Wild Horse Tales – Meeting the Funny Family

Carol Walker Wild Horse Tales

My first Wild Horse Tale is about a family I met in June on my first trip to the South Steens Herd Management Area in Oregon. You will see why we named them “the funny family.”

A wild stallion and mare grazing

A wild stallion and mare grazing

From the car, I could see a small group of wild horses together with more horses and cattle in the distance. I did not know what to expect but decided to approach them and see if I could get closer and get some photographs. I had my 600 lens on my camera, which I find helps me get close photos while being able to stay back and minimize disturbing the wild horses.

As I walked toward a mare with a sleeping foal, the black stallion came over to me and looked at me as he walked by. I was being inspected by the protector of the family, and he seemed to find nothing to worry about because he kept walking and stopped next to one of his mares who was napping lying down, and seemed content to watch.

A wild mare and her sleepy filly

A wild mare and her sleepy filly

As I walked closer, the filly woke up and stretched, and started walking toward me – she was very curious!

The filly approaches

The filly approaches

Then she decided to move over and investigate one of her “aunts” a dun mare who was taking a nap.

And then she started pawing at her. The mare did not appreciate being woken up, so the filly opened and closer her mouth in the submissive language of foals “don’t hurt me – I am little!” But she kept pawing her.

Pawing her aunt

Pawing her aunt

Submissive - "don't hurt me!"

Submissive – “don’t hurt me!”

After a bit she got tired of bugging the dun mare, and goes to play with her older brother who is still with the family. Although he looks to be at least three years old, the stallion has not yet kicked him out.

With her brother

With her brother

And then she finds someone else to play with when a red roan mare lies down.

Pawing the red roan mare

Pawing the red roan mare

But this time she gets much more of a reaction!

The mare chases the filly off

The mare chases the filly off

The best part of the encounter came when the red roan mare went back and started pawing the buckskin mare as well.

The Red Roan mare gets to be a pest too

The Red Roan mare gets to be a pest too

The stallion stood napping the whole time – no doubt with this adventurous and playful filly in the family, this is a common occurrence. As I left, they were all settling down to graze.

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