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

 

The Wiser Horse

free range horse photography of a big black horse
Living a life with lots of freedom that not many horses get to experience, this horse seems to be thriving.

We are what we repeatedly do.

“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort and intelligent execution;

it represents the wiser choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny

– Aristotle

Wildness

free range horse photography of a group of mares running across a grassy hillside
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.

Optimum Nap Zone

free range horse photography of a filly dozing under her mother's tail
Dozing under the protection of a gently swishing tail.

Womb to World

free range horse photography of a newborn colt drinking in a blue pond
Water must feel like home to the newborn foal only hours out of the womb.

The growth of a foal is exponential immediately 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 or running water sources. 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 this is because water is not a usual environment for horses and this makes them appear almost magical in that setting.

Inseparable

free range horse photography of two foals who are always together
Where the filly goes, the colt follows, a devoted pair even though there are several weeks difference in their ages.
free range horse photography of two inseparable foals
Companions dozing together.

This is how you find these two foals, always together. The grey fell in love with this dark filly the first day they met. He has shadowed her ever since. Rarely leaving her side, he is a model of devotion. The mother of the filly tolerates his affections entirely.

When Everything is Perfect

free range horse photography of a stallion striding through a golden field
The herd stallion moving through the tall oats and grass without purpose.

“Every summer there are a number of nights, not many, but a number, when everything is perfect. The light, the warmth, the smells, the mist, the birdsong-the moths. Who can sleep?

–Fredrick Siagberg The Fly Trap, A Book About Summer, Islands and the Freedom of Limits

Home Is Where The Herd Is

free range horse photography of a filly browsing in an oat field late in the day
The last light of a summer afternoon illuminates a browsing filly.

An independent filly lazily follows the scattered herd through an oat field in the late afternoon. Her mother is not in sight but no matter, her family is the whole herd and she feels at ease with all her herd-mates.

Long Dusks of Summer

free range horse photography of a mare and foal glowing in the last light of a summer day
The long dusk of summer supports any number or quality pastimes.

If it could be like this always: abundance, independence, golden hues, leisure, temperate, and peaceful!

Powdered Gold

free range horse photography of mares backlit in late day oat field
Backlit by the day’s last light, these mares look like a poster for summertime.

” … summer afternoon; to me those have always been the most beautiful words in the English language.”

–Henry James

Buckskin

free range horse photography of a buckskin colt
A buckskin colored colt less than a month old sizes me up.

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

Enough of Everything

free range horse photography of a fuzzy filly in spring grass
A fuzzy coat and a green meadow are reminders of spring.

Time well spent leads to a life well lived.

Royal Scepter

free range horse photography of a colt with unusual face marking
Walking right into the light and right into my space, a colt displays his unusual face marking.

The marking on this colt’s face reminds me of a family crest or a royal scepter, a figure of royal authority. This seems fitting since he is handsome enough to be a prince.

Summertime

free range horse photography of a mare and foal grazing near a lake
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 early morning fog burn off moments before we share 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, actions move rapidly from there. This 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 confused by all this activity and sticks tightly to his mother.

Bravado and Caution

free range horse photography of three fillies looking innocent by a failing oak tree
Three fillies looking innocent by a failing oak tree.

Older foals never cease to entertain me with their mix of bravado and caution. These foals are old enough now to be fully independent; their explorations of me are constant and surprisingly intense.

 

The Will to Survive is Strong

free range horse photography of a new bay filly

“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.