewind to a year ago and the conditions were quite dry.

Looking back to this week last year, you can see that we had not had any rain yet into the month of January. Conditions were very dry and feed was scarce. Fortunately, this year we have had a few rain events which has brought on the much-needed grasses and running water.

Nostalgia

An old image that I never shared.

wild horse photography of a horse emerging from a wooded canyon
A big horse ambles out of the cool canyon as dusk falls.

The Architect

free range horse photography of an impressive black horse
A founding member of That Herd, big, and black, and wise.

A lovely portrait of a beloved member of That Herd.

As the end of the year bears down on me, I am forced to reflect on the past twelve months. 2018 has been fraught with unexpected challenges, both in my personal life, and in my life with That Herd. I have, for many reasons, not spent the time I crave with the horses. There have been some losses, both in my personal life, and in That Herd, that have set me back, made it difficult to be creative. I have experienced a loss of vocabulary related to the horses that has frustrated me and kept me from sharing. My website has been hacked, shut down, recovered, internet inaccessible, images purged, and surpassed my ability to keep up with routine maintenance and improvements. I have many images to share but no words to narrate my feeling about the moments captured. Therefore, I must recommit myself to site maintenance and regular content uploads, for the good of a worthy archive of this community of free range horses who have a story to tell.

Chosen Few

Every year, without fail, this grey mare befriends the oldest mares in the herd. There becomes one individual that she is with constantly. This year, it is this brown mare. In the past, she has outlived some of her friends. Because she is only a middle age mare, it is certain that she will outlive her other chosen few. This creates a sadness, but acceptance is always in our days, horse or human.

free range horse photography of two mare buddies

This grey mare, half their age, is fond of the oldest mares in the herd.