If it could be like this always: abundance, independence, golden hues, leisure, temperate, and peaceful!
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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”.
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.
Her enthusiasm for her foal is adorable. Her constant nuzzles and touches are met with trust and matched adoration from the filly. They are the perfect cure for anything that may causing you stress.
With the courage of a veteran, this newborn filly takes the plunge.
I know what you’re thinking; no spots. Well, I must say, he is spectacular anyway. He’s big, and solid, and long legged, with flashy white; what more could you ask for? And, yes, he’s a colt. Colts are in the minority this year, so let’s hear it for the boys! Welcome to the long legged, handsome boy! The white on his face looks like some sort of royal symbol …
With her first day behind her, this new filly purposefully marches beside her mother, matching her every turn and pause. Soon she’ll be investigating her surroundings with confidence.
It’s a girl! Again! 2019 Fillies are running in a strong majority for That Herd. Several summer foals are still expected so we will see if that continues. Mother and newborn are just fine. The mare’s roaming patterns were not in my favor today; many tall grasses and mustard seed obscuring my view. She did, kindly, let me approach her and the filly even though she’s only several hours old.
This mare is impossible to dislike. She is curious and gentle. She’s a bit of a lovable goober, though I hate to use a term that’s so hard to define. Motherhood should suit her; she has always wanted a little horse all to herself to play with. The newborn filly, looks almost exactly like her, which makes this even more fun.
Stolen from her mother while she lay down to pass the placenta, this filly had to navigate some confusion and rough treatment for several hours. All that is a distant memory now, and both mare and foal are doing well and back with the herd.
Still grieving over the loss of her own newborn many weeks prior, this mare took possession of a newborn filly along with an additional thief-mare for several hours. Every opportunity she got, she swooped in to take control of the confused newborn. In a true wild situation, the outcome for this foal would have been calamitous. Human intervention reunited her with her mother and separated her from the others. Both are doing fine. She is the ninja foal from the previous post.
(Another picture of the sassy filly shown defending the dirt pile a couple posts back.) In this image she is circling her mother with confusion and irritation over the attention given to another foal. Her beloved mother has stolen another mare’s newborn foal and everything got really weird after that. This event required intervention and I’m happy to report that the confused newborn was reunited with her mother and they were separated from the herd for a while to bond. All is well for all the horses and the brief disruption to the sassy filly’s esteem is corrected.
Since I mentioned it was hard to see just how long legged he is, I have proof. He’s just a few days old in this image.
This mare has hidden her new colt away from the rest of the herd. She favors the cover of trees, and the shadows each time I have approached. The colt, an obvious grey, has impossibly long legs which are not as obvious in the tall grass. I give him bonus points for having white around his nostrils. (My whole life, horses with white muzzles have stood out as extra attractive, like a movie horse). Not always a team player, this mare affectionately known as Iris, continues to stubbornly avoid rejoining the rest of the mares and foals. The colt will be in for quite a surprise when he finally experiences other horses. These images were taken the day he was born, so he’s only several hours old.
A veteran mother maintains a protective zone around her newborn filly. She stays quietly within the herd, but she minimizes her wandering for the foal’s sake and undoubtedly, her own sake as well. She is recuperating from the birth of a large foal. The foal is not much more than twenty four hours old in these images.