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.
A fuzzy-wuzzy newborn in true black, for your enjoyment.
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.
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.
He’s looks cute, but he’s a fighter. Shoving and biting, rearing and racing, the colts use their free time to practice techniques that may help them, in the future, win mares. Even the castrated colts engage with alarming intensity, securing social position or defending it.
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.
“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
A July image of a colt, both attractive and strong; he has an unusual blue slice of color in his left eye.
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.
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.
“A horse is a thing of beauty … none will tire of looking at him as long as he displays himself in his splendor.”
“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
(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.”
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.
A powerful mare emerges from woody terrain to investigate my visit. She is young and strong and good-natured. I think she looks lovely in this setting.
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.
“You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from.”
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.
Early morning dawns bright but with the threat of unsettled weather. Intense thunderstorms rocked the area all night.
“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.
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.