Tag Archive for Horse Love

Capacity to Care

free range horse photography of a mare and newborn foal
A newborn foal is reunited with it’s mother after a long afternoon of herd movement.

Mourning the death or disappearance of a wild animal has always been something that weighs on me. An animal hit by a vehicle, coming upon a dead bird or animal, discovering evidence of a decomposing woodland creature, these seem like things I should encounter and easily forget. I have discovered some wise words, which I will share here, that speak to this topic that pulls at my attention often.

” …Would anyone grieve the death of an animal they had never known, much less loved? And yet some people do feel sad encountering an animal who seemingly died without witness, ceremony, or support. Sorrow for such a commonplace death with no connection to us reveals important dimensions of our emotions. The death of a close relative or friend entails the complex loss not only of a person we admired and loved, but also the end of a meaningful relationship. The death of a pet represents the loss of an animal we cared for and who had given us unconditional acceptance, comfort, and companionship. The death of a wild animal doesn’t deprive us of anything. The animal had given us nothing and had taken nothing from us in return.

Grief for such an animal might be considered one of the purest experiences of compassion, based only on the sense that an innocent life has ended. It reminds us of the importance of our relationships, the give-and-take that lends meaning to our lives. We know that an animal in the wild is inherently incapable of human expectations and emotions. But we might wish anyway that we could extend the comforts of social bonds we enjoy to this one animal we have discovered. It is as if our discovery constitutes an encounter that reminds us of the interconnectedness of life. In any case, our wish that we could share the best of being human reveals our capacity to care altruistically without expectations of anything in return.”

–Krystine I. Batcho Ph.D., Why Should We Grieve the Death of a Wild Animal?, Psychology Today

Acceptance

free range horse photography of a new foal in a rainy downpour
A new foal is forced to accept some really miserable weather.

A new foal, only a day or two old, accepts some harsh realities about life outside the womb. Rain and wind have been a constant for her so far. At least I think it’s a filly; not acceptable weather for camera gear either.

Think Happy Thoughts

free range horse photography of a new foal and his mother in a park-like setting
Life is good in this lush setting for a new foal and his wary mother.

A January colt and his mother stroll through a glorious location. After a few rainy days, then a few sunny days, this is their beautiful home.

Brimming With Confidence

free range horse photography of a new January foal
Only a day or two old, this filly is brimming with confidence.

A new foal for a first time mother, this filly benefits from a second protective mare who adopted her and her mom. She is a beautiful dark color with a delicate face. Not afraid to boldly lead the way for one so new, she will only grow in confidence.

In With the New

free range horse photography of a new colt
A strong colt makes his appearance as the first foal of 2019.

The new year has brought us a new That Herd member. Strong and flashy, this colt earns the distinction of the first foal of 2019. Be still my beating heart; the foals are coming!

I post different images across various social media. I rarely put the same image on other galleries, so take a look around.

Winning the Day

free range horse photography of two frisky weanlings
That Herd weanlings kick up their heels after a heavy rain.

That face you make when second place wins the day.

Protection

free range horse photography of a foal in tall stalks
For some foals, curiosity is best managed with a barrier, no matter how thin.

“Is there any instinct more deeply implanted in the heart of man than the pride of protection, a protection which is constantly exerted for a fragile and defenseless creature?” – Honere de Balzac

Nostalgia

An old image that I never shared.

wild horse photography of a horse emerging from a wooded canyon
A big horse ambles out of the cool canyon as dusk falls.

The Architect

free range horse photography of an impressive black horse
A founding member of That Herd, big, and black, and wise.

A lovely portrait of a beloved member of That Herd.

As the end of the year bears down on me, I am forced to reflect on the past twelve months. 2018 has been fraught with unexpected challenges, both in my personal life, and in my life with That Herd. I have, for many reasons, not spent the time I crave with the horses. There have been some losses, both in my personal life, and in That Herd, that have set me back, made it difficult to be creative. I have experienced a loss of vocabulary related to the horses that has frustrated me and kept me from sharing. My website has been hacked, shut down, recovered, internet inaccessible, images purged, and surpassed my ability to keep up with routine maintenance and improvements. I have many images to share but no words to narrate my feeling about the moments captured. Therefore, I must recommit myself to site maintenance and regular content uploads, for the good of a worthy archive of this community of free range horses who have a story to tell.

Chosen Few

Every year, without fail, this grey mare befriends the oldest mares in the herd. There becomes one individual that she is with constantly. This year, it is this brown mare. In the past, she has outlived some of her friends. Because she is only a middle age mare, it is certain that she will outlive her other chosen few. This creates a sadness, but acceptance is always in our days, horse or human.

free range horse photography of two mare buddies

This grey mare, half their age, is fond of the oldest mares in the herd.

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.

Charging Into View

First the thundering of the hooves, then the thumping of my heart. Here they come!  Bands of galloping, bucking, leaping steeds, one after another until they all circle around. Wheeling and lunging to and fro, they are magnificent.

free range horse photography of a group of running horses

A charge of horses rushes in to investigate.

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.

Africa?

Distinctive light face patches appeared on the youngest member of That Herd this week.

At this point in his hair coat transformation, he looks kind of like an African antelope, tricolored and long faced. The brown grass completes the African theme.

free range horse photography of a foal's color change

The vanilla patches showed up on this colt at about six weeks old.

Autumnal Sunshine

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine … ”

–Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks

Summer passes into autumn but our new season simply blends into an extended summer, warm and dry. The spring and summer foals are growing into gangly youths ready to be independent of their mothers.

free range horse photography of a flashy colt

October light illuminates a growing colt.

Hilltop Sunset

The very last rays of daylight behind a group of young horses fade as nightfall lands. The first days of fall have continued with hot, dry weather. The horses are scouring the hillsides and and mountain tops for forage before their long treks to the few remaining water sources.

free range horse photography of young horses on a hilltop

Extra dry months lead That Herd horses into the fall season.

The Trail to Water

Part of the daily routine for That Herd mares and foals includes the march to water down a dusty path. Also, a late foal is dwarfed by an older sibling in the queue.

free range horse photography of mares & foals on a dusty path

The afternoon march to water.

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.