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.
Observing the morning light first touching the day, cold and golden, degree by degree, is the most amazing rejuvenation. A day that looms, full of mindless obligations or dreary business is pushed far back when a dawn of brilliance shines in on your soul and makes everything clean and clear and calm, if only for a few minutes. Even the suspicious eye of this startled filly did not lessen the sparkle and song of such a day’s beginning. Be somewhere wild before the sun rises once in a while and your perspective will change. That, I can guarantee.
This time, with a timid mare, the stallion takes a gentle approach, coaxing her attention with quiet nuzzling. This behavior stands out in comparison to rowdy interactions that mares with stronger personalities instigate. This illustrates that stallions are not just breeding brutes, but herd leaders capable of complex social interactions based on the dispositions he is dealing with.
“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”
I just love it when broodmares look majestic. She is likely in her twenties.
exalted, elevated, noble, lofty, awe-inspiring, majestic, magnificent, glorious, superb, wonderful, marvelous, splendid; informal: fantastic, fabulous, terrific, heavenly, divine, out of this world.
“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”
Considering that there was no affiliation or loyalty between these two mares before the older mare gave birth this year, it is a wonder that the young paint mare has attached herself the the older mare and foal. The paint mare loyally follows the other mare and has taken to caring for the foal with devotion.
The above images shows the “God Mother” mare grooming her adopted foal while the actual mother grazes.
The image below shows the trio with the herd stallion. This is the first time I have observed this stallion interacting with a herd foal.
A newborn foal rests under the protection of an old mare. The first-time mother of this foal was distracted by discomfort associated with the birth so the old mare (who has not had a foal of her own for years) swooped in and took charge.
Interactions between mares and stallions are surprisingly varied. While some meetings are boisterous, squalling, dust-raising, kicking and pawing affairs, others are gentler, less obvious and barely noticeable. Often, the quieter mares merely glide in beside the stallion and present themselves without being pursued at all. Their communications and actions are subtle, demure even.
Just look at the buoyancy and light-hearted spirit in this very pregnant mare! With her eyes lit up and her positive disposition, she is a sight to behold.
” … the redness had seeped from the day and night was arranging herself around us. Cooling things down, staining and dyeing the evening purple and blue black.”
— Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees
This mare appears unconvinced that my presence is nothing to be alarmed about even though she has watched me observe her many times.
The expression on a horse’s face is an indicator of their mindset. This beautiful young mare is in a happy place inside and out.
The face of acceptance; the softness in her face shows no anxiety about my being there.
One of those quiet moments that soothe the soul.