I love horses. I have ever since I was a little girl. I didn’t have Barbies, I had model horses and stuffed animals. But although I rode horses occasionally, I’m not a rider and have never had the opportunity to own horses.
When I played horses as a little girl, playacting with a friend with our numerous model horses and speaking for them in faux horse language, (English with a neigh sound), we played them as wild horses, always escaping the clutches of man. So here I am, gobs of years later, and I’ve had the opportunity to watch and photograph wild horses, and it is a dream come true.
On my recent trip to Harney County, I saw horses from both the Palomino Buttes Herd and the South Steens Herd in Eastern Oregon. Another blog will be done about the Palomino Buttes herd. On the day I saw this family, I had been up Steens Mountain to the point where the road was closed due to snow and I had seen about 19 horses grazing in the far distance. As I came down the mountain and started to drive back to Burns on Hwy. 205, I saw another herd, about 7, including a foal, also in the distance. Well, I thought, that’s about as close as I’m going to get. But in the next five minutes, I saw two horses quite close. I stopped the car. The first was a beautiful Palomino stallion and behind him, or north of me was a gorgeous pinto mare.
The mare was so striking, that I decided to work my way to another position to catch another angle. I moved slowly until I was parallel with her, and then moved beyond that to get a clearer view. Both horses watched me.
Imagine my delight when I saw what a sagebrush had hidden, a foal lying at her feet. I took a few shots of it, though it still was largely hidden by the sagebrush.
However at that point, its mother decided it was time to move her foal further away. She put her nose down to it, then started walking slowly away. The foal got to its feet and followed.
Once the foal was following her, they broke into a trot and then a lope. The stallion waited until they moved past him and began to circle around. Then he ran to join, As they slowed, he fell back and let the mare and her foal move ahead where they stopped at a distance that was about 20-30 yards further but parallel to where they had been initially.
When they came to a rest, the foal started to nurse.
The bonds between a horse family are very strong, but within the larger herd, stallions can lose their mares to other stallions. Colts will be kicked out of a band after a year or two, and fillies will eventually join another stallion’s band. But should they meet again, the affection and bonds last. When horses are domesticated, you don’t often get to see the families together. Even horse breeders often separate the foals after a certain time from the mares.
What a joy it was to watch this family running together, and to see the protectiveness of both the mare and the stallion. I could have sat and watched them the rest of the day, but I decided to leave them in peace.
My complete photography catalog can be found on my main website through Fine Art America http://bit.ly/BelindaGreb and more wild horse images can be seen here: Wild Horses Gallery. I also have at more limited numbers of my work at Photo4Me (UK), Crated, Society 6 , Redbubble and Zazzle. My Etsy shop is currently undergoing a revamping, but look for availability of signed work up to 16×24 prints in the near future here: RadiancePhotos.