Among Friends

free range horse photography of a handsome grey horse
Looking handsome, a favorite That Herd personality is growing up to be an eye-catching individual.

Horses form close relationships that become subgroups within a herd setting. While it may be anthropomorphic to say horses have friends, they definitely form bonds and make choices within the herd about spending time with favored herd mates. This colt, as a foal, was often entertaining in his interactions with other horses. His personality was inquisitive and social toward not only the other foals but also the adult mares and stallion. Certainly, individual dispositions play a role in this subgroup/friend dynamic. Also, it has been said that horses of a lighter color are often less accepted in herds. There are a couple of theories about why that could be true, but I don’t see that happening as a rule within That Herd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vigorous Display

free range horse photography of an attentive stallion
A mature stallion, one moment quietly grazing, and the next a vigorous display.

There’s nothing like a “mare moment” to energize an otherwise laid-back stallion. In this free range 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 mover 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 attentions and obedience.

Time Flies

free range horse photography of a newborn colt with lots of white
The first foal of the year for That Herd came in January.

A newborn image of the first foal of 2019 for the nostalgia of his cuteness. Now he’s a rough and ready brute of a colt.

Roll With the Punches

The phrase “roll with the punches” is believed to originate with boxing. The term explains how boxers will often angle themselves and move in certain ways to lessen the impact of incoming blows. It has also become a phrase used figuratively to encourage positive resilience. I bring this up because this horse, known as Cricket, has a definite lean-in posture here, and the phrase matches his disposition nicely.

free range horse photography of a bay gelding
A mature, founding member of That Herd.

Water Baby

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.

free range horse photography of a filly playing in water
A full water trough is a great boredom buster.

 

Untroubled

How confident can we be in assessing whether a horse is happy? Happiness may be discerned as a positive state of mental wellness and having a good life. With horses, happiness appears observable connected to their willingness to play, facial expressions, and having amiable relationships with other horses. Access to feed and water, shelter, and room to roam, must certainly also be factors in equine happiness. To me, this horse just looks happy.

 

free range horse photography buckskin portrait
He looks like a poster boy for happiness.

Irresistible

Raw, uncut, no-ego, take-it-as-it-comes face of a newborn. These moments, when absolutely everything is a lesson in living, are precious. Nothing inspires thoughts of positivity and hope like a brand new life. Good luck, little guy.

free range horse photography of a newborn colt
A late newborn presents an irresistible face.

 

 

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.

Lone Wolf

Protagonists are always loners, almost by definition.

–Pauline Kael

free range horse photography of a wise loner
A lone wolf in the group, this horse is aloof and wise.

protagonist | prōˈtaɡənəst,  leading character or one of the major characters in a drama, movie, novel, or other fictional text. the main figure or one of the most prominent figures in a real situation: in this colonial struggle, the main protagonists were Great Britain and France. an advocate or champion of a particular cause or idea: a strenuous protagonist of the new agricultural policy.

Rugged Good Looks

Without the usual heavy forelock covering his face, you can see the charming white eyelashes on this beast. He looks handsome and content.

free range horse photography of a young stallion
A young That Herd stallion strikes a pose.

Promise Fulfilled

The promise of a healthy foal is fulfilled. Eleven months of wondering and hoping, and then the arrival of a new foal exceeds expectations. Well done, mare. Well done.

free range horse photography of a painted mare and new foal
A beautiful mare and her beautiful new foal.

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.

Fuzzy Wuzzy

A fuzzy-wuzzy newborn in true black, for your enjoyment.

free range horse photography of a black newborn filly
A true black newborn filly arrives in That Herd.

Babe in the Woods

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.

free range horse photography of a new foal
An early evening check on the mares reveals a new foal.

 

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.

 

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.

Indomitable

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.

free range horse photography of a resilient young mare
That indomitable spirit still shows after a challenging year for this young mare.

Proud Moment

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.

free range horse photography of a mare and her newborn colt
A good mare poses with her large newborn colt.

A Spring in His Step

“A horse is a thing of beauty … none will tire of looking at him as long as he displays himself in his splendor.”

–Xenophon

Free range horse photography of a fiery chestnut
The equine form is endlessly inspiring.