Company’s Coming #12071
I visited a group of Belgian horse mares and their yearlings one afternoon, perhaps fifteen altogether. Several young ones were highly curious like puppies and nearly as friendly too. They followed me everywhere and wanted to put their noses and hot breath all over me and the camera. They were very friendly and liked people, so I was quite the item of horsey interest!
Being a large draft horse breed, a young Belgian horse is about the same size as a regular horse. At the same time, the much larger alpha mare didn’t really like me being there. Although not outwardly aggressive, she kept trying to get between me and the young ones to slowly sidle me off and away using her bulk. She was the full and accurate description of large and in charge allright.
Interestingly, that Belgian mare was very good at her job. So good, in fact, that group of horses is usually left to themselves most of the time on an unmanned farmstead where I was photographing them. She knew what to do as the leader and I had to respect that.
With the curious yearlings and the boss lady and other mares, it was too much close-in jostling horse traffic even with a docile cold-blooded draft horse breed. That’s especially so when the adults have hooves the size of dinner plates and can weigh upward of 2000 pounds and more. I ducked into a nearby side door of the barn to get away and the yearlings came right over to look in the door after me…and click went the camera shutter!
Then they came right on in! Their large hooves rang loudly on the cement floor of the empty barn. I slipped out another side door behind me, ducked under the hot pasture fence wire, and walked back to the truck. I was glad for the experience and the images, but I can tell you this: being mixed close-in with a group of large animals that way is a bit like swimming in a pond full of battleships.
Location: near Hollidaysburg, Blair County, Pennsylvania. Picture and story © Andrew Dierks
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