Wildness

free range horse photography of mares and foals galloping across flowered field

Room to roam inspires a gleeful gallop for a group of mares and foals.

Wildness is not defined by the absence of certain activities, but rather by the presence of certain unique and invaluable characteristics.

Long Dusks of Summer

 

free range horse photography of a mare and foal in the long dusk of summer

The long dusk of summer supports any number of quality pastimes.

If it could be like this always, abundance, independence, golden hues, leisure, temperate – peaceful.

Womb to World

free range horse photography of a newborn colt drinking in a blue pond

Water must feel like home to this newborn, only hours out of the womb.

The growth a foal is exponential after birth. Not only their body tissues and functions, but their brains transition at an impressive, and necessary rate. These horses are quite comfortable with standing water and running water sources when available. Even this colt, only in his first day of life, seems right at home in the water. Observing horses in water is always mesmerizing, maybe because water is not a usual environment for horses and this makes them appear almost magical in that setting.

Optimum Nap Zone

free range horse photography of a new foal dozing under the protection of her mother's tail

Dozing under the protection of a gently swishing tail.

After the initial shock of a swatting horse tail, new foals soon recognize the protection their mother’s tails and their flinching is replaced by relief.

Inseparable

free range horse photography of a colt devoted to a younger filly

The grey colt rarely leaves her side.

free range horse photography of two inseparable foals

This is how you find these two foals, always together.

The grey colt fell in love with this filly the first day they met. He has shadowed her ever since. Rarely leaving the filly’s side, he is a model of devotion. The mother of the filly tolerates his affections entirely.

Buckskin in a Nutshell

free range horse photography of a buckskin colt

A buckskin colt, less than a month old, sizes me up. Curiosity almost always wins, and foals bravely approach.

Color genetics in horses is not without complexity. Without getting into the science of it all, a new buckskin in the herd made me brush up on color genetics. In the simplest of terms, black and red are the two basic equine color pigments. A horse’s ability to reproduce these pigments in an inherited trait, with red being recessive to black. Each pigment can be modified by other genes, including dilution genes. Buckskin color is a dilute version of bay, which is another black-based coat color. White markings are, simply stated, a matter of chance.

 

Enough of Everything

free range horse photography of a sassy filly in a lakeside setting

A fuzzy coat and a grassy meadow are reminders of spring.

Time well spent leads to life well lived.

 

Powdered Gold

free range horse photography of summer's last light touching mares

Backlit by the day’s last light, these mares look like a poster for summertime.

The sunshine was like powdered gold over the horses and oats.

“Summer afternoon–summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”

–Henry James

Summertime

 

free range horse photography of a mare and foal in a lakeside landscape

A summertime scene made better with horses. 

Personal favorites, this duo browses through a beautiful location on a summer morning. How fortunate to have water return to That Herd landscapes and how fortunate to have the early morning fog burn off moments before we shared this place.

Courtship

free range horse photography of courtship between a mare and stallion

A receptive mare is courted by the herd stallion.

Special attention is given to a responsive mare. Once her willingness is confirmed, things move rapidly from there. The mare is much larger than the stallion in this case, so a few logistical steps had to be taken. The young colt by the mare’s side is a bit confused by this activity and sticks tightly to his mother.

Vigorous Display

free range horse photography of a mature stallion looking vigorous

A mature stallion, one moment quietly grazing, and the next a vigorous display.

Nothing like a “mare moment” to energize an otherwise laid-back stallion. In this setting, the stallion interacts continuously with his mares. This horse often tends to the mares in a companionable partnership. Sometimes he completely ignores them, at other times he’s commanding, and sometimes moved to aggression. A veteran stallion, he is often gentle and detached. He has a somewhat permissive relationship with the mares as far as their movements as a group are concerned. Interestingly, when the moment calls for it, he has their complete attention and obedience.

Bravado and Caution

free range horse photography of three fillies peeking around an oak tree

Three fillies looking innocent by a failing oak tree.

While there have been lots of new foals to meet, I am still spending time with the older foals. They never cease to entertain me with their mix of bravado and caution. Many of them are old enough now to be fully independent so their explorations of me are constant and surprisingly intense. I have so many photographs of the horses to share but I simply am short on time these days. My thanks to the frequent blog visitors who remain as interested in That Herd as I do. There are many pages of past observations to explore if you have the time. Time spend outdoors is an effective stress reliever. At the very least, I hope this site inspires you to get some fresh air and dirt on your shoes.

The Will to Live is Strong

free range horse photography of a brand new filly

Early morning surprise filly; bay with lots of chrome.

“Does anything in nature despair except man? An animal with a foot caught in a trap does not seem to despair. It is too busy trying to survive. It is all closed in, to a kind of still, intense waiting. Is this the key? Keep busy with survival. Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain … ”

–May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude

The will to live is strong in this one.

 

 

 

A Star is Born

free range horse photography of a mare sheltering her newborn foal in woods

An early morning surprise is tiptoeing about in the woods.

Hidden in the woods, a veteran mother keeps a close eye on my approach as her newly foaled buckskin colt delicately explores the world. As the mare’s due dates approach, anticipation of discovering a new foal escalates into pervasive distraction. On those few mornings that reward you with a new baby to meet, life is good.

Can Do

free range horse photography of a newborn colt in a pond

Newborns fearlessly venture into water, which is amazing.

Only in his first day of life and this new colt wades right into the pond with his mother. So far, every newborn foal that encounters the pond carefully steps in without hesitation. When you have no life experience I guess everything is possible. It is amazing that with every passing minute and hour they are completely able to learn balance and obstacle negotiation on land as well as water, along with every other new sensation and bodily function that comes with life in the “outside world”.

Yay! Another New Foal!

free range horse photography of a large newborn foal with a long face

Long of leg and face, this newborn, only several hours old has a lot to grow into in the next few months.

Just looking at this image you cannot tell how tall the foal is. The mare is substantial in size and height. This is her first foal, and he is quite large for a newborn. He is all legs and (I mean this in a good way), all face. I have no doubt that he will grow into his parts and be a beautiful colt. I think he’s striking and he has an air of intelligence, like his mother.

Absolute Devotion

free range horse photography of a new mother's devotion to her new foal

Horse hugs.

Her enthusiasm for her foal is adorable. Her constant nuzzles and touches are met with trust and matched adoration from the filly. They are the perfect cure for anything that may causing you stress.

From Womb to Water

free range horse photography of a newborn foal in a pond with her mother

Less than 24 hours old and this newborn filly is experiencing her new world with mature confidence.

With the courage of a veteran, this newborn filly takes the plunge.

Royalty

free range horse photography of a paint mare with here newborn colt

Welcome to (finally) an new colt to That Herd.

I know what you’re thinking; no spots. Well, I must say, he is spectacular anyway. He’s big, and solid, and long legged, with flashy white; what more could you ask for? And, yes, he’s a colt. Colts are in the minority this year, so let’s hear it for the boys! Welcome to the long legged, handsome boy! The white on his face looks like some sort of royal symbol …

Her Journey Begins

free range horse photography of a one day old foal strolling with her mother

Sporting a cropped mohawk and a determined face, this one-day-old filly strolls beside mother.

With her first day behind her, this new filly purposefully marches beside her mother, matching her every turn and pause. Soon she’ll be investigating her surroundings with confidence.