As Cool As They Pretend To Be

free range horse photography of a trio of summer bachelor horses
This trio found the one spot of shade to pause in during a white hot morning.

“Summer bachelors like summer breezes, are never as cool as they pretend to be.”

– Nora Ephron

 

Good Times

free range horse photography of several geldings in green spring grass
It hardly seems likely that something would be more interesting than all that green grass.

Grazing times are good for that herd due to lots of February rain. Someone asked to see an updated image of the spotted colt. He was born tiny but is growing just fine. He is close to three years-old now.

Darkened With Kindness

Eyes darkened with kindness, a herd stallion greets his herd mate, a gelding. Stallions will live together with civility among other stallions and geldings as long as no mares or fillies are present. This dark bay stallion, a personal favorite, has always charmed me with his thoughtful expressions.

free range horse photography of a stallion greeting a herdmate
A That Herd stallion and his younger herdmate greet each other amiably.

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.

Pleasant Oasis

Like a pleasant oasis, this tree lined lane gives some relief from the constant heat and dryness of summer. It’s nice to see some green around the horses for a change.

free range horse photography of a group of male herd mates
Lots of curious horses appear and pause to investigate.

Impossible Distance

“Soak in what’s real and what’s real in unhurried. The ground. The air. The exhale. The planted seed. The shift. The season.” – Victoria Erickson

free range horse photography of a grazing foal
The quintessential foal pose; legs bent to ease an impossible distance from nose to ground.

 

 

Crabby Pants

A new colt, first seen at about a week old, is doted on by his mother. She is not keen on my getting close, and moves away often. The colt amused me by making a mad face at all the horses, foals or mares, who ventured too close to him. He looks innocent enough in this image though.

free range horse photography of a mare and new colt
A new colt gets special attention from his mother.

On the Fast Track

Roaming in a natural environment allows for rapid and constant skill building that sharpen confidence, stamina, problem solving, and survival reflexes. This new colt is probably a couple of days old and he is already comfortable exploring away from his mother.

free range horse photography of a new foal in the woods
Growing up wild enhances all of the abilities of the foals.

In the Shade of a Great Pine

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.

free range horse photography of colts browsing in the woods
Growing up agile and strong, these young colts browse in a wooded area.

Battle Worn

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.

free range horse photography of a colt that fights
Apparently, this four year old colt has been engaging in mock battles.

 

Horseplay

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.

free range horse photography of male horses spar
Constant sparring occurs between male horses when they have the freedom to roam.

Hollywood Style

A July image of a colt, both attractive and strong; he has an unusual blue slice of color in his left eye.

free range horse photography of an attractive colt
A strong colt with Hollywood markings and a blue colored strip in one eye.

Making Sense of Scents

A veritable treasure trove of information, horse manure holds clues to all sorts of social information. Used to advertise sexual status and territories for both males and females, determine useful information about forage, wellness, and surroundings, poop is an essential tool in a horses awareness of it’s surroundings.

free range horse photography of horses investigating manure
Horses examine all sorts of information from smelling manure; especially intact males.

Summer Stroll

Finally, an overcast morning with cooler temperatures. Two attractive horses amble stride for stride through dry grasses. In the distance, charred hills, evidence from a recent wildfire that burned for more than a week into and around That Herd’s range.

free range horse photography of two attractive horses
Two horses amble through a dry field, in the distance are hills charred in a recent wildfire.

Sorting Things Out

Legs crossed and mouth exploring, this three day old colt creates an endearing sight.

free range horse photography of a funny new colt
Only three days old; this colt is not quite sorted out.

Hiding in Plain Sight

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.

wild horse photography of wary yearlings
A rough band of yearlings keeps their distance.

The Wanderer

A sweeter moment cannot be captured. Completely at ease, a colt ambles past. Young enough to still be a baby but old enough to be independent of his mother, this soon-to-be-weaned colt gave me one of those rare moments of natural perfection, and one of my favorite things; a horse being a horse, in the most beautiful way.

wild horse photography of a sweet-faced colt
All the innocence and curiosity of youth is captured in this colt’s face.

Lighthearted Romp

Green spring grass and a new colt launched in an exploratory flight pattern, for your enjoyment. The vibrancy of this moment is contagious.

wild horse photography of a new colt galloping
A springtime shot of a new colt showing off his awesomeness.

Nature Remains Unchanged

“The nature of the horse remains unchanged, whether it carries the saddle of the prince, or whether it draws the cart of the wagoner. The noble ones accept the yoke, they serve, but will never be slaves, for to themselves they can never be traitors.”

–H.H. Isenbart, The Kingdom of the Horse

Coming across this image the other day I was struck by two things. One, the green grass that is too short lived here, and two, the body language of the foal, which matches the Olympic athletes currently competing in Rio. The unfocused eye, the head tilt, the challenger-ear position, the balance and propulsion, all speak to the innate ability of a horse’s grace and quality of courage and energy, just like the Olympic athletes when in their “zone”. (Accept, of course, humans don’t display the challenger-ear position, a phrase I totally made up, by the way.)

wild horse photography of a new colt galloping with attitude
Even in his first week of life, this colt shows an attitude of presence and confidence.

Companion Nostalgia

Long-time buddy mares have produced two long-time buddy colts.

These two images were taken almost exactly four years apart. As you can see, the colts still spend time together.

wild horse photography of two colorful colts
A couple of colorful lads in the last light of day.
wild horse photography of two buddy mares and their foals
Inseparable mares and their foals meander through a meadow.