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.
These horses are fortunate to have vast acres to roam and explore. I cannot express enough times how this allows the horses to become the very best version of themselves. They are constantly challenged mentally and physically which makes them strong and able thinkers. The foal is annoyed in this moment because his mother will not stand still for him to nurse.
A very strong newborn who attempted to stand, even when still robed in placenta mere minutes from birth, made balance look fairly easy when he stood up. He didn’t try and fail over and over, he simply stood. He teetered briefly, then wobbled around his mother. What a champ! What a scene to fill a horse lovers heart!
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Her mother has kept her secluded for over a week, so: wary mare equals wary foal. The filly’s getaway is so quick you can see the foxtails flying through the air around her.
Even though That Herd horses are accustomed to my appearances, sometimes they don’t want anything to do with me. I don’t take it personally when mares keep their distance with a newborn foal. I can respect the enormous responsibility they face. In a free range environment, one cannot be too careful. In this case, her distance makes for quite a wonderful scene. It’s a filly, by the way.
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.
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.
I’m adding another picture to honor this valiant mare for giving birth to such a sturdy foal. Large joints and pointy shoulders were no match for the grit of this Super Mare. Not to mention, it was probably raining at the time too.
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.
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.
The youngest That Herd filly browses in the grass; the first morning light spills over her, offering its golden glow. Her mother, still a protective distance away, tolerates her independence.
Moments like this have such poetry in them; one is inspired to breath deeply and be grateful. I see a story, a painting, a lesson, a memory, math, mystery, and more.
Well, look who’s turning grey in a hurry! The last That Herd foal of the year is quickly shedding to grey. Mother and baby have been exploring some unfamiliar hillsides and roaming their newly expanding territory.
This mare has lots of milk for her newborn foal.
Well, she’s huge, and I don’t mean the bay filly in the background (who I call Chunk), I mean the newly born filly. She is a day old in this image. Again, and still, I am forced to marvel at the fact that she was, just hours before, rolled up inside the mare. Inconceivable!
Bravely standing right in the middle of somewhat tense communication between a stallion and his mother, this colt correctly displays the submissive mouth gnashing behavior. Many foals are intimidated by the stallion and keep their distance out of respect, but this colt has had no problem with greeting and interacting when the stallion is in close proximity. Even in this moment, he stands squarely in the middle of negotiations.
This scrappy mare, small in stature and big on attitude, is always the first, or far worse, the last, to cause a disruption in any form of control over the That Herd lifestyle. It’s that last-minute-disruption-drama that gets her equal admiration for cleverness and frustrated curses from those she thwarts. Because of this history with her, I love this image. She is on high alert since the birth of her new colt, twitching and wheeling at every turn of feather or blade of grass, but her foal has the demeanor (so far) of casual indifference, even to her constant dramas.
I call this a That Herd trifecta. Scenery, and an alert mare with a newborn foal, the knee high grass is an added bonus.
A mare enforces her personal safety boundary by moving away when I arrive. I respect their comfort zone with my visits. Most mares are less comfortable when they have a new foal, and sometimes they are aggressive about getting near. Usually, as the foals get older, the mares become more at ease with personal boundaries for themselves and their foals.
This mare can be rather odd, but having a new foal seems to distract her in a good way. She seems to enjoy her new foal; it’s the second one she has had. I have her rare cooperation here as she paused just long enough for me to get a nice picture of her and her one-day-old foal.