Wildness is not defined by the absence of certain activities, but rather by the presence of certain unique and invaluable characteristics.
This stallion is forced to stay light on his feet around this big mare. One minute she naps nose to nose with him, and in the next moment, she sets him back on his heels over control of the air space over a mud hole. Granted, water is scarce, but this was a crabby moment, not a desperate thirst moment.
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.
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.
(Simply replace the word girl with filly)
“Girl power in my mind is to let girls be exactly what they are. Let them be angry. Let them be resentful. And rebellious. Let them be hard and soft and loving and sad and silly. Let them be wrong. Let them be right. Let them be everything. Because, they are everything.”
A powerful mare emerges from woody terrain to investigate my visit. She is young and strong and good-natured. I think she looks lovely in this setting.
Aurora Musis amica. (Dawn is friend of the muses).
There is no heat yet from the sun; the only hour of this day that won’t be hot until well after sunset. It was not cool, just not hot yet. This put a spring in her step, and doesn’t that light make her look pretty?!
I have a lot to say about horses eating thistles when surrounded by other (seemingly better) choices, I just don’t have a lot to say right now. In the mean time, here is a delightful, good-natured mare eating a thistle with plenty of other grasses underfoot.
“Where the waters do agree, it is quite wonderful the relief they give.”
–Jane Austen, Emma
(Even for a horse)
I have taken my time in introducing the That Herd stallion this year. He is a new individual to me, and I wanted to get a sense of what kind of horse he is. At this point, he seems very tolerant of my visits and displays a wide range of attitudes toward the mares. From aloof, to tolerant, to nurturing, to dismissive, he has shown many sides. Granted, I am only observing for very small pieces of time in the grand scheme of a 24 hour day. It is interesting to have observed so many different characteristics in these small moments though. It is evidence of how complex and individual horses are, especially when they have the freedom to interact and express their personalities among other horses.
I can take a hundred photos of the same horse, but only very rarely do I feel like I captured a picture of the horse I see in in that moment. The differences in the images are slight, and without anything to compare it to, you, as a viewer would not find fault with the horse’s portrayal. For example, this image spoke to me while several other images that are very similar, did not. This is a complex young mare, who often disappears in a crowd. She is plain looking and quietly lives among her herd mates. These observations contrast the very real fact that she is an amazing individual with intelligence and fortitude. The less obvious qualities of a horse, when captured in an image, are priceless.
” … She holds her breath. As if to stop any more time from passing, to stop the future happening. The peacefulness of the morning is almost heartbreaking in its fragility.” –Glenn Haybittle, The Way Back To Florence
I see lovely imagery of horses daily; often they are stout steeds with thick manes and tails billowing, flashy markings, arched necks, and animated limbs creating instant dreamy joy for any horse lover, myself included. The same effect can be achieved by a common horse in quiet repose in a familiar local setting. Horses are amazing.
“The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature
Disrupt, interfere, impede. This is what she does.
“The fact that the lower animals are excited by the same emotions as ourselves is so well established, that it will not be necessary to weary the reader by many details. Terror acts in the same manner on them as on us, causing the muscles to tremble, the heart to palpitate, the sphincters to be relaxed, and the hair to stand on end. Suspicion, the offspring of fear, is eminently characteristic of most wild animals. Courage and timidity are extremely variable qualities in the individuals of the same species, as is plainly seen in our dogs. Some dogs and horses are ill-tempered, and easily turn sulky; others are good-tempered; and these qualities are certainly inherited … ” – Charles Darwin, On the Origin of the Species
A handful of blizzard snow and black as a high-noon shadow. Horses evoke such poetry, even a common horse has the potential to shine in moments of spirited eruptions; they just have that gift within them. To witness a triumphant horse is a guaranteed mood elevator. This mare was like that on this day–a gift–she gave repeated fleeting glimpses, and then she was gone.
I was surprised this meandering mare even noticed this passing tarantula. She briefly lipped the spider, and passed over it, probably narrowly avoiding a painful bite. Once cast aside, sheer luck spared the tarantula a smashing from her stepping hooves. After this hoof, then another, the spider negotiates a few other passing mares, is spared again and again, and goes about it’s charmed tarantula life.
Even in small doses, nature changes how we feel.
When was the last time you went outside and did something you remember?
Mature horses filled with youthful behaviors and an old, old mare who manages her energy all live together within That Herd.
A previous blog post or two has mentioned this unusual event but I have not shared this image yet.
In the first hours after giving birth, a new mother (her first foal) is in a standoff with an old mare who is intent on stealing her newborn filly. The new mother was distracted with not feeling well in connection to passing the placenta and was lying down quite a bit. The old mare, who has not had a foal of her own in years, swooped in and took ownership of the newborn. The newborn was not equipped to understand the situation and began bonding with the old mare, who was standing and attentive, even attempting to nurse from the old mare. In this image, you can read what’s happening on each horses face. Apprehension from the disheveled black mare as she tries to unravel what’s happening; this is her first foal, so she has no experience with motherhood. Some distress and fatigue for the newborn and resolute defiance from the old paint mare. After much confusion and some human intervention everything was made right. All is well for the new mother and her foal, and the old mare has accepted that she failed (for the good of all) in her attempt.