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.
The herd stallion, looking quite fancy.
This is a lovely mare. She is large and independent. Her face is expressive and refined for her size. She has been lauded on this photo blog for her achievements in bringing some very large foals into this world. She is my most liked subject on Instagram and other media. This year she has a large colt with four stockings and a blaze; he is a beauty. The colt also sports some interesting blue spots in one eye. He is shy and serious, so far. Unfortunately, she is chewing in this image but I liked the light and tall oats.
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.
Newborn foals appear in a wide variety of weights, and sizes, and proportions. This colt looks darn cute here, but he will need a little time to grow into his head and ears. Some of his first photos are downright hilarious due to his pointy angles, large-furry-bent ears and his generally likeable demeanor.
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.
Even the experienced mothers of many previous foals seem on edge this spring. The mares have been wary and reticent to share their offspring so far this year. Patience is always required, but this year extra patience seems necessary. This is a new foal and though she looks a little disheveled and bent-leggy here, is quite pretty. The newborn foals get things sorted in a matter of only a day or two.
Perhaps some of the greatest enjoyment in observing the newborn foals is the sense of no past nor future. Newborns live utterly in the present; this, of course, forced by their lack of lifetime and only the promise of potential. There is, I think, a great distraction and lesson in this sense of now. This filly is one day old and watching her (like the others) is a rare joy. Every day responsibilities fall away in the wake of the new foal’s discoveries and reactions. They earn your undivided attention. They inspire empathy and and all time is lost in wonder at their real-time strategies.
Announcing the arrival of the first foal for That Herd this year. This colt’s already proving to be a rock star; what with being born, and traveling and long and challenging distance in the same day. Good work, mother, and welcome to your new colt.
There are no foals yet, but evidence of spring in abundant. Marching through a sea of insects, these young fillies are nearly slick with their summer coats, and filled with vitality after winter rains brought lots of new grass.
Hello friends, I’ve been away from my computer for a couple of weeks. Springtime means new foals, so I expect to be posting on a more regular schedule now.
This horse might easily be underestimated due to his quiet, standoffish manner. I expect there is quite a lot going on in his mind though. He is observant and absorbs every nuance of his surroundings. He likes to be left alone, so I like this image of him, looking handsome and solitary. He does mingle and cooperate with his herd group so his alone-time is his preference.
Horses are naturally curious. Investigations are alert and often poised for flight. In a free range environment, there are so many opportunities for investigation the horses become relaxed and steady when exposed to new stimulus (most of the time).
Several rainy storms have passed through this winter, creating lots of mud and green grass after many years of drought. For a time, paradise is being celebrated by all of the That Herd horses. This three-year-old colt is an example; any excuse to run and buck is exploited.
“The sun, the hero of every day, the impersonal old man that beams as brightly on death as on birth, came up every morning and raced across the blue dome and dipped into the sea of fire every evening.”
–Zora Neale Hurston, The Gilded Six-Bits
At first light, several horses walk softly along a path in a wooded area while patches of light illuminate a hillside in the distance.
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.
Free roaming horses have a mind of their own. They often strike out on their own temporary journeys without the inclusion of their herd mates. The horses mix and remix into smaller then larger groups, and sometimes prefer to explore independent of any company, like this intrepid mare and her new foal.
“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”
Following months of personal and national ups and downs, I/we can find comfort in the everlasting reality that all will be well. This yearling colt is running with several older horses in remote countryside. The lessons he is learning every day will fortify his life in the most productive ways.
There is an air of fortitude and depth to this individual that is often unseen due to his obvious good looks, like a handsome man who is only judged for his visual appeal, his character and intellect deemed inconsequential.
” … 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